You may have heard of vitamin D, vitamin B, Vitamin E, A and many more nutrients that are essential for our body’s functioning and survival. But let us ask you, have you ever heard of vitamin K? Well, you may have heard about it but we assume you don’t know much about what it does and how it helps.
It is one of the lesser-known nutrients that have certain significant important functions to perform in the body. So, let’s learn more about the vitamin and its vital functions in this blog post.
What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin found in two forms. The primary kind is called phylloquinone, most commonly sourced in green leafy vegetables. The second type, called menaquinone, is found in meat and fermented foods. This form can also be produced by bacteria present in the human body.
Vitamin K helps to make distinct proteins required for blood clotting and the building of bones. One of those proteins is called Prothrombin, which is involved with blood clotting. Another protein called Osteocalcin helps produce healthy bone tissue.
This nutrient is found throughout the body. It is present in the liver, heart, brain, pancreas, and bones. It is quickly broken down and excreted in stool or urine.
Can you be vitamin K deficient?
Vitamin K is an important nutrient in the body, present throughout the body. Deficiencies are rarely observed. When observed, they are mostly due to some antibiotics that block vitamin K metabolism.
Vitamin K deficiency is also observed in infants as breast milk contains a low amount.
Here are a few functions of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an important nutrient that has certain functions in your body. An adequate amount of this vitamin is vital for the body to function normally. It has many advantages like:
Regulates blood clotting
Vitamin K supports the circulation of calcium throughout the body. It is an essential nutrient required during blood clotting, which happens when the blood vessels get torn. Thus, calcium levels in the blood decrease when there’s a deficiency. This can hamper the process of blood clotting, causing excessive blood loss.
May prevent osteoporosis
The loss of bone density becomes quite common after the age of 30, especially in menopausal women. Osteoporosis can cause several complications if enough attention isn’t given to it. Some of the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis may include fragile bones, pain in bones and spinal deformity. It is suggested that you start increasing vitamin K intake to strengthen your bones.
Reduces menstrual flow and pain
Vitamin K also reduces excessive blood flow during menstruation. If you have been struggling with excessive flow during periods, it may indicate a vitamin K deficiency.
Apart from reducing the blood flow, vitamin K is also responsible for regulating hormones during your periods, helping reduce pain. A vitamin K deficiency may be the probable reason why your periods are painful.
Regulate blood sugar
You must note that the pancreas produces the insulin hormone required for its optimum functioning. This insulin has a high amount of vitamin K, helping regulate sugar levels and convert sugar into energy.
Relieves nausea during pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a blessing, but a few issues like stomach aches and nausea may make the journey unpleasant. If you happen to suffer from excessive vomiting and nausea during pregnancy, it can be possible that you lack vitamin K in the body. Increasing your intake of vitamin K can help in this regard.
In addition to that, vitamin K can actually be beneficial for the physical and mental health of the growing baby.
Protects the immune system
The immune system that protects us from diseases also requires protection. This is where vitamin K comes in. It is known to play a significant role in protecting the immune system and digestive systems.
Promotes frequent urination
You must know that when you urinate, you remove the toxins from the body. Vitamin K can increase this flow of urine. If you happen to pee less than usual, vitamin K deficiency may be the reason.
As per certain studies, vitamin K is vital to prevent stomach, colon, and prostate cancer. Vitamin K is shown to stabilise liver cancer patients and improve the gland’s functioning.
Sources of Vitamin K
Here are some food items rich in Vitamin K:
- Cooked cabbage
- Brussel sprouts
- Cabbage (cooked)
- Spring onions
- Green beans
While often overshadowed by more widely recognised nutrients, Vitamin K plays a crucial role in various aspects of health, from blood clotting to bone metabolism. As our understanding of this lesser-known nutrient continues to evolve, it becomes clear that Vitamin K deserves a prominent place in our dietary considerations. So, now that you know a few rich sources of Vitamin K, we hope you include them in your diet.