Vitamin K is an important nutrient that comes in two different naturally occurring forms – K1 & K2. In addition to those two, there are several other synthetic forms. Let’s take a look at what it does and when vitamin K deficiency occurs.
What Does Vitamin K Do?
Reportedly the benefits of this nutrient are that it promotes healthy blood clotting, prevents calcification of heart valves/blood vessels, and helps to inhibit bones from fracturing and/or weakening. It is needed for a synthesis process which takes place in certain brain and nervous system fats. There is also research which points to vitamin K possibly helping to prevent oxidative damage, especially in the nerve cells.
In the beauty industry, this vitamin (in a topical cream form) is known for its ability to help with various cosmetic circulatory problems, such as over-prominent and malfunctioning capillaries which contribute to dark circles under the eye and spider veins on the body.
What Are The Natural Vitamin K Sources?
Vitamin K1 (phylloquinones) is produced by plants and is found in vegetables, particularly those which are green and leafy like kale, spinach, and collard greens. It is also found in tomatoes, carrots, romaine lettuce, and other foods. I read one place that roughly 90% of our K intake comes from plants, so if you consume healthy amounts of veggies like these, a vitamin K deficiency is probably unlikely.
Vitamin K2 (menaquinones) is made in our large intestine by bacteria. The vast majority of healthy adults produce enough, however if you have an abnormal abdominal system, take certain medications, or have an unhealthy liver due to drinking, deficiency is more likely.
What Are The Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms?
First of all I would like to point out that the only way to know for sure is to talk to your doctor and get tested. I do not have a medical education so please do not interpret anything here as advice/guidance.
Bleeding Problems: bleeding gums, frequent bloody noses, excessive menstrual blood, digestive system bleeding
Circulatory Problems: you may be deficient if you have calcification (hardening) of the valves in the heart and/or your blood vessels
Susceptible To Bruising: everyone is susceptible to bruising, but if you bruise very easily, then it may be due to a vitamin K deficiency
Weak Bones: although there are a number of other deficiencies and conditions linked to fractures and brittle bones, not enough vitamin K has also been associated with such
An Important Note About Vitamin K Supplements
The Institute of Medicine has not set a Tolerable Upper Limit – or intake limit – for the natural form of vitamin K because reportedly no adverse side effects were associated with high intakes. However, a synthetic form – K3 or menadione – has been linked to dangerous side effects. That form is no longer allowed to be sold in the US, but many manufacturers still use other synthetic forms. This is why I specifically buy natural vitamins which use Vitamin K2.