What did you say,
It sounds absurd,
How come I’ve never heard?
Sorry, my fault,
If it’s not,
My blood won’t clot.
I refuse to bruise,
I don’t like being black and blue,
So, that I am,
Strong of teeth and bone.
Am I alone?
Come on… bring it on home!
Let’s here ya say,
Come on… bring it on home!
And, along the way,
Pick-up some more,
Vitamin K — helping me make it day to day.
From the National Health Institute of the United States of America
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting.
Vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly.
Vitamin K is found in cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, cereals, soybeans, and other vegetables. Vitamin K is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract.
Vitamin K deficiency is very rare and occurs when there is an inability to absorb the vitamin from the intestinal tract. Vitamin K deficiency can also occur after prolonged treatment with oral antibiotics.
Individuals with vitamin K deficiency usually have an increased propensity to bruising and bleeding.
Recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) are defined as the levels of intake of essential nutrients that the Food and Nutrition Board judges to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of almost all healthy persons.
Specific recommendations for each vitamin depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a PDF file that lists these recommendations.
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.
It is important for people taking warfarin (a blood thinner) to know that vitamin K or foods containing vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of this medication. Ask your health care provider before increasing intake or for advice on maintaining proper levels of vitamin K if you are taking warfarin.
What does it do?
Vitamin K is needed for proper bone formation and blood clotting. In both cases, vitamin K does this by helping the body transport calcium. Vitamin K is used by doctors when treating an overdose of the drug warfarin. Also, doctors prescribe vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding in people taking warfarin but requiring surgery.
There is preliminary evidence that vitamin K2 (menadione), not vitamin K1 (phylloquinone; phytonadione), may improve a group of blood disorders known as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). These syndromes carry a significantly increased risk of progression to acute myeloid leukemia. Large-scale trials of vitamin K2 for MDS are needed to confirm these promising early results.
Where is it found?
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, collards, and broccoli, are the best sources of vitamin K. The greener the plant, the higher the vitamin K content. Other significant dietary sources of vitamin K include soybean oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, and canola oil.
Vitamin K has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):
Celiac disease (for deficiency only)
Acute myeloid leukemia (vitamin K2 only)
Myelodysplastic syndromes (vitamin K2 only)
Phenylketonuria (if deficient)