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Vitamin K

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People often wonder if they can give their newborn babies vitamin K or not. People also don’t have the basic awareness of whether vitamin K is essential for their children or not. This article would elaborate the need for vitamin K, the benefits of this vitamin, and the basic information about why vitamin K is necessary for human beings.

WHAT IS VITAMIN K?

Vitamin K is basically known as the fat-soluble vitamin which is found in food and other dietary supplements. The basic function of vitamin K in the human body is actually the post-synthetic modifications of certain proteins that are present in the human body. It is essential for blood coagulation in the human body and is also required in order to control the binding function of calcium in the bones and other tissues of the body.

Vitamin K is found in a number of food items which include cauliflowers, spinach, kale, mustard greens, and other vegetables. However, the chief source of vitamin K, where it is known to be produced, is the bacteria that is present in the large intestine of the human body.

BENEFITS OF TAKING VITAMIN K

There are a number of benefits that can be taken by regularly absorbing vitamin K into our bodies. Some of those benefits are listed below

  1. HELPS IN BLOOD CLOTTING

Vitamin K is the basic vitamin that helps the body to make various proteins in the body that essentially help the function of blood coagulation in the body. It is also known as anticoagulant vitamin K. Other than that, those proteins which are produced by vitamin K also play a vital role in the building of bones in the human body. Vitamin K produces four different types of proteins that help the blood clot, in order to stop excessive bleeding in case of wounds. In simpler words, vitamin K helps the blood to stop overflowing from the wounds so that they can heal properly and quickly. Since vitamin K has a blood coagulating function, so it works to counteract the function of blood thinner medicines, which are often prescribed to people suffering from heart diseases.

  1. PLAYS A VITAL ROLE IN BONE HEALTH

Vitamin K plays a vital role in the nourishment of the health of the bones of the human body. Vitamin K produces a protein which is known as osteocalcin. The function of this protein is that it helps the bones grow stronger, and prevents the weakness of bones. There are some studies that show that people who have a higher intake of vitamin K in their bodies are at low risk of hip fracture and low bone density, as compared to those people who do not have a proper intake of vitamin K in their bodies.

  1. HEART DISEASES

Vitamin K also plays an important role in enhancing the health of the human heart, and thus reduces the risk of heart diseases. There are not so many researches that prove this fact, but still, there are some researches that show that vitamin K produces a protein which is called matrix GLA protein. This protein works to prevent the calcification of the arteries of the heart, which itself is a very big risk factor leading to heart diseases.

FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN K

Although vitamin K is a vitamin that is naturally produced in the human body, it still has some sources through which human beings can obtain and ingest it into their bodies. Those few food sources are as follows;

  • PHYLLOQUINONE

It means green leafy vegetables. These vegetables include collards, turnip, green spinach, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce.

  • Soybeans and canola oils are also a source of vitamin K
  • Salad dressings made with soybean or canola oil.
  • Fortified meal replacement shakes

How much Vitamin K is required?

According to the National Library of Medicine, the recommended dietary amount (RDA) of vitamin K in different age groups is as follows:

  • Infants up to age group 1-3 years need 30 mcg per day
  • Children up to the age of 4-8 years need 55 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to the age of 9-13 years need 60 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to the age of 14-18 years need 75 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to the age of 9-13 years need 60 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to the age of 14-18 years need 75 mcg per day
  • Adults (men) up to the age of 19+ years need 120 mcg per day
  • Adults (women) up to the age of 19+ years need 90 mcg per day
  • Older adults (men) up to the age of more than 70 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Older adults (women) up to the age of more than 70 years need 1.1 mg per day

SIGNS OF VITAMIN K DEFICIENCY

Medical science says that vitamin K deficiency is hard to occur in adults. However, it is commonly seen in people who suffer from some major heart problems or other diseases and physicians prescribe blood-thinning medicines for them. A deficiency is also possible in newborn infants because vitamin K does not cross the placenta, and breast milk contains a low amount. Other than that, a deficiency in vitamin K causes:

  1. LONGER TIME FOR BLOOD TO CLOT

If it takes blood a little longer time than usual to clot on a wound so that the blood can be stopped, then there is a chance that the person might be going through a deficiency of vitamin K

  1. EXCESSIVE BLEEDING

If it is seen in a person that bleeding for no reason is common, bleeding excessively takes place in the human body, there is a chance that the person might be going through deficiency of vitamin K

  1. HEMORRHAGE
  2. OSTEOPENIA
  3. OSTEOPOROSIS

All these above-mentioned symptoms are related to vitamin K deficiency. If they are seen in a person, it is recommended that the person should consult a doctor on priority.

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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