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What Is Vitamin K And Why Do We Need It?

What Is Vitamin K And Why Do We Need It?

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is necessary for several functions in the body. It is also necessary for other nutrients to carry out their functions, and plays an important role in the utilisation of vitamin D and calcium. Continue reading to learn more about this essential vitamin!

What Is Vitamin K?

Although vitamin K refers to a group of different compounds, it is known as a vitamin and is divided into K1 and K2. 

  • Vitamin K1, also referred to as phylloquinone, is found in plant based foods such as spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, peas and cereals. 
  • Vitamin K2, which includes a series of menaquinones, can be found in fermented foods and animal products such as meat and dairy, and can also be produced by bacteria found in our intestines 

Both forms of vitamin K are beneficial for health, however vitamin K2 is absorbed more easily than K1.

Why Do We Need Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is essential in blood clotting, and low vitamin K levels can lead to bruising and uncontrolled bleeding. It also works alongside vitamin D to absorb calcium - vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium into the blood, whereas vitamin K moves calcium from the blood to the bones. Too much vitamin D without K can lead to a buildup of calcium in the blood vessels which can lead to atherosclerosis and an increased risk of heart disease. Low levels of vitamin K can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis due to its importance in calcium transport.

How Do I Get Enough Vitamin K?

The amount of vitamin K you need will vary from person to person, but adults are generally recommended to have 1µg vitamin K per kg bodyweight every day - for instance, a 70kg person would need 70µg per day. Because vitamin K is found in so many foods, and can also be synthesised by bacteria in our intestines, deficiency is unlikely, especially when following a varied and balanced diet. For instance half a cup of cooked broccoli contains 110µg, which will cover most people’s daily needs. Because vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, it is better absorbed when consumed alongside fat. 

What Is The Difference Between Mk-4 And Mk-7?

You may have seen that vitamin K2 supplements are labelled as either Mk-4 or Mk-7 - these are subtypes of vitamin K2. Menaquinones are named Mk-4 through Mk-13 based on their molecular structure and the length of their side chains. Mk-4, Mk-7 and Mk-9 are the most well studied menaquinones. We use Mk-7 in our MOBU Vitamin K supplements, as it's better absorbed! 

The Bottom Line

Vitamin K is found in a range of foods, and is essential for blood clotting and the maintenance of healthy bones. Vitamin K is divided into K1 and K2 which are found in different foods, but by consuming a varied and balanced diet, chances are that you will be getting adequate amounts of vitamin K in your diet - but if you are taking any vitamin D supplements, it may be worthwhile to get one that also contains vitamin K due to its role in calcium transport!

Do you take a vitamin K supplement? Let us know in the comments below!
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