Vitamin K is a little heard of, but valuable vitamin that deserves some attention due to its importance to a health and wellbeing. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is best absorbed in association with dietary fat.
The major benefit of Vitamin K to the body is its role in coagulation, the process by which blood forms clots. Vitamin K is fundamental to the synthesis of several proteins that facilitate both coagulation and anticoagulation. Coagulation, or blood clotting, and anticoagulation, prevention of blood clotting, are important to the maintenance of internal equilibrium in humans. Deficiency in Vitamin K causes disequilibrium, which may result in hemorrhages and thrombosis, both of which, if left untreated, lead to death.
Vitamin K also aids in the absorption of calcium, and acts to bind calcium and other minerals to the bone. Therefore insufficient dietary Vitamin K restricts the development of healthy bones and teeth. Due to this relationship between Vitamin K and calcium, persons with diets deficient in Vitamin K are susceptible to osteoporosis, the abnormal loss of bone tissue, which results in fragile and porous bones.
Additionally, persons with diets sufficient in Vitamin K, such as vegetarians, are less likely to suffer from kidney stones (an accumulated lump of mineral salts found in the kidney), than individuals whose diet lack the daily recommended dose of the vitamin.
Vitamin K occurs naturally in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, collard greens, cauliflower, broccoli, parsley and romaine; in fruits such as avocado and kiwi; and in beef liver.
Since the recommended daily intake of Vitamin K is seventy-five micrograms, for males between fourteen and eighteen, and one hundred and twenty micrograms for males aged nineteen and over, it may be impossible to obtain the vitamin strictly from natural sources, especially among the vegetable and fruit averse. In such cases, Vitamin K supplements are available in K1, K2 and K3 forms, but these are unapproved by the FDA, due to their potential negative effects.
Although not as famous as its cousins Vitamins A, B, C, D and E, Vitamin K is essential to health, wellbeing, and many of human body’s life processes.