Why Vitamin K is a Game-Changer for Your Health

Did you know that around 60,000 Americans die yearly from Hemorrhages? Acute blood loss is a  serious medical concern, whether it’s due to a car accident or post-surgery trauma. With the help of vitamin K, your body can form blood clots that prevent excessive bleeding from hemorrhaging. But what happens when you fall short of this micronutrient? Unfortunately, your body will be at a disadvantage when experiencing bleeding; in severe cases, hemorrhaging can end a life in merely 5 minutes. So, How do you know if you are running short on this micronutrient? Does it have other benefits? What are good sources of vitamin K?

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Today’s post will cover all that and much more.

Why do we need Vitamin K? 

If you wish to prevent fractures, Vitamin K can help.

As we age, our body's metabolism slows down, activity levels decrease, and we experience low bone density. But this doesn’t always have to be the same designated path for everybody. You don’t need to grasp your joints every once in a while out of sheer pain. You can be swift and agile at any age.

And how is that going to happen? The answer is simple: enriching your diet with an adequate supply of nutrients, especially vitamin K. Osteoporosis, a condition where your bones become brittle and weak, is a leading cause of fractures worldwide, affecting 8.9 million annually. One of the reasons behind osteoporosis is vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K supplementation is fantastic for preventing osteoporosis because it positively impacts bone strength and can effectively reduce the occurrence of fractures.

Vitamin K activates Matrix GLA and Osteocalcin, two essential proteins responsible for binding calcium to the bones. Better absorption of calcium facilitates increased bone density and improves overall bone health. For females, a good intake of vitamin K is essential. 60% of the total cases of osteoporosis affect nearly 200 million females worldwide. This condition affects 1 out of 10 women aged 60, 1 out of 5 aged 70, and 2 out of 5 aged 80. Notice how the number of cases increases with age; this clearly suggests that females are more likely to experience bone health decline as they grow older. Studies based on post-menopausal women found that taking vitamin K supplements promoted a sharp decline in age-related bone mineral density issues. Another study focusing on fractures found that vitamin K intake significantly reduced spinal fractures by 60%, HIP fractures by 77%, and all nonspinal fractures by more than 80%. Woah! The figures are overwhelming.

Vitamin K is an excellent defense against Cardiovascular Diseases.

Vitamin K is essential in calcium absorption. Low levels of this micronutrient can lead to extra calcium deposits lying idle in your body. Sometimes, the location for these excess deposits can be your arteries. In that case, your arteries amass harmful buildups of calcium, which then grow to form plaque. The formation of plaque can be hazardous to your heart’s health. It narrows down your blood vessels and restricts blood flow. Also, in some cases, this plaque can break off and reach your heart, causing trouble pumping blood. Eventually, both of these can lead to a stroke and heart attack. Studies have shown that vitamin K prevents untoward occurrences and reduces calcified deposits. This micronutrient is beneficial in preventing heart diseases and lowering cardiovascular mortality rates significantly. Evidence also suggests vitamin K’s role in improving insulin sensitivity. Your body derives energy from the sugar in your blood, and insulin is the hormone that regulates those blood sugar levels. An impaired insulin sensitivity will mean a higher amount of blood sugar which can be a causal agent for diabetes.

And guess what diabetes leads to?  Heart disorders! Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes go hand in hand. Since vitamin K is crucial in avoiding impaired insulin functions, it would be wise to incorporate more of this micronutrient into your diet.

Moving on, let’s discuss its role in fighting against Cancer.

Did you know that cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease?

