The importance of Vitamin K is often overlooked, but this essential nutrient is crucial for healthy blood and bones. The body can create its own vitamin K in the gut, but it does not create enough to meet the average person’s needs, so it’s important to obtain some vitamin K from the diet.
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. Deficiency and low levels of vitamin K can cause the skin to bruise more easily and lead to unusual or heavy bleeding, including nose bleeds, heavy periods, excessive bleeding from hemorrhoids, and cuts that take a long time to stop bleeding.
Vitamin K is needed for bone and blood vessel health; it’s also thought to play a role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and normal brain function. Deficiency has been linked to a loss in bone density.
Sources of Vitamin K
The best food sources of vitamin K include dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, olive oil, and soybean oil. Other food sources include meat, fish, and eggs.
In addition to eating foods containing vitamin K, it’s important to create the right conditions in the gut, as this enables the body to create its supply of this essential nutrient. Healthy gut bacteria are crucial for the creation of vitamin K, which means that live yogurt and probiotic drinks can be useful for some people.
Eating a diet high in sugar can upset the balance of gut bacteria, making it more difficult for the body to produce vitamin K. Long-term use of some medications, including antibiotics and aspirin, can also make it harder for the gut to create vitamin K.
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient needed for normal blood clotting. The body can create its supply of vitamin K, but most people will still need to ensure a steady supply of this nutrient from their diet. Vitamin K deficiency is rare, but low levels in the blood can cause health problems. Newborn babies, people with liver disease, and those eating a low-fat diet are more prone to deficiency.
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