Dietary fat is essential for the human body. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin. This is the reason why Vitamin K should be replenished by the body so that the necessary fat can be absorbed. Vitamin K plays a major role in blood clotting. It also prevents bones from becoming weak and helps in relieving itching in the body. It plays an important role in the body in building strong bones, preventing heart disease and liver disease. Often it is referred to as the ‘forgotten vitamin’ as its utility and advantages to the body are overlooked.
Infants should consume about 2-2.5 mcg of Vitamin K in a day, children between the age of 9-13 years should consume about 60 mcg/day, adults between the age group of 14-18 years should consume about 75 mcg in a day and those 19 and older should consume about 90 mcg which is approximately six drops, on a daily basis.
Vitamin K deficiency in a normal human body is rare. This is because the diet normally contains certain foods that consist of fats and minerals. However people who lack Vitamin K are the ones who follow strict and stringent fat-free diet. The common indications of Vitamin K in your body are heavy menstrual periods, nosebleeds, easy bruising, gum bleeding, blood in the urine and gastrointestinal bleeding. These symptoms may further give rise to certain diseases.
Vitamin K is of three types, namely:
- Vitamin K1: It is also called as phylloquinone and is found naturally in plants and green vegetables. It prevents blood clotting and goes directly to the liver.
- Vitamin K2: Also called as menaquinone, goes straight to the walls of the blood vessels, bones and tissues in your liver. It is made by the bacteria that are in line with the gastrointestinal tract.
- Vitamin K3: It is available in synthetic form and is also called as menadione. It is generally not recommended as it leads to toxicity.
Vitamin K is abundantly available in fermented foods. The sources of Vitamin K are collard greens, spinach, salad greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, olive oil, okra, green beans and lentils. Excess of Vitamin K is found in the dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin K supplements should not be taken unless under medical supervision. However one must check their blood after consuming these tablets.
Pregnant women should consume sufficient amount of Vitamin K. However, they may consume the additional supplements, but it should be at the advice of the physician. If a pregnant woman is a deficient in Vitamin K, it may cause certain disorders in her infant such as cupped ears, flattened nasal bridges or shortened fingers.