What are the health benefits of Vitamin K?
Posted on May 23 2019
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that you probably associate mainly with wound healing. However, the positive effects range from:
- healing wounds
- to maintaining blood vessels
- to keeping bones strong.
Although there are several types of Vitamin K, the ones you really need to know about are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is the most common source in the diet, though it is converted into vitamin K2 in the body. Both types of Vitamin K play important roles in our health.
It’s essential for healthy blood clotting
Vitamin K is necessary for blood clots to form, as it helps make four of the thirteen proteins needed for the process. Although blood clotting might sound like a bad thing, it plays a number of important roles in our bodies. This includes stopping wounds from continuously bleeding so that they can heal.1
It supports strong bones
Vitamin K is also involved in the production of proteins in bone, and is important to keep them strong. If you don’t keep topped up, a deficiency in Vitamin K can cause greater risk of bones fracturing. Vitamin K2 specifically is involved in calcium transport, preventing calcium deposits in the lining of blood vessel walls, and helping to improve bone density. Interestingly, vitamin K2 MK-7, one of the main subtypes, is a long chain form with a longer half-life than other versions of K2.2
It’s key for cardiovascular health
Another important role this vitamin plays is helping to prevent heart disease. Vitamin K is involved with the production of matrix GLA proteins (MGP), which prevent calcium from depositing in your arteries. These calcium deposits contribute to the development of plaque, so it’s no surprise that they are a strong predictor of heart disease.
Do we get enough?
Most people get the vitamin K they need from their diet, but you can consider other sources if you don’t eat enough vitamin K-rich foods daily. There are also some situations that might increase the risk of a deficiency. These include taking antibiotics for more than 10 days, or having an illness that limits your nutrient absorption (such as digestive conditions).
What to remember
Making sure you’re getting enough vitamin K should be a priority. It plays an essential role in blood clotting, heart health and bone formation. It also interacts with other key vitamins and minerals in the body, such as vitamin D. So, if you don’t consume enough vitamin K via the food you’re eating, supplementing your diet is a sensible option to ensure your health and wellbeing.