Vitamin K is a vitamin that is vital for blood clotting and healthy bone structure. Find out what vitamin K is and what it does with MyVybe.
Vitamin K is one of the most crucial vitamins for the workings of our bodies. Vitamin K belongs to a group of vitamins that the body needs for blood clotting and to help our wounds heal. But what is vitamin K and what does vitamin K do? Carry on reading to discover more about this vitamin and why you need to make sure you have enough in your diet.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body needs to produce prothrombin, which is a protein that is important for blood clotting and bone structure. It also helps to regulate the calcium levels in the blood. There are two main forms of vitamin K, those are vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone).
K1 can be found in green foods and is the main source of vitamin K, it is mainly associated with blood coagulation. K2 can be found in fermented foods and the gut bacteria also creates vitamin K2.
Vitamin K1 and K2 are formed of different structures. Both vitamin structures contain a phytyl side chain, however, K2 contains an isoprenoid side chain too.
K1 is the primary form of the vitamin, despite this, the body has a difficult time absorbing the K1 vitamin from plants. K2 contains various subtypes known as menaquinones. The body absorbs and digests K2 much better than vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 is stored in the liver, pancreas and heart, whereas vitamin K2 is stored in the brain and kidneys at high concentrations.
The way in which vitamin K works in the body is by activating the protein, which plays a vital role in blood clotting, heart health and calcium metabolism, optimising its use in the body and bones. The most important role that vitamin K plays in the body is the promotion of calcification of the bones, which prevents the calcification of the kidney and blood vessels.
There are other benefits associated with vitamin K, those are:
There have been studies showing that a low intake of vitamin K may be a cause of osteoporosis. The studies also show that there is strong evidence that vitamin K supports the maintenance and structure of bones, as well as improving bone density, decreasing the risk of joint pain and bone fractures.
It has been suggested that vitamin K may help to maintain blood pressure at a low level, it does this by preventing the process of mineralisation, which is when minerals build up in the arteries. This prevention enables the heart to pump blood around the body more freely.
The role that vitamin K plays in the protection and maintenance of the bone structure, leads studies to suggest that the vitamin links to dental health. The main protein in dental health is osteocalcin, which is the same protein that is a vital part of bone structure and is activated by vitamin K2. The protein prompts a mechanism which stimulates the growth of new bone structures as well as new dentin, which is the calcified tissue that can be found underneath the enamel of a tooth.
There are multiple sources for the K vitamin, and deficiencies in this vitamin are rare, but it never harms to make sure you are consuming enough vitamin K-rich foodstuffs to ensure you have enough in your diet. There are supplements available for this vitamin, however, they should be prescribed by a medical professional before consumption.
Good sources of K vitamins include:
As with any vitamin, there is a recommended daily amount that should be stuck to in order to make sure you are not consuming too much or too little. Adults need around 1mcg per day of vitamin K per kilogram of body weight.
You should be consuming enough of the vitamin through your diet alone. If you are consuming over the suggested amount, the body will store any leftover vitamin K in the liver for future use.
Vitamin K is a nutrient that is vital for healthy bone development as well as blood clotting and wound healing. The best way to make sure you are consuming enough of the vitamin is to stick to a balanced diet and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you feel as though you are not consuming enough vitamin K from your diet alone, then get in contact with your medical professional so that they can advise you on the best next steps.
Now, that is our guide on what is vitamin K and what does it do. If you want to know more about vitamins and how they work in the body, take a look at our article on vitamin D3 and what it does, next.