Why is Vitamin K So Important and How Should It Be taken?
We all know that vitamins are essential for our health, but let’s be honest: Do you know what each vitamin is for, its effects, the symptoms of deficiency or the amount you should be taking? It can feel like you have to get a college degree before you can start taking vitamins. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to analyze and explain everything about vitamin K so you can understand why it’s so important for our long-term health and get the most out of it.
What is vitamin K and what does it give us?
Like vitamins A, D and E, vitamin K is one of the so-called ‘fat-soluble vitamins’, which means that it must be taken with some fat in order for the body to absorb it properly. Fat-soluble vitamins are also stored in the body’s fat cells. (The other type are the water-soluble vitamins, which include vitamin C).
When we talk about vitamin K, we are not referring to a single substance, since there are several forms, such as K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone). And while K1 is found naturally in green plants, the K2 form is produced directly in our intestine by certain bacteria. However, both types have the same function in the body.
Vitamin K is essential for the blood clotting process, which has a host of potential implications, such as the prevention and treatment of artery calcification, coronary heart disease and cancer. It also has the ability to improve bone strength and fracture risk reduction, as well as improving insulin sensitivity. All of these benefits have been demonstrated by several studies, such as those reported in this scientific review from 2015. Other recent studies also suggest that combining vitamins K and D may have a synergistic effect with positive effects on bone health.
As for intake…
If you want to take full advantage of all the beneficial effects of vitamin K, you have to take it daily. Our body’s reserves are short-lived, so we need to ingest it on a regular basis. By the way, you don’t have to worry at all about taking too much, as there is no risk of overdosing and our body eliminates excessive amounts easily.
The amount of vitamin K needed (expressed in micrograms mcg) depends on age and sex, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stating that most adults should take between 90 and 120 mcg.
You can find vitamin K in many foods such as green vegetables, vegetable oils, some fruits such as blueberries and figs, and also in meat, cheese, eggs and soybeans. So, if you eat a varied and balanced diet, you shouldn’t have any deficiencies. Although it is true that often times, between work, family and social commitments, we are not always able to eat the most appropriate food. This is why you can get vitamin K in supplement form, either alone or together with other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium or vitamin D.
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Sources for this article
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