Vitamin K: What is vitamin k in?
Vitamin K is one of those substances whose effects on the human body have been extensively studied in science. But not all effects have yet been proven. But what is vitamin K good for and not good for?
What does vitamin K contain?
It is certain that vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. In addition, it is suspected that bone formation also takes place with the help of this vitamin. There are two types, K1 and K2, their operation is the same, but the sources differ.
What is vitamin k in?
Vitamin K1 is mainly found in green leafy vegetables. Smaller quantities can be found in fruit , dairy and bread. Vitamin K2 is found in cheese, meat, chicken, egg and dairy products. In addition, it is also produced in the body by bacteria in the colon.
However, the amount produced in the body is insufficient. Hence, we must supplement it with food sources or supplements. Supplements generally contain both.
How Much Vitamin K Do You Need?
There is no recommended amount of vitamin K established by the Health Council, but an adequate intake for an adult of 70 micrograms per day. An upper limit does not apply because an excess amount is not a problem for a healthy adult.
Patients on anti-coagulants should be careful with the use of a supplement. Consultation with the doctor is always necessary.
Deficiency in babies
At birth, all babies are deficient in vitamin K. This is caused by the fact that this substance cannot pass through the placenta. Without vitamin K in the blood, coagulation is a problem. For that reason, young babies are always given an extra dose to prevent serious bleeding.
Also read this: What is vitamin C good for
Vitamin K is contained in breast milk to a limited extent and is added to baby food. After a period of about 3 months, there is enough in the blood and with a varied diet, it remains that way.
What are the consequences of a vitamin K deficiency?
A shortage means that blood clotting is slower than desired. Large wounds, such as in an accident or surgery, can be life-threatening. Small wounds take longer for bleeding to stop.
Spontaneous deficiency rarely or never occurs in healthy adults. A shortage can arise after the use of antibiotics. The bacteria that produce vitamin K2 in the colon are also often killed by this medicine. The level can be brought back to normal with supplements and a good diet.
When do you need extra vitamin K?
Larger amounts are given by medical prescription for the following problems.
1. When using blood thinners
Long-term use of blood thinners can disrupt the blood clotting system. They try to remedy this with large amounts of vitamin K1. Even if there is a risk of major bleeding, this can be limited or prevented by extra intake.
2. With certain diseases
A number of intestinal diseases have the consequence that insufficient vitamin K is produced by the body. This can also be caused by not absorbing enough of the vitamin from the food. For that reason, a supplement is often prescribed.
3. Other medications
Not only antibiotics can cause a lack of vitamin K in the blood, but other medicines also reduce the effect. This applies to painkillers, anti-inflammatories, medicines to lower cholesterol and some medicines for epilepsy. In such cases, the GP can determine whether a supplement is needed.
4. Cystic Fibrosis
The bowel disease cystic fibrosis is linked to vitamin K. It is also called cystic fibrosis. The mucus in the organs is much tougher than normal and therefore much less vitamin is absorbed from the food. It is therefore necessary to take extra vitamins in this disease.
Side effects of vitamin K.
Vitamin K is a substance that is also produced in the body. There are no known side effects. Not even at large doses administered by injections only by medical personnel.
What else do you need to know about vitamin K?
- Driving or operating heavy machinery is not affected by the use of this vitamin.
- In principle, the use is not a problem if you also take medication. If you use blood thinners, always consult your doctor.
- Do not use more than stated on the label. Additional use is usually not a problem, but it has no additional effect.
- Use supplements at a fixed time for the best effect.
Regular use is best to keep levels up. Do not use an extra dose if you have forgotten it once.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Vitamin K can be used without problems during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The placenta prevents the substance from reaching the unborn. In breast milk it occurs in a very small amount and is completely harmless to the baby.
Do I need a prescription?
Vitamins have been on the market since 1944 and are freely available. Buy this preparation only from reliable suppliers and on the internet only from webshops that comply with EU guidelines. If you use multivitamins, it is probably already there.