Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin and combination of chemically related substances. Vitamin K plays an important role in healthy blood clotting. "K" is derived from the German word "koagulation" which means “coagulation” in English. Vitamin K comes under the chemical category of substances called naphthoquinones. Naphthoquinone is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps in the clotting of blood.
There are two types of Vitamin K can be found in naphthoquinone category, phylloquinones and menaquinones. Phylloquinones is made by plants and menaquinones is made by the bacteria. We get most of our Vitamin K from plants especially green leafy vegetables. Very less amount of Vitamin K is created by the bacteria in our intestines.
Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin K3:
Vitamin K1 is called phylloquinone because it comes from photosynthesis in plant leaves. It is the natural version of K1 and phytonadione, the synthetic type of K1.
Vitamin K2 is produced by the bacteria in the intestines. It’s a collective term for a group of vitamin K compounds called menaquinones. It is a lipid soluble vitamin which is created by the bacteria in the gastrointestinal track.
Vitamin K3 or Menadione is a synthetic chemical compound. This is a fat-soluble vitamin precursor. It is s converted into menaquinone in the liver. This is not a natural Vitamin K rather it’s a synthetic analogue works as provitamin.
Very good dietary sources of Vitamin K are liver, green tea, turnip greens, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, and romaine lettuce. Some other high Vitamin K foods are green beans, mustard greens, Swiss chard, parsley and carrot.
Vitamin K Benefits:
Vitamin K is very important for us. It allows blood to clot normally. Vitamin K protects bone from fracture and prevents postmenopausal bone loss. It provides the protection against the liver and prostate cancer. In addition, it prevents calcification of blood vessels or heart valves. Also, Vitamin K gives protection against oxidative damage and promotes brain and nervous system structures.
Vitamin K Deficiency:
Vitamin K deficiency can lead to bone problems such as loss of bones and decrease in bone mineral density. Lack of Vitamin K can be cause of excessive bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding within the digestive tract. People who are suffering from Vitamin K deficiency can face problems with calcification of the blood vessels or heart valves.
Vitamin K plays important roles in the prevention and treatment of bone fracture, chronic liver disease, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney stones, osteopenia (bone loss) and osteoporosis (decreased bone mineral density).