Have you ever heard of vitamin K? Many people haven’t, so don’t worry. But if you haven’t heard of it, then this post is important for you to read. You will understand why you need this vitamin!
This vitamin is named after the word “koagulation” (the Danish spelling for “coagulation.”) Vitamin K is the vitamin that helps the blood to clot or coagulate. But it does a whole lot more for our bodies as well.
Vitamin K is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins (they are A, D, E & K). IN this post, I’ll explain what vitamin K does and how you can get it from your diet. Once you read this post, you will have a better idea of why you need this little-known vitamin.
Vitamin K’s Functions
As I mentioned earlier, the “K” stands for the vitamin’s ability to help clot our blood. And this is a critical life-saving measure to prevent blood loss from cuts and scrapes.
Vitamin K also works hand-in-hand with calcium in the blood. It helps to reduce our risk of fractures and cavities. It does this by making sure the calcium in our body goes to our bones and teeth where we need it, rather than into our tissues where it can cause damage. Having too much calcium in our blood can lead to kidney stones and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis). So, vitamin K helps to reduce our risks of those diseases too.
It also helps with insulin. Not only is vitamin K critical for making insulin, but also to keep your cells sensitive to it. This means that vitamin K can help you better regulate your blood sugar levels.
Vitamin K has a few other functions too. It can help to regulate your sex hormones. In men, it helps to maintain good levels of testosterone. In women with PCOS, it can be helpful by reducing certain hormones causing their symptoms.
Finally, vitamin K can help protect against cancer by switching off cancer genes. Wow!
Vitamin K-rich Foods
There are two main types of vitamin K: K1 and K2.
Vitamin K1 is found in plants; while vitamin K2 is found in animal foods and fermented plants.
Vitamin K1 supports blood clotting. It is found mostly in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach, collard greens, parsley, and Swiss chard), and asparagus.
Vitamin K2 also supports blood clotting and has additional health benefits. Bone mineralization and effects on cancer genes and sex hormones are primarily from the K2 version. Vitamin K2 is found in egg yolk, cheese, butter, meat, and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Two of the best sources of vitamin K2 are natto (fermented soy) and liver. Chicken, beef and egg yolks will have a bit too. Look for the MK-7 form in a supplement if you don’t eat animal products.
Since vitamin K is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, it’s best to eat it with a bit of fat. This helps to increase absorption from the food into your body.
If you do want to supplement, make sure you follow the label directions. Some of the cautions include the fact that Vitamin K can interact with several types of medications (especially blood thinners), so make sure it’s right for you before taking it.
Vitamins K1 and K2 are essential fat-soluble vitamins. They help to clot our blood, strengthen our bones, and regulate our sex hormones, just to name a few.
Vitamin K1 is found in green veggies, like cruciferous and leaves. K2 is found in egg yolks, meat, cheeses, and fermented foods.
I hope you now feel like you’re in the know about this amazing vitamin. Did you learn something new? Did you want to add something I missed? Remember, you can book a call to discuss your needs with me here.
Let me know in the comments below.