The Alphabet of Vitamins: Featuring Vitamin K
by Caroline Charlton
Today I am going to share with you several important facts about vitamin K. While this obscure vitamin, also known as “the forgotten vitamin” can almost go unnoticed, yet let us not forget that some of its benefits are unsurpassable. Overall, Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is necessary for a number of critical bodily functions including:
- strong bone development
- blood clotting
- transportation of calcium throughout the body
- heart disease prevention
- cellular growth regulation
Studies show that 73% of Americans do not get an adequate amount of vitamin K in their diet.
Three Types of Vitamin K
There are three types of vitamin K: K1, K2, and K3.
Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, occurs naturally in dark green vegetables. Since it is directly absorbed into your liver, it aids in healthy blood clotting.
Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is synthesized in the body from the bacteria that lines your G.I. tract, therefore your bones, tissues, and blood vessel walls will directly absorb menaquinone.
K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form that must be activated in the liver. When injected in infants, K3 can potentially cause toxic effects and for this reason it is not recommended for intake.
Vitamin K + Vitamin D
Although Vitamin K is important, you will not take advantage of its full potential unless it is adjunct to vitamin D; in fact, one will not work optimally in your body if you are deficient of the other.
According to Dr. Cees Vermeer, Professor of the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht at the University of Maastricht, most Americans are deficient in vitamin K as well as vitamin D. Although the majority of people get enough vitamin K to maintain healthy blood clotting, it is not sufficient to protect the body from other health problems.
The Properties of Each Type of Vitamin K
Numerous studies reveal that K1 and K2 can help the body fight certain types of cancers, most noteworthy are colon, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, lung, leukemia, and stomach.
In 2008, a German research group found K2 to have considerable benefits in protecting men against prostate cancer, which is one of the most common cancer for men in the United States.
Another important fact about K2 is that it protects your heart from heart failure and coronary artery disease while preventing your arteries from hardening.
Studies have shown that K2 may stop calcium from damaging artery linings and other tissues of your body’s organs. Research also found that cardiovascular disease might be averted when vitamin K2 and vitamin D are taken together. Consequently, these two vitamins combined prevent calcification of your coronary arteries.
Finally, vitamin K2 can prevent osteoporosis because one of its effects is improving bone density. K2 helps calcium and other vital minerals absorb into your bone matrix by acting as the biological “glue”. Several Japanese studies discovered that when participants with Osteoporosis consumed K2, it reversed bone loss for some and it even increased bone mass for others.
Where to Find Vitamin K
The following foods contain high amounts of vitamin K: broccoli, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, turnip greens, and green tea. Fermented foods such as miso and nattō are also a great source of this low-key vitamin.
Additional foods include grass-fed beef liver, lettuce, asparagus, cabbage, and the pith of citrus fruits. On the negative side, antibiotics, cholesterol medication, and aspirin can inhibit the body from absorbing vitamin K.
Super Green Stir Fry
- 3 Green onion, sliced on the diagonal
- 2 cups Organic Swiss Chard
- 2 cups Organic Spinach
- 2 tbsp. Coconut Aminos
- 2 tbsp. Organic Non-GMO Miso paste
- 1 clove of grated Garlic
- 1 tsp. of grated Ginger root
- 1 tsp. Raw honey
- 1 medium head of Broccoli
- 3 Carrots
- 1 Organic Red pepper
- ¼ tsp. of Cardamom, Red pepper flakes, Ginger powder, and Garlic powder
- 1 tsp. of Coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp. of Red Palm Oil or Coconut Oil
- Green onions
- Sesame seeds
- Chop broccoli and carrots into bite size pieces
- Slice red pepper and Swiss chard into strips
- Mix honey, miso, and coconut aminos in a bowl and set aside
- In a large stir fry pan put 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat
- Place broccoli, carrots, and red pepper in pan and cook for 2 mins.
- Add grated ginger and garlic, cook for 1 min.
- Pour honey, miso, and coconut aminos mixture to the pan
- Add Swiss chard, spinach, and all spices
- Cook for 2 to 3 mins. until Swiss chard and spinach turn bright green
- Pull pan off heat and add green onions, sesame seeds, and chopped cilantro
Colbert, M.D., D. (2006). Nutritional Supplements. In The Seven Pillars of Health (1st ed., Vol. 1, pp. 191–192).
Lake Mary: Siloam.
Mercola, M.D., J. (2004, March 24). 10 Important Facts About Vitamin K. Retrieved January 6, 2015, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/03/24/vitamin-k-part-two.aspx#_edn3
Weil, M.D., A. (2013, January 10). Vitamin K. Retrieved January 9, 2015, from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02804/vitamin-k.html
Originally published at livinghealth.tv on January 25, 2017. 2017 © Living Health TV and Living Health Magazine.