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Health Benefits of Vitamin K

By on Jul 26, 2013

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Vitamin K is known as such because of its German name, Koagulations-vitamin. This may give you a clue as to one of its major roles in the body, namely, blood clotting (coagulation). Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body is able to store it in adipose (fat) tissue and in the liver. However there are lots of benefits of vitamin K.

Deficiencies in vitamin K take a while to develop and may take some time to correct. Aside from helping to blood clot, vitamin K plays a large role in bone-building and maintenance of a healthy skeletal system and there is some evidence that it may be particularly important for post-menopausal women to maintain good bone health.

What is Vitamin K and What Does it Do?

Benefits of vitamin K

Benefits of vitamin K

The important actions of vitamin K were overlooked for a long time as scientists concentrated on other vitamins and minerals that people were more likely to become deficient in. However, in recent years the research has been filling in the gaps in our knowledge of what vitamin K is and what it does. We now know that this fat-soluble vitamin is essential to bone health and circulatory health as it helps regulate calcium deposition in the body, preventing calcification and hardening of the arteries and maintaining the density of bones alongside vitamin D.

Vitamin K Deficiencies

For most people, developing a vitamin K deficiency is pretty unlikely as this fat-soluble vitamin is found in a number of foods such as broccoli, kale and spinach,  and because bacteria in our guts actually make the vitamin which we then absorb through the intestinal wall.

Severe dysbiosis (an imbalance in bacteria in the gut) and the use of antibiotics can decrease the synthesis of vitamin K, however, so it is important to be able to spot early warning signs of vitamin K deficiency such as bleeding from the gums and nose and slow clotting at the site of even minor cuts.

Without appropriate treatment, those whose vitamin K deficiency continues are at risk of internal bleeding, leading to anaemia and other problems, and loss of bone density causing osteoporosis and a higher risk of fractures and bone pain.