There are two ways to get vitamin K: through supplements like pills and injections or from its natural food sources. Newborn babies benefit better from vitamin K injections since their digestive systems are not as well-developed as ours, but any doctor or nutritionist will say that the vitamin K sources in food are better for children and adults alike. So what are the vitamin K food sources, what is the right daily dose for you, and why is the vitamin considered important?
Vitamin K food sources
Vitamin K1: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, turnip greens and other green and leafy vegetables. The vitamin K1 form (phylloquinone) appears naturally in its food sources and is considered the safest type of the vitamin, for it is the one that our bodies most easily absorb and utilize.
Vitamin K2: beef, butter, cheese, chicken, eggs, lamb, milk, pork, turkey, yogurt and other meat and dairy products. Vitamin K2 or menaquinone is believed to be less safe than K1 because it has a higher toxicity level, but this form is also more effective in keeping the bones properly developed and strong. Unlike K1, it is created form bacteria present in the food sources.
Vitamins K3, K4, and K5: found in vitamin K-enriched foods, supplements, and injections. These are the synthetic forms of vitamin K and are considered less beneficial than the natural K1 and K2 types.
Vitamin K daily recommended intakes
The average recommended daily intake of vitamin K ranges from 75 to 200 micrograms, but more and more nutritionists are encouraging doses of as high as 250 mcg, and this is considered safe, for vitamin K has a very low toxicity level. 75 mcg a day is enough to protect you from the vitamin K deficiency symptoms of weaker bones and low blood clotting, but you may need more than that to treat and prevent anemia and osteoporosis.
Vitamin K uses
So why is vitamin K good for you? Aside from keeping your circulatory and skeletal systems in good condition, the vitamin also plays an important role in preventing and treating heart disease caused by arteriosclerosis. Without vitamin K, calcium can start depositing on the tissues and the arteries, and when this happens, the arteries get hard and find it harder to assist in pumping the blood. Arteriosclerosis can cause high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack, and these can all be avoided by consuming vitamin K sources daily.
Studies also show that vitamin K may help prevent cancer and neurological disorders by ensuring the body’s cells and nerves stay strong against inflammation and oxidative damage. Start getting your fill of vitamin K every day, and you can then benefit from all the vitamin’s uses from now on.