During the thirties of the last century, Danish scientists noticed that chicks who had eaten food without fat had problems with bleeding. This problem could be solved by using the substance they named Vitamin K.
Today, it is known that most of the vitamin K required by the organism is produced by the action of the bacteria in the intestine, and only 20% is taken with food. Although this substance is not stored in large quantities, the deficiency in healthy people is rare. There are also prescription-based synthetic preparations.
How does it work?
As soon as wound appears, vitamin K is involved in activating the entire coagulation mechanism. Without it we would have bled and died. Research has also established the protective role of this substance in bone health.
PREVENTION: doctors sometimes recommend the use of vitamin K to prevent bleeding. Even when there is no deficiency, the surgeon before the operation of the patient often orders this vitamin to prevent bleeding after surgery. Under medical supervision it can be prescribed due to abundant menstrual bleeding. The use of vitamin K in the treatment of osteoporosis has not yet spread, but it may also be useful in that disease. Some research suggests that it helps in calcium utilization and in reducing the risk of bone fractures. It is especially important for the bones of an older woman. Because of this, vitamin K is often part of many formulas for healthy bones.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: it seems that vitamin K may be beneficial in preventing cancer, as well as for people who are undergoing radiotherapy for malignant diseases. According to recent research, this vitamin is one of the substances that have a beneficial effect on the heart. It may slow down the formation of plaque in the arteries and lower the level of ”bad” (LDL) cholesterol. In order to determine the correct role of vitamin K in these diseases, further research is needed.
How much vitamin K is needed?
The recommended amount of daily intake has not been established, but the recommended safe dose value is 1 μg per kg of body mass (meaning, for a person who has 70 kg, the recommended daily dose is 70 μg of vitamin K).
IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: in healthy people, the lack of this vitamin is rare, because the sufficient amount is produced in the body. A deficiency occurs only in people with a diseased liver or some bowel disease due to which the absorption of fat is poor. However, it should be said that vitamin K levels can be reduced as a result of long-term treatment with antibiotics. One of the first signs of deficiency is the easier appearance of bruises. People with a risk of vitamin K deficiency should be under careful medical supervision because they can bleed up to death due to severe injuries.
IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: the consequences of excess vitamin K are rare because it does not come in any type of food (except in leafy green vegetables) in large quantities. Even megadoses are not toxic, but large amounts may be dangerous if you are taking oral anticoagulants (blood clotting medicines). Large doses can cause redness of the face and sweating.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: in multivitamin preparations, there are mostly 25 to 60 μg of vitamin K. The daily dose of the bone formation formula contains about 300 μg, the amount that is contained in a portion of green leafy salads. Larger doses (e.g. in multivitamin preparations for prenatal use) may be prescribed only with medical supervision and for special needs.
USE GUIDELINES: the prescribed doses of vitamin K are taken with food to make the absorption as good as possible.
The richest sources of vitamin K are cabbage and chard – one portion contains 300 μg of this substance. Good sources and broccoli and green onion. The smaller amount is found in pistachio, vegetable oil, meat and dairy products.
IMPORTANT: additional amounts of vitamin K (greater than those in multivitamion preparations) should only be taken under medical supervision.