It accounts for one out of every five deaths in the United States. Even with advancements in medicine, it remains one of the deadliest and most traumatic diseases. Finding preventive and remedial solutions has always been the topmost priority. Luckily, studies have found that Vitamin K inhibits the growth of cancer cells. It also mitigates the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. One of the side effects of cancer therapy that vitamin K assists with is Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a group of cancers in which new blood cells form in the bone marrow and do not mature over time. Your bone marrow is crucial because it’s where blood cells develop. So when immature blood cells cannot transform into healthy, white, or red blood cells and platelets, they die in the bone marrow or shortly after being released into the bloodstream. This leaves little room for healthy cells to thrive. This may lead to anemia, easy bleeding, frequent infections, and sometimes, cancer. Clinical studies have also found that increasing vitamin K intake can help reduce the recurrence of liver cancer and boost your survival rates.

Now, let’s focus on what causes Vitamin K deficiency.

A Saturday night binge-drinking plan might seem like a good idea. But what happens when this one-time alcohol consumption becomes a daily occurrence? In that case, your body will fail to absorb nutrients such as vitamin K. Vitamin K deficiency can also occur due to a poor diet, malabsorption due to medication, diarrhea, and Crohn’s disease, an illness where the body cannot absorb the nutrients due to inflammation.

How can you tell if you're running low on Vitamin K reserves? Are there any warning signs of deficiency?

Here are a few symptoms to watch out for. 

#1. Bruising: Have you accidentally run into a piece of furniture, and now that mark is turning into a large bruise? Bruising is a form of hemorrhaging which is the primary symptom of Vitamin K deficiency.

#2. Excessive Bleeding: This sign can take a while to notice, as it is only evident when you get a cut. If a needle prick, minor cut, or wound takes longer than usual to form a blood clot, then there are fair chances you are Vitamin K deficient.

#3. Heavy Menstrual Flow: Heavy menstrual flow is another hallmark symptom. Vitamin K deficiency can trigger excess blood flow during menstruation, often accompanied by pain and elevated menstrual cramps. Sometimes premenstrual syndrome becomes prevalent.

#4. Gastrointestinal Tract Issues: Vitamin K deficiency can also cause hemorrhages and bleeding in your gut. And this can be identified by noticing blood traces in urine and stools.

#5. Prone to Fractures: If you are an athlete or someone who loves being physically active, watch out for your vitamin K levels because you could be one step away from a bone injury. Vitamin K is essential for bone health, as it shields your skeleton and makes it a “Damage-Proof.” However, its absence can be equally detrimental and potentially trigger a bone density decline which can easily cause fractures.

#6. Cardiovascular Health Issues and Chest Pain: Vitamin K is responsible for drawing calcium away from the arteries, which is crucial for keeping them safe from calcification and the formation of plaque deposits, which can otherwise cause them to narrow down and finally result in a heart attack or stroke.

#7. Bleeding Gums: Bleeding gums can be another vital symptom of Vitamin K deficiency.  After all, vitamin K is crucial for manufacturing proteins that form blood clots.

What are good suppliers of Vitamin K?

There are two subdivisions under vitamin K: K1, Phylloquinone, and K2, Menaquinone.

Vitamin K1 is primarily found in plant foods, especially dark green leafy vegetables, and Vitamin K2 is found in animal products and sometimes in fermented plant foods such as natto.

So if you want to meet the basic requirements of vitamin K, add more vegetables and fruits to your diet such as kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green beans, prunes, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, figs, avocado, parsley, and cabbage.

If you are looking for meat sources of vitamin K, you can opt for beef liver, pork chops, chicken, and goose liver.

And what about dairy products? Well, Jarlsberg cheese, soft cheese, Edam cheese, egg yolk, whole milk, and cream are great sources.

So put on your chef’s hat and experiment with endless food delicacies. After all, having a nutrient-rich diet shouldn’t sound boring when there are so many things to choose from. Looking to learn more about Vitamin K? Read Eat Blackberries Daily & See What Happens To Your Body Or The 16 Best Vitamin K - Rich Foods You Must Include in Your Diet Go ahead! Click one, or better yet, read both.

What did you learn about vitamin K? Let us know in the comments below!

The information I provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should never use content in my writing as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if indicated for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. I am not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this blog. Thank you.

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