Vitamin K1 is technically called as Phylloquinone (other form of vitamin K is Vitamin K2 called as menaquinones ) . It is one of the fat soluble vitamins . The vitamin K is essential for the blood to clot in case of cuts. It helps in the modification of proteins for aiding the blood to coagulate.
Vitamin K is stored in the liver where it is end up in the liver where it is used to create the blood clotting substances.
Vitamin K – Sources
The major sources of Vitamin K1 is leafy green vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. The fruit sources includes avocado, kiwifruit and grapes. Vitamin K2 is synthesized by the gut bacteria in the intestine and there is no dietary supply. There are other forms of vitamin K like K3, K4 and K5, however they are not available in natural forms and are only available as artificial supplements. However it is found that these vitamins are toxic unlike vitamin K1 and K2.
Biological Functions of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is required by our body for many biological function like clotting of blood. The important biological functions of Vitamin K are:
- Blood coagulation: (by conversion of a blood protein named prothrombin)
- Controls bone metabolism: osteocalcin
- Vascular biology: especially the inner walls of the blood vessel
- Other cardio-vascular function
Vitamin K- Deficiency
Although a vitamin K deficiency is relatively rare certain cases; especially the newborn babies may not have enough of the vitamin k as they have insufficient gut-bacteria in their intestines. Other reason which may result in vitamin K deficiency is an extended course of antibiotics as they will destroy the gut-bacteria and hence result in vitamin K deficiency. Alcoholics also suffer from vitamin K deficiency as alcohol affects the liver which is the store house of vitamin K. People with bowel disease or bowel surgery too face this issue.
Major symptoms of vitamin K deficiency include heavy menstrual bleeding in women, Osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, anemia, bruising, and bleeding of the gums.
Vitamin K – Requirements and supplements
On an average for a normal individual the daily requirement of Vitamin K is 120 μg/day. However here is no upper limit set for Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2, because even with high levels of intake they don’t show any toxicity. However the artificial forms of vitamin K (K3,K4 and K5) shows significant toxicity at higher levels. Consume sufficient quantities of Fresh vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and probiotic food. In case you find that difficult then go for supplements but verify the quantities of (K3,K4 and K5 vitamins as they are toxic). Read more about the risks involved using a supplement before opting for supplements.