Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin K
Table of Contents
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver, what many people do not know is that vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting process.
Vitamin K manufactures proteins in the blood to quickly seal any wounds. Without it, these proteins would not be made properly and this could lead to bleeding from minor cuts that would take days to heal.
Vitamin K contributes to post-translational modification of proteins, a process by which proteins are formed.
Getting enough vitamin k is crucial for maintaining healthy blood.
The article provides a lot of good health reasons why your blood needs vitamin k.
What is vitamin K and what does it do in the blood?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin which is needed for a unique post-translational chemical modification in a small group of proteins with calcium-binding properties, collectively known as Gla-proteins.
The vitamin K dependent coagulation proteins are made in the liver and comprises of factors II, VII, IX, and X, which have a hemostatic role, and proteins C and S, as anticoagulants.
Vitamin K occurs naturally in two forms: vitamin K1 known as phylloquinone is found in plants, and vitamin K2 for a group of compounds called menaquinones is found mainly in dairy products.
Vitamin K1 are procoagulants that prevents bleeding, whiles vitamin K2 inhibits the clotting process.
Benefits and functions of vitamin K in the blood
A sufficient intake of vitamin k is important as it helps the body to:
- Clot blood
- Maintain bone health
- Keep blood vessels functioning properly
The european food safety authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of vitamin k in contributing to maintenance of normal bone and blood coagulation.
Why Vitamin K Is Good For Your Blood
A sufficient amount of vitamin k in your blood is necessary for the body’s biological functions and preventing certain diseases. Here the reasons why your blood needs vitamin k.
Vitamin K is needed for proper use of calcium in bones. Higher vitamin k intake increases bone density, while low vitamin k intake has been found in elderly individuals with osteoporosis.
There is increasing evidence that vitamin k improves bone health and reduces the risk of bone fractures in postmenopausal women who are at risk for osteoporosis.
In addition, studies of male and female athletes have also shown bone-enhancing benefits from vitamin K supplements. Further investigations are needed to clarify vitamin K’s benefits for bone health.
The buildup of fatty material within blood vessel walls leads to atherosclerosis.
As the condition progresses, incorporation of calcium into atherosclerotic plaques occurs, resulting in decreased elasticity of the affected vessels and increased risk of blood clot formation causing stroke.
A population study found that postmenopausal women with blood vessel calcifications had lower vitamin K intake than those without calcifications.
Further studies are necessary to evaluate the emerging potential of vitamin K in inhibiting calcification of blood vessels.
Babies are born without any bacteria in their intestines and do not get enough vitamin K from breast milk to tide them over until their bodies are able to make it.
Therefore, all newborns receive vitamin K just after delivery to prevent hemorrhagic disease, particularly in the brain.
What foods provides vitamin K?
You can get recommended amounts of vitamin K by eating a variety of foods, including:
What about dietary vitamin K supplements?
There are vitamin K supplements that contains only vitamin K. Other vitamin K supplements combines with calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Common forms of vitamin K in
dietary supplements are:
Are you getting enough vitamin K in your blood?
Vitamin K deficiency is very rare and most people get enough vitamin K from the foods they eat.
Also, bacteria in the colon make some vitamin K that the body can
absorb. However, certain groups of people may have trouble getting enough vitamin K:
- Newborns who don’t receive an injection of vitamin K at birth
- People with cystic fibrosis
- People with celiac disease
- People with ulcerative colitis
- People who had bariatric surgery
Newborn infants are vulnerable to vitamin K deficiency, which may result in bleeding within the skull.
Breast-fed infants have low vitamin K because placental transfer of vitamin K is poor and human milk contains low levels of this nutrient. Therefore, vitamin K is administered prophylactically to all newborns.
How much vitamin K do you need in your blood?
The average daily recommended amounts of vitamin K are listed below in micrograms, depending on the age and gender.
- Birth to 6 months: 2.0 mcg
- Infants 7–12 months: 2.5 mcg
- Children 1–3 years: 30 mcg
- Children 4–8 years: 55 mcg
- Children 9–13 years: 60 mcg
- Teens 14–19 years: 75 mcg
- Men 20–35 years: 120 mcg
- Women 20–35 years: 90 mcg
- Pregnant women: 90 mcg
What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin K in your blood?
Severe vitamin K deficiency can cause bruising and bleeding problems because the blood will take longer to clot.
Vitamin K deficiency might reduce bone strength and increase the risk of getting osteoporosis.
Circumstances that may lead to vitamin K deficiency include:
- Fat malabsorption
- Liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Oral blood-thinning medications
Are there any interactions with vitamin K that you should know about?
Yes, some medications may interfere with vitamin K in your blood. Here are a few examples:
Vitamin K can have a serious interaction with the blood thinner warfarin. If you take warfarin, make sure that the amount of vitamin K you consume from food and supplements is the same everyday. A sudden change in the amount of vitamin K you get can cause serious bleeding.
Antibiotics can destroy the good bacteria in your gut. Some of these bacteria make vitamin K. Using antibiotics for more than a few weeks may reduce the amount of vitamin K made in your gut and therefore, the amount available for your body to use.
Bile acid sequestrants
Some people take bile acid sequestrants such as colestipol and cholestyramine to lower blood cholesterol levels.
These medications can reduce the amount of vitamin K your body absorbs, especially if you take them for many years.
Orlistat is a weight-loss drug. It reduces the amount of fat your body absorbs and can decrease the absorption of vitamin K in your blood.
Is vitamin k harmful to the blood?
Vitamin k has not been shown to cause any harm. However, it can interact with some medications, particularly warfarin.
Without enough vitamin K your blood can’t clot properly and you may be at risk of bleeding too much. Vitamin K also helps to keep your bones strong and prevents heart attacks.
You can get enough vitamin K by eating leafy green vegetables, dairy products, and taking dietary supplement.
If you are on medication check instruction label on the product before you combine with vitamin K supplement, and follow the recommended daily amounts to avoid high intakes.
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