Why Vitamin K is useful: foods, food sources
Surprisingly, the useful properties of some substances are not limited to a favorable effect on the skin, nails or hair. Such compounds often perform vital functions, for example, vitamin K, signs of deficiency or excess and its dosage are key moments determining the health status of each person.
We continue the topic of the use of micronutrients for the human body. Why do we need this substance, how much it should be consumed and what are the harmful consequences of excessive use? I will discuss all this in this article.
Why Vitamin K and its role in the human body is needed
This compound refers to fat-soluble substances that a person receives from products, or through internal synthesis through microbiota or intestinal flora.
It was first discovered in far 1935 by Danish biochemist Carl Peter Henrik Dam. Then the great scientist discovered that this substance is necessary for blood clotting. The name of this vitamin alone comes from the first letter of the Danish word “coagulation” or coagulability.
The reason for this vital property is that the vitamin functions in the liver and helps produce certain proteins that are responsible for the coagulation of the human blood.
If people do not get enough of this vitamin, they begin to experience problems with blood coagulability and suffer from excessive bleeding or the formation of numerous hematomas.
So, briefly summing up the aforesaid, I want to note that vitamin K performs an incredibly important function in our body – it provides blood coagulation. The condensed blood closes the wound and stops the bleeding, and also prevents the pathogenic bacteria and microbes from penetrating into it.
Food sources of vitamin K
This vitamin is produced with the help of intestinal bacteria found in the human colon. About half of the daily human need for this substance is covered by a microbiota or intestinal flora. This type of vitamin K is known as menaquinone.
What foods contain vitamin K
This compound is most often found in food of plant origin. Here, the vitamin is present as phylloquinone or K1.
The richest in vitamin K is sauerkraut. The fact is that this vegetable itself is a good source of this compound, but the fermentation process increases the concentration of useful substance several times. That is why such cabbage becomes a real storehouse of this vitamin.
From other vegetables it is necessary to allocate:
- Leaf salad;
- Herbs: basil, sage, thyme, parsley, oregano and so on.
In products of animal origin, vitamin K is usually contained in the form of a substance called menaquinone or K2. Here it is not so much, however, the minimum volumes are contained in the liver and yolk, as well as in some sour-milk products.
Where also there is vitamin K
There are also artificial additives of this compound. In them, it is present in the form of a menadion. Usually, such supplements are released only with the prescription of a doctor and strictly in those cases when there is a significant deficit of this vitamin. The dose is usually from 25 to 60 μg.
Symptoms of vitamin K deficiency and signs of significant deficiency
As a rule, there is no deficit of this vitamin in adults, since intestinal synthesis provides at least half the daily norm, regardless of external factors.
Most often, from a lack of this vitamin, babies suffer from newborns. The processes taking place in the intestine do not yet occur as it should, and therefore the body experiences a deficiency of vitamin K. Breast milk does not contain it in sufficient quantities. Usually, pediatricians recommend phylloquinone after birth as a preventive measure.
Now it is necessary to understand what symptoms of a deficiency of this vitamin are observed in adults:
- New wounds are delayed very slowly, and blood is drawn from them for a long time. Even in cases where damage is superficial.
- Nasal bleeding, bruising and bruising is formed even after very little physical impact.
How useful is vitamin K
The first samples of this substance were detected as a result of monitoring the processes of blood clotting. Later it was found that this compound is also present in human bones.
- This substance regulates the formation of bone tissue because due to it occurs the transition of osteocalcin into osteoblasts.
- Vitamin K is used to produce protein compounds that are necessary for the development of bones in both children and adults.
- This compound helps to fight against osteoporosis, as it prevents decalcification.
- Vitamin K is important for metabolism.
In addition, vitamin K also ensures good blood circulation and maintains the cardiovascular system in a normal state. It can be useful in preventing diseases of the circulatory system.
The daily requirement for vitamin K for children and adults
So, now let’s consider what amount of vitamin K should be consumed daily and when it is necessary to increase the number of products consumed to replenish it. Norm should be chosen according to age
Overdose and excess vitamin K
There is no evidence that vitamin K, taken by the body from food, can be toxic and cause an overdose.
However, mention should be made of pharmaceutical additives. Exceeding their dosage can lead to hemolytic anemia or liver damage. If we are talking about taking vitamin K, as part of multivitamin complexes, then in rare cases it can cause profuse sweating or redness.
Compatibility of vitamin K with other substances
- There are many drugs that perform the anticoagulant function, naturally, with these substances, it is better not to use vitamin K, since the actions of these two compounds will balance each other.
- Also, mention should be made of drugs that enhance the effect of anticoagulants. They are usually called coumarins. They contribute to a strong dilution of blood, and therefore it negatively affects the functions of vitamin K.
- Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria in the body, but they can also destroy the good microorganisms that produce this vitamin.
- Drugs that block cholesterol, often interfere with vitamin K digested properly.
- Vitamins E and A usually contribute to the better absorption of vitamin K, however, if their dosage is exceeded, it can cause profuse bleeding. That is why it is better to stick to daily norms and not exceed them.
When and how to take vitamin K correctly
Usually, this vitamin is a part of multivitamin complexes and is taken in accordance with the instructions. Typically, these drugs are taken before meals or during, in the morning or in the evening, once a day.
In a pure form, this compound is used by doctors to treat diseases associated with excessive blood fluid and its inability to coagulate. In these cases, the dosage is determined by the physician himself, based on a specific case.
And for today it’s all about vitamin K, about its signs of deficiency, excess and dosage. You should remember that pharmaceutical supplements of this substance should be taken only under strict medical control since their overabundance in the body can cause negative health consequences.