January 30, 2013 by Cassy
We’re looking at some new multivitamin products at work, and since my last post on Vitamin D, I was wondering what other vitamins I’m missing from my daily diet. So everyone’s heard of Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E but what’s up with Vitamin K and why did we skip Vitamin F, G, H, and I? The answer: a German scientist who discovered this vitamin named it K because of its primary property in blood clotting (or “Koagulation” in German).
Where to Get Vitamin K
Naturally occurring Vitamin K (phylloquinone) comes from foods like green, leafy vegetables and green tea. Some of my favorite products that are high in Vitamin K are:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Brussel Sprouts (New for me! I just discovered this while at a restaurant last Friday. I never thought I could like this vegetable.)
- Collard Greens (so good!)
The other form (menaquinones) comes from bacteria in the gut (yes, healthy bacteria lives in our intestines). Bacteria in the gut produce a range of vitamin K2 forms, each with side chains composed of a variable number of chemical compounds. Menaquinones can also be found in food that contains bacteria like cheese and natto, or in animals that also produce the vitamin via their gut bacteria.
Essentially, Vitamin K plays a key role in regulating blood coagulation and bleeding. In addition to the anticoagulant properties, Vitamin K has shown heart-health benefits. Researchers have observed an inverse association between menoquinones and risk of cardiovascular diseases.
It also helps support strong bones. Vitamin K assists calcium retention, which helps prevent osteoporosis. In postmenopausal women, menoquinones help maintain bone strength in the neck and hip.
Vitamin K has also shown to protect against prostate and liver cancer. A 2008 German study found a dietary intake of menaquinones lead to a 35-percent reduction in prostate cancer risk in more than 11,000 men.
Overall, one study on vitamin K published in October the 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found it may help prevent age-related conditions such as bone fragility, arterial and kidney calcification, cardiovascular disease and, possibly, cancer.