Vitamin K: Role and Benefits to the Body

The body needs enough vitamins to be healthy. Among them, we find vitamin K in particular, it is not the most famous, but it still plays an essential role in the body. Focus on the benefits of vitamin K and the foods you need to eat to avoid deficiency.


What is vitamin K used for?

Vitamin K is a vitamin that is mainly derived from food but it is also synthesized by bacteria in the gut flora. The two most significant forms of vitamin K are vitamin K1 (also known as phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (also called menaquinone).

This vitamin plays an essential role in the process of blood clotting. “K” in its name is derived from the German word “Koagulationsvitamin”.

What are the benefits of vitamin K?

The role of vitamin K in blood clotting has long been known, but this vitamin is also involved build bones and cells. She also naturally reduces inflammation and protects cardiovascular health. It is recommended that an adult consume about 1 μg (micrograms) per kilogram per day.

The daily requirement for vitamin K is increased in pregnant or breastfeeding women. People being treated with anticoagulants and taking medications, also called antivitamin K, need to control their consumption of vitamin K-rich foods so that the effectiveness of the treatment is not reduced.

What are the signs of vitamin K deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency in adults is quite rare because this vitamin is found in many leafy green vegetables. It is also produced naturally by bacteria in the gut.

However, a defect can be detected in the case of chronic bleeding: subcutaneous, causing bruising or even at the level of the nose, stomach, intestines, or wound. Bleeding from the stomach can sometimes cause you to vomit blood. Blood can also be found in faeces or urine.

to risk of vitamin K deficiency in infants may be more common, especially in breastfed infants. This is especially explained by the fact that they are not yet able to synthesize this vitamin themselves.

In addition, unlike infant milk, breast milk contains only a small amount of vitamin K. Therefore, to avoid deficiency, newborns usually receive an injection of vitamin K a few hours after birth.

If your baby is deficient in vitamin K, some symptoms such as bleeding may occur. Life-threatening bleeding can also occur in or around the brain, but it is exceptional.

Which foods contain vitamin K?

Vitamin K is found in many everyday foods. K1 forms are particularly found in green leafy vegetables, and K2 forms are found in foods of animal origin. Therefore, it is advisable to use them to avoid the disadvantages of foods rich in vitamin K. :

  • spinach
  • Broccoli
  • dandelion
  • parsley
  • cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • salads
  • asparagus
  • Rapeseed oil
  • soybean oil
  • beef liver

For example, 100 g of cooked spinach contains an average of 400 µg of vitamin K.

How should you respond if you have too much vitamin K?

Excess vitamin K can also be a risk factor, especially in people treated with anticoagulants. Excess vitamin K may also occur in infant formulas, but very rarely. Symptoms such as anaemia and jaundice can damage the brain.

To avoid overdose if necessary, it is advisable to eat foods low in vitamin K, such as cow’s milk, yoghurt, white bread, corn, potatoes, turnips, mushrooms or even cucumbers. With the help of a professional, it is possible to create a standard menu without vitamin K, depending on the needs of the body.

Vitamin K for babies, why?

Babies are very low in vitamin K. However, vitamin K is essential for the newborn. It is involved in the normal process of blood clotting, as well as in cell growth and bone mineralization.

Therefore, vitamin K deficiency in infants can cause internal bleeding called “neonatal hemorrhagic syndrome”. These pathologies are quite rare but can lead to serious consequences for the brain or even, more rarely, death.

In order to prevent vitamin K deficiency in babies, it is recommended to take it addition at birth, and on the next day of the baby’s life. Then, if you are breastfeeding, it is advisable to give your baby a weekly dose of vitamin K breastfeeding.

If the child is breastfed, it is not necessary to give it extra, because this milk contains all the substances necessary for the growth of the baby.

Can Vitamin K Help Fight Covid?

In the heat of the epidemic of Covid-19, there has been talking of several vitamins, such as vitamin D, which is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.

The same is true of vitamin K, which, according to a Dutch study published by the British newspaper Guardian, in case of deficiency may increase the risk of developing serious forms.

Patients admitted to Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital in Nijmegen were studied for the purposes of this study. The researchers then found that patients in intensive care or who died of COVID-19 lacked vitamin K.

The benefit of vitamin K in this type of infection could be explained by the fact that Covid-19 causes blood clotting, which reduces elasticity. lung fibres. However, vitamin K helps regulate blood clotting. However, further work is needed to prove these results.

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