Why Vitamin K is So Important
If you’re super health-conscious, you may have already heard about vitamin K. But, honestly, this amazing essential micronutrient doesn’t get nearly the fame it deserves. That’s why I wanted to share this information with you.
The “K” stands for “koagulation” which is the Danish spelling for “coagulation.” Vitamin K is the vitamin that helps the blood to clot or coagulate. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this amazing, underappreciated vitamin does for our bodies.
Vitamin K’s amazing functions
As I mentioned earlier, the “K” stands for the vitamin’s ability to help clot our blood. And this is a critical life-saving measure to prevent blood loss from cuts and scrapes.
Vitamin K also works hand-in-hand with calcium in the blood. It helps to shuttle the calcium to our bones and teeth where we need it. This reduces our risk of fractures and cavities. Having too much calcium in our blood can lead to kidney stones and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), so vitamin K helps to reduce our risks of those too.
It also helps with insulin. Not only is vitamin K critical for making insulin, but also to keep your cells sensitive to it. This means that vitamin K can help you better regulate your blood sugar levels.
Vitamin K has a few other functions too. It can help to regulate your sex hormones. In men, it helps to maintain good levels of testosterone. In women with PCOS, it helps to reduce certain hormones.
Finally, vitamin K can help protect against cancer by switching off cancer genes.
What to eat to get enough vitamin K
There are two main types of vitamin K: K1 and K2. The type depends on which foods you eat. Vitamin K1 is found in plants; while vitamin K2 is found in animal foods and fermented plants.
Vitamin K1 supports blood clotting (koagulation). Vitamin K1 is found mostly in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, parsley, and Swiss chard), as well as asparagus.
Vitamin K2 also supports blood clotting and has additional health benefits. Bone mineralization and effects on cancer genes and sex hormones are primarily from the K2 version. Vitamin K2 is found in egg yolk, butter, meat, and fermented foods like sauerkraut.
Since vitamin K is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, it’s best to eat it with a bit of fat. This helps to increase absorption from the food into your body.
If you do want to supplement, make sure you follow the label directions. Some of the cautions include the fact that Vitamin K can interact with several types of medications, so make sure it’s right for you before taking it.
I hope you now feel like you’re in the know about this amazing (but not-so-well-known) vitamin. Did you learn something new? Did you want to add something I missed?
Let me know in the comments below!