What is Vitamin K?
Though people typically speak of vitamin K as if it merely refers to one vitamin type, as with vitamin B6 (which presently has seven known forms), “vitamin K” also refers to a group of vitamins. The main function of these vitamins is to allow for blood coagulation and for metabolism in tissues and bone.
Almost No Fear of Deficiency
Unlike with other vitamins, vitamin K deficiency is not an issue for healthy people; both the first and second subtypes of vitamin K are manufactured within a person’s large intestine by the swelling bacteria and therefore never in scarcity (ironic a bacteria living inside your stomach should ensure your continued life). Though there are three other synthetic types of vitamin K (vitamin K3, vitamin K4 and vitamin K5), they do not strictly pertain to a human’s biology (for example, vitamin K 3 is used in pet food) and therefore will not be discussed. In America, the recommended daily intake of vitamin K for an adult woman is 90 micrograms per day while an adult man is suggested to take 30 micrograms more per day.
Though healthy people do not need to worry about a vitamin K deficiency, an unhealthy person may experience such a deficiency if their intestines can no longer absorb or bacteria can no longer produce vitamin K. This would either necessitate considerable intestinal damage or an attack upon the vitamin K producing bacteria (which is sometimes the case if someone is forced to take broad spectrum anti-biotics, or anti-biotics which attack both harmful and helpful internal bacteria in a final attempt to rid oneself of a disease). As we have already covered that vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation, it should come as no surprise that those lacking in the vitamin may experience bleeding diathesis, or an inability to cease bleeding. As you may have guessed, this means a vitamin K deficiency may be lethal. However, cases such as these are not the norm.
No Fear Of Organic Vitamin K Overdose
Furthermore, there is no upper limit to how much organic vitamin K someone should ingest. Therefore, vitamin K is one of the safest vitamins which the human body necessitates in order to survive. In fact, the only concern vitamin K raises is that with patients taking Warfarin, a drug meant to act as an anti-coagulant. If large amounts of vitamin K are ingested by someone on Warfarin, the drug will cease to work effectively and the patient’s blood will coagulate.
Where You May Find Vitamin K
Because a bacteria residing in the large intestine creates so much vitamin K, the daily needs a person will experience for vitamin K are very minimal. For example, 30grams of raw spinach contains 181% and two tablespoons contain 153% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. Other foods which provide similarly high amounts of vitamin K per serving are asparagus, celery, Swiss chard, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, avocados and kiwi fruits. Generally, adults which eat relatively healthy diets and do not drink heavily cannot help but to take in all their vitamin K needs every day. It’s almost as if someone would need t actively try to avoid vitamin K if they were to experience a deficiency.
Behan, Eileen. Therapeutic Nutrition: a Guide to Patient Education. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. Print.
Web. 02 Jan. 2011. .