Friday, October 7, 2011

Importance of Vitamin K: Vitamin K Deficiency and Food Sources

Vitamin K is an extremely important vitamin, that tends to get somewhat neglected. Vitamin K obtained from plants is termed vitamin K1, whilst that obtained from the bacteria in the intestine is called vitamin K2, and vitamin K3 is an artificial derivative. The 3 vitamin K, function similarly when it comes to blood clotting, however, vitamin K1 is relatively superior for other bodily functions.

Vitamin K Structure
What Is Vitamin K For?: Importance of Vitamin K

  • The chief function of vitamin K is blood clotting. Vitamin K controls normal blood clotting by manufacturing prothrombin and facilitating the transport of calcium.
  • It also plays a vital part in bone health. It converts the bone protein osteocalcin from its inactive form, in to its active form. The osteocalcin molecule combines with calcium and keeps it in place within the bone, thus, helping in mineralization of the bone and preventing osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin K helps decrease the risk of bleeding in liver diseases, mal absorption, or after prolonged usage of anti biotics and / or aspirin.
Vitamin K Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin K is very rare, and usually develops when the vitamin can not be absorbed from the GI tract. It may also occur after long-drawn-out treatment with anti biotics. The deficiency is invariably a result of poor absorption, rather than, an inadequacy in the diet.
Long term usage of anti biotics tends to destroy some of the bacteria in the gut that assist in the manufacture of the vitamin; and consequently, the level drops. Newborns are at a risk of developing the deficiency.
This is due to the fact that their gut contains no vitamin K synthesizing bacteria. Deficiency in adults is somewhat uncommon. it occurs when one has a disease that prevents the absorption of fat; celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, hepatitis and cholestasis.

A deficiency of vitamin K leads to impaired mineralization of the bone. Low levels of the vitamin are seen in individuals who have fractures due to osteoporosis. The vitamin found in abundance in a vegetarian diet is a protective factor against the development of osteoporosis.

Other symptoms of deficiency are: easy bruising, bleeding from the nose, GI bleeding, profuse menstrual bleeding and blood in urine.

Kale is a good
Source of Vitamin K
Sources of Vitamin K: Vitamin K Foods

Rich sources of vitamin K are dark green leafy vegetables, green tea, broccoli, kale, spinach, lettuce and cabbage. Asparagus, watercress, oats, whole wheat and peas are good sources too.
The RDA for vitamin K is 1 microgram per 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of body weight.

Vitamin K Supplements
Vitamin K supplements are recommended in cases of deficiency, with apparent bone health and lessen risk of fractures, especially, in post menopausal women who have the possibility of developing osteoporosis.

Further it is considered essential in the management of lower back pain and other arthritis disorders.

1 comment:

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