Vitamin K Benefits

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 12/01/2024

Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two forms. The primary type, also known as Vitamin K1 or phylloquinone, is abundantly found in green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, kale, broccoli and spinach.

The alternative form, vitamin K2 or menaquinones, is found in certain animal foods and fermented foods and can also be produced by the bacteria in the human body.

This vitamin plays a crucial role in synthesising proteins essential to blood clotting and bone formation. However, this vitamin's importance extends far beyond just that. In the blog below, we will explore the benefits and adverse effects of consuming Vitamin K.

Health Benefits of Vitamin K

Blood Clotting

One of the primary benefits of vitamin K is its role in blood clotting. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of prothrombin in the liver, a component for blood clotting.

This component heavily relies on Vitamin K for its activation and a proper coagulation process. Without an adequate amount of vitamin K, the production of prothrombin is hindered.

This could lead to impaired clotting of blood, which could increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. Hence, to avoid situations that may lead to impaired blood clotting vitamin K should be maintained at standard levels within the body.

While deficiencies of vitamin K are rarely seen in healthy individuals, patients with certain medical conditions that require blood thinners that do not interact with Vitamin K are warned against the consumption of any vitamin K supplements as it is potentially counteractive and could have serious adverse effects on their bodies.

Bone Health

Although calcium is primarily known to be a vital component for bone health, research shows that it does not act on its own. One of the major Vitamin K2 benefits is its ability to activate a protein called osteocalcin which is essentially a binder for calcium to help build bones.

Lower levels of K2 have been reportedly associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. This is a significant factor among the ageing population in which bone-related issues such as osteoporosis become more prevalent. Hence, it is often prescribed as a treatment for patients suffering from osteoporosis.

Cardiovascular Health

Among other Vitamin K2 benefits, another significant benefit is in its function to prevent calcium deposits in arteries.

It helps regulate the calcium within the bones and supports mineralisation as well as activating a protein that avoids any calcium buildup in the heart and arteries. This prevents the hardening of arteries and reduces the risks of any cardiovascular diseases, including Atherosclerosis.

Cancer

Menaquinone benefits are shown to range not just through heart-related diseases, but research shows a significant impact of menaquinone on cancer.

K2 has shown abilities to safely suppress the growth and invasion of cancerous cells in the body, which in turn has aided in the suppression of the recurrence of cancerous tumours.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Another essential vitamin K use for the body is its role in the synthesis of sphingolipids in the brain. It plays a vital role in maintaining the cellular structures of these cells, ensuring there is no impact on their normal function.

It is also known to have an impact on the sulfotransferase activity in the brain, which are enzymes playing a vital role in the cellular communication and survival of the brain cells.

Since dysregulation of these components is implicated in Alzheimer's, it is understood that vitamin K benefits cellular activities to a certain extent. Research has also shown that vitamin K benefits cases related to peripheral neuropathy due to similar functions.

Sources of Vitamin K

Vitamin K2 is readily available in healthy amounts in foods that are consumed globally on a day-to-day basis. Following is a list of foods containing both components of Vitamin K respectively :

Foods Containing Vitamin K1 Foods Containing Vitamin K2
Boiled Spinach Natto
Cooked Broccoli Hard Cheese (Gouda)
Cooked Asparagus Soft Cheese (Blue Cheese)
Soybean Oil Egg Yolk
Red or green Grapes Butter
Plums Chicken Liver
Kidney Beans Salami
Yoghurt Chicken Breast
Mayonnaise Sauerkraut
Margarine Fermented Milk (Kefir)

Adverse Effects of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is known to be generally safe when consumed through food sources like the ones mentioned above. However, excessive supplementation may lead to adverse effects. It is essential to be aware of potential toxicity or reactions, especially for individuals who may be on prescribed blood-thinning medications.

Although toxicity from Vitamin K is a rare occurrence, there are only a handful of cases that have been reported that are associated with menadione. It is a form of Vitamin K that has no reported use in the human body and has toxicity issues related to its water-soluble properties.

Hence, when toxicity does occur, it is known to show symptoms like elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood, jaundice, hemolytic anaemia and Kernicterus in infants. Kernicterus is a severe condition that is characterised by the accumulation of bilirubin in the brain, which can potentially lead to permanent brain damage in infants.

Conclusion

Maintaining a healthy amount of Vitamin K is essential to the human body. Its versatile role in a wide range of health benefits makes it an essential component for maintaining human health. Hence, maintaining an adequate intake of Vitamin K through a balanced diet is essential for getting all the benefits related to it.

However, despite all of its benefits, vitamin K is not enough to protect your overall health. You will still need good health insurance that caters to your specific needs.

The benefits of health insurance continue beyond the coverage of your treatments. At Tata AIG, every medical insurance plan you take is tailored to your needs and provides coverage for your pre-and post-hospitalisation with many other benefits.

Moreover, a health insurance plan from Tata AIG gives you access to a large network of hospitals across the country, where you can get cashless treatment. Choose a medical insurance plan that benefits your health and safeguards your future.

FAQS

What happens if I take vitamin K every day?

Although there are rare instances of adverse effects from the consumption of Vitamin K, it is advisable to take prescribed doses of the supplements. It may lead to serious side effects in individuals with a history of Atherosclerosis, as they may be on blood thinners.

What is vitamin K used to treat?

It is generally prescribed to treat coagulation disorders.

What is Vitamin K deficiency bleeding?

Most seen in infants, there are instances of bleeding occurring when an infant's body cannot produce enough clotting factors upon bleeding. When this occurs due to significantly low levels of Vitamin K, it is called Vitamin K deficiency bleeding.

Disclaimer / TnC

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