With the increase appetite for health knowledge, Vitamin K has come to the forefront. It is a powerful vitamin which provides many health benefits that are necessary for good and long living.
If you love living a healthy life then you will certainly like to live a long life too, and Vitamin K will help you to achieve that objective.
In a new study of 7000 people with high risk of cardiovascular diseases, it was found that those with the highest intake of Vitamin K are less likely to die of cardiovascular diseases.
The most important finding of this research was that even if you had vitamin K deficiency your chances of Living longer improves as you begin to take vitamin k rich foods and supplements.
What is Vitamin K and Why It is Important?
Vitamin K is a group of chemically related fat soluble vitamins compounds known as naphthoquinones.
Two of this group of vitamins are found naturally. Vitamin K1 phylloquinone is a plant based vitamin found in high amounts in green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like
- Swiss chard
- Brussels sprouts
Vitamin K2 is found in fermented dairy including yogurt, cheese and fermented soy including miso and natto.
Other sources of vitamin k are liver, wheat bran and soybean oil.
- Vitamin K1 can be converted into vitamin K2 by bacteria in the large intestine and stored.
- Vitamin K plays a very important role in blood clotting, bone metabolism and regulation of calcium levels in the blood.
- Vitamin K is absorbed in the small intestine and stored in the fatty tissues and the liver. It is then utilized in the liver to produce prothrombin which helps to clot the blood.
It is always better to take vitamins and other nutrients from food items as they are balanced in the food with other nutrients.
Taking vitamin K as supplement or any other nutrients supplement has a disadvantage of ruining that balance of nutrients in the system as you can never get the intake quantities right, therefore taking vitamin K supplement or any other nutrients supplement should be your last resort
Impacts of Vitamin K Deficiency on Your Body on Your Health
The biggest impact of vitamin K deficiency is the increased risk of uncontrolled bleeding and hemorrhage.
Since vitamin K also helps transport of calcium throughout the body, it is a vital element for your bone health. Deficiency of Vitamin K may reduce your bone and leads to osteoporosis
Deficiency of Vitamin K can also cause calcification of arteries and other soft tissues leading to early death. Some of the possible major effects of vitamin k deficiency are as under:
- Calcification of arteries
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Varicose veins
- Tooth decay
- Lung cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
All these factors make vitamin K a vital nutrient to lead a healthy and longer life.
Signs of Vitamin K Deficiency
Most of the symptoms are related to excessive blood thinning including
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Blood in the urine
Calcification in the arteries and other tissues, reduction in bone mass or osteoporosis, easy bone fractures are the other long term signs of Vitamin K deficiency.
Prescription anticoagulant medicine or blood thinners, dependence on alcohol may interfere with your vitamin K levels and and chronic malnutrition. Some other medical conditions such as crohn's disease and active celiac disease can also cause Vitamin k deficiency in adults. Otherwise it is rare to find vitamin k deficiency in adults though incidents are increasing. On the other hand this deficiency is more common among newborn infants.
Most people with a normal diet and health do not suffer from its deficiency. However, modern lifestyle is creating more instances of Vitamin K deficiency.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K
You must check your vitamin K and vitamin D deficiency levels periodically as incidences of both these conditions are rising and they have far reaching consequences. The following health benefits will keep you motivated to ensure that you do not get Vitamin K deficiency.
When vitamin K gets absorbed in fat tissues and lever, it is stored there as vitamin k2. This provides the following benefits that not only improve the quality of your life but also increases longevity.
1. Protects Heart
Vitamin K prevents hardening of arteries responsible for most of the cardiovascular diseases. It stops calcification in coordination with vitamin D in the coronary arteries.
Hardening of arteries occurs due to calcification. The calcium that is supposed to accumulate in the bones gets into arteries and gets deposited to harden the arteries.
Vitamin k2 directs the calcium where it belonged to i.e., to the bones.
2. Prevents Osteoporosis
Vitamin K is one of the most important nutrients to strengthen your bones. It improves bone density. It is so powerful that it can reverse osteoporosis. A Japanese study reveals that it not only completely reverse the bone loss but also increased bone density. This is a remarkable finding.
Both the vertebral, non-vertebral and hip joints improved. Vitamin K2 is almost 3 times more powerful than vitamin k1 in this regard according to a dutch study.
Another study conducted on women of the age 50-60 years reveals that a combination of vitamin K1 and vitamin D together with other minerals improved bone mass at hip and spine as compared to consuming vitamin D alone.
3. Maintains Teeth Health
A healthy diet with fat soluble vitamins protects you from gum diseases and tooth decay.
Vitamin K along with vitamin A, vitamin C and Vitamin D are such a combination of fat soluble vitamins that are essential for your teeth health.
4. Fights Cancer
Various studies around the world have found that vitamin K stops or controls various types of cancers.
- Vitamin K2 slowed the growth of lung cancer in a US study
- Vitamin K1 slowed the liver cancer
- Vitamin K2 reduced growth of leukemia
- Vitamin K2 protects prostate cancer according to a German study in the US
Other studies have found that vitamin K also fights well against stomach, colon, oral and nasopharynx cancers. Bottom line is that you should eat a vitamin K rich diet every day to protect against different types of cancers.
Vitamin K alone may not be the only cause of preventing and curing cancers, but it certainly plays a very vital role in combating cancer.
5. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Vitamin K2 has been found to prevent diabetes type 2 according to a study. People who consume more vitamin k2 through food are 20% less likely to get diabetes as compared to those who avoid vitamin k2 rich diet.
In addition to reducing the probability of diabetes type 2, vitamin k also reduces the effect of diabetes type 2.
For example, the bone fractures which are very common in people with diabetes type 2 are reduced if the person takes vitamin k regularly.
Different studies have also shown reduction in Insulin resistance in older people as well as improvements in Insulin sensitivities among young men.
6. Reduces Menstrual Bleeding and Pain
Vitamin K regulates functions of your hormones better, therefore PMS cramps and menstrual pains reduce.
Since vitamin k also is a blood clotting vitamin, it prevents excessive bleeding during the menstrual time and gives you pain relief.
7. Improves brain Functioning
Various studies have shown anti inflammatory capabilities of vitamin K . This protects the oxidative stresses caused by the free radicals. Resulting benefits are prevention of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
So, if you look at all the benefits vitamin K offers, then it is easier to understand why people who eat vitamin K rich diet are likely to live longer than those who don't.
It is not a rocket science to understand that, when your chances of getting atherosclerosis, diabetes, cancers and osteoporosis are reduced, then you are already delaying the chances of most deaths that occur due to these diseases.