The vitamin K also known as ( phytomenadione ) are lipid – soluble substances which are responsible for the development, growth and normal functioning of the body, its main function in the body is to help form bones and tissues through proteins, also it serves to produce a certain protein that helps normal blood clotting.
Health benefits of Vitamin K
Newborns have very little vitamin K in their bodies, so in many countries a vaccine is given to the baby within a few hours of birth. Vitamin K2 is considered a fundamental piece in the body since with it several pathologies are prevented, among which are:
Protect the heart
It prevents the hardening of the arteries, which is why it is a very common factor in heart failure diseases, researchers say that vitamin K2 helps keep calcium out of the arteries and thus does not cause damage to other tissues, the latest studies show that vitamin K2 together with vitamin D are those that prevent calcification in the coronary arteries, avoiding cardiovascular disease.
Promotes the coagulation process
Phytomenadione intervenes in the body’s blood clotting process, as if that were not enough, vitamin K deficiency could be very dangerous in cases of any type of wound, cut or injury, so it is the in charge of stopping the bleeding.
Strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis
It acts in a favorable and important way for bone density, which is why it serves as a glue helping to connect calcium and other minerals to the bone matrix, there are many studies about the protective effect of vitamin K2 against osteoporosis.
A group of Japanese researchers based on a theory have shown that vitamin K2 totally reverses the loss of calcium in the bones and in some people increases bone mass.
Also through a series of tests carried out by a group of Japanese experts it was possible to establish and verify that vitamin K2 reduces vertebral fractures by 60% and hip fractures by 80% and others more produced in the area of the column.
Treat skin conditions
There is a cream presentation for topical use that is used to treat rosacea, which is a disease in which pimples appear on the face and tends to cause redness on the skin, many people use it to eliminate fine veins, scars, stretch marks, bruises and burns, it also helps speed up the skin’s healing process and even acts as an anti-inflammatory for swelling after surgery.
Helps regulate blood pressure
For people suffering from blood pressure; Eating foods high in vitamin K can successfully improve symptoms and over time regulate blood pressure to normal levels.
Beneficial for mental health
It also strengthens the brain which is why it is very important for the motor skills of the brain. Good memory and concentration are signs that the brain is healthy, this is achieved by having a good diet enriched with vitamin K.
Prevents stomach aches
Having very frequent stomach aches are surely a warning of vitamin K deficiency, so it is advisable to increase the consumption of foods that contain it, preparing varied diets that include salads, soups and juices.
Helps absorb the most essential minerals like calcium and hardening of the arteries, it has also been found to help with cancer treatments.
Foods that contain vitamin K
As we mentioned above, it is advisable to have a good diet enriched with foods that provide the body with the vitamin K component, then I will leave you a list with the main food sources so that they are not missing in your meals or daily recipes.
- Lean meats
- Col brucelas
Types of vitamin k
There are three types of vitamins, depending on their chemical composition:
- Vitamin K1 or Phylloquinone: found naturally in plants, especially green vegetables, acts directly on the liver, improving and maintaining blood clotting in a normal state.
- Vitamin K2 or menaquinone : produced by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract, that is, it is produced through the intestinal flora, it is very important since it goes directly to the bones, liver tissues and the walls of the blood vessels.
- Vitamin k3 or menadione: directly involved in the synthesis of factors VII, IX and X of blood clotting, it is important to note that there has been toxicity levels in infants who are injected with vitamin K3, so many doctors do not recommend it.
Lack of vitamin k in the body
Phytomenadione deficiency in healthy adults is very low, because these can be stored by the body to be used later, since they are fat-soluble vitamins. When there is alteration and deficiency of vitamin K, the symptoms are usually spontaneous bleeding or hemorrhage.
People who need phytomenadione start with symptoms of bleeding either from the nose, gums, very heavy menstruation, bleeding in the urine and feces, bruises from small blows.
The absorption in newborns is much lower than that produced in adults since their intestine is not colonized and does not contain the necessary enough bacteria that are the ones that produce the vitamin, if the deficiency is not controlled in time it is very likely that the baby manifests hemorrhages in the urine and feces, it can also occur in the navel and sometimes can reach the brain, causing permanent and irreversible injuries and even leading to death.
Excess of vitamin k
Vitamins k1 and k2 do not seem to have any problem when it comes to consuming it in excess, however the synthesized k3 if its use has to be restricted, since its excess can cause an interference with the function of an antioxidant, this means that cells are not protected against aging and damage.
Excess intake of vitamin K can result in irregular blood clotting; It is due to the product of toxic accumulation in the blood leading to anemia and the destruction of red blood cells.
It is fatal when it comes to a newborn as it can cause lifelong liver damage, blood clotting problems due to the alteration in hemoglobin molecules and also hemolytic anemia.
It is contraindicated for the following cases:
- People with hypersensitivity or allergy to its main compound (phytomenadione).
- It should not be given if anticoagulant medications are being used.
- If you suffer from liver diseases.
- Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, as a study should be carried out on the risks produced in the fetus.
- Irritation may occur in the veins.
- Inflammation and bruising may occur when the injection is administered intramuscularly.
A little history
Vitamin K was discovered when tests and studies were carried out to find a substance that served in blood clotting, at that time it became known as an anti-hemorrhagic vitamin. It was developed in 1930 by the Danish biochemist Henrik Dam, who carried out studies in chickens with a low-fat diet, observing in them the appearance of strong hemorrhages, especially at the subcutaneous level and in the muscular area, as well as the lack of clotting in the blood.
To solve the problem, they first had to determine that it produced little clotting in the blood, finding that it was due to the low level of prothrombin or factor II as it is also known, when carrying out a large number of tests they found a A fat-soluble substance that served to clot the blood, they made a compound based on alfalfa and thus vitamin K (koagulation) was born, many biochemists began to work in the same direction and the team led by scientist Edward Adelbert Doisy was finally able to determine the structure of vitamin K.
In 1940 Doysi and his team of researchers further studied the components of vitamin K and determined the distinction between vitamin K 1 (which they isolated from alfalfa), and vitamin K 2 (which was isolated from fishmeal ), which has an action similar to vitamin K 1 but with slightly different compounds.
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.