Vitamin K

Updated on: August 18, 2014

What is vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a fat soluble substance that is essential for blood clot formation. Without the ability to form clots, one can die. By being fat soluble, vitamin K can only be absorbed from the intestines in the presence of certain chemicals (bile salts which are produced by the liver). Water soluble vitamins can be absorbed without the need for any special chemicals.

Where do humans get their vitamin K?

The majority of vitamin K in humans is normally made by bacteria which are already present in the intestines. Only some of the vitamin K is available from food.

How common is vitamin K deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency is extremely rare in adults unless the intestines have been severely damaged or removed. Deficiency does occur in the newborn soon after birth. This is chiefly because the gut has not been colonized with bacteria which are required to manufacture vitamin K. This is the reason why most neonates are administered vitamin K at birth. Individuals whose liver is damaged are unable to make the chemicals (bile salts) which are required to absorb Vitamin K. These individuals also develop Vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K deficiency will generally present with a tendency to easily bruise and develop severe bleeding after minor trauma.

How is vitamin K administered in cases of deficiency?

Vitamin K is given by mouth or by injection. Vitamin K is never applied as a paste.

Should I take vitamin K daily?

No, one only needs a few hundred micrograms a day and the body has a fairly large store. So there is absolutely no need to take vitamin K daily.

What foods contain vitamin K?

Most leafy green vegetable like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocado, kiwi fruits meats, Soya beans and even wheat bran contain vitamin K. Why someone would want to take a pill which is expensive and contains unknown products instead of eating healthy fruits is a mystery?

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