Nutrition – Vitamin K Health Benefits

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and overall health. There are two primary forms of vitamin K: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone).

  1. Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone): Found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as in some vegetable oils. It’s essential for the production of proteins involved in blood clotting.
  2. Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone): This form is synthesized by bacteria in the gut and can also be found in fermented foods like cheese, natto (a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans), and certain meats. Vitamin K2 supports bone health by regulating calcium and contributing to bone mineralization.

Vitamin K works alongside other factors in the blood clotting process, enabling the production of specific proteins that are necessary for coagulation. These proteins help in wound healing and prevent excessive bleeding.

Additionally, vitamin K contributes to bone health by regulating calcium levels in the body. It aids in the proper deposition of calcium in bones and teeth, supporting their strength and integrity.

While deficiencies in vitamin K are rare, they can lead to impaired blood clotting, increased bleeding tendencies, and potentially compromised bone health. However, maintaining a balanced diet that includes leafy greens, vegetables, and fermented foods can ensure an adequate intake of vitamin K for overall health and well-being.


The recommended daily intake of vitamin K varies by age and gender:

For adults, the Adequate Intake (AI) levels set by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are:

  • Men: 120 micrograms (mcg) per day.
  • Women: 90 micrograms (mcg) per day.

These recommendations are for total vitamin K intake from food sources (both K1 and K2). Keep in mind that specific factors, such as individual health conditions, medications, or dietary habits, might affect your personal requirements for vitamin K.

If you’re uncertain about meeting your vitamin K needs, especially due to medical conditions or medication use that might interfere with vitamin K absorption or utilization, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. They can offer personalized recommendations based on your individual circumstances to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional requirements.


Vitamin K plays several essential roles in the body, contributing to various health benefits:

  1. Blood Clotting: Vitamin K is crucial for the synthesis of clotting factors in the blood, aiding in proper coagulation and wound healing. It helps prevent excessive bleeding and promotes clot formation.
  2. Bone Health: Vitamin K supports bone metabolism by regulating calcium, contributing to bone mineralization and strength. Adequate vitamin K intake is associated with reduced risk of fractures and improved bone density.
  3. Cardiovascular Health: Some research suggests that vitamin K may play a role in cardiovascular health by potentially reducing arterial calcification and supporting overall heart health.
  4. Cognitive Function: There’s ongoing research exploring the relationship between vitamin K and brain health, with some studies suggesting a potential role in supporting cognitive function and reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
  5. Inflammation: Vitamin K might have anti-inflammatory properties, potentially influencing inflammation markers in the body.
  6. Cell Growth and Function: Vitamin K is involved in cell growth regulation and supports normal cell function and division.
  7. Dental Health: Some studies suggest that vitamin K may contribute to dental health by supporting the mineralization of teeth and maintaining oral health.

While these potential benefits of vitamin K are promising, more research is needed to fully understand its role in various aspects of health. Nonetheless, ensuring an adequate intake of vitamin K through a balanced diet contributes to overall well-being and supports essential bodily functions.


Excellent Sources of Vitamin K:

  1. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and turnip greens are rich in vitamin K1. These greens are versatile and can be incorporated into salads, smoothies, or cooked dishes.
  2. Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable is a great source of vitamin K1. It can be steamed, roasted, or eaten raw as a nutritious snack.
  3. Brussels Sprouts: These tiny vegetables are packed with vitamin K1. Roasting or sautéing them brings out their delicious flavor.
  4. Natto: A traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans, natto is one of the richest sources of vitamin K2. It’s an acquired taste but can be enjoyed with rice or in various recipes.
  5. Fermented Foods: Certain fermented foods like sauerkraut and some cheeses contain vitamin K2. Incorporating these into your diet can contribute to your vitamin K intake.
  6. Meats and Eggs: Animal sources like liver, pork, chicken, and eggs contain small amounts of vitamin K2.
  7. Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds: These seeds are a good source of vitamin K1 and can be added to salads, yogurts, or eaten as a snack.
  8. Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro contain vitamin K1 and can be used generously in various dishes.
  9. Oils: Certain plant-based oils like soybean oil, olive oil, and canola oil contain vitamin K1.

Including a variety of these foods in your diet can help ensure you get an adequate intake of vitamin K for healthy blood clotting, bone health, and overall well-being.


While vitamin K is generally safe when consumed from dietary sources, some individuals may need to avoid or be cautious about supplementing with vitamin K:

  1. People on Blood-Thinning Medications: Vitamin K plays a crucial role in blood clotting, so individuals taking anticoagulant medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or other blood thinners need to maintain consistent vitamin K intake from their diet. Changes in vitamin K intake could affect the medication’s effectiveness.
  2. Those with Blood Clotting Disorders: Individuals with certain blood clotting disorders or those at risk of blood clotting should consult a healthcare professional before taking vitamin K supplements.
  3. Pregnant or Nursing Women: While adequate vitamin K intake is essential during pregnancy and breastfeeding for the baby’s development, excessive supplementation is not recommended without healthcare provider guidance.
  4. Individuals with Certain Medical Conditions: People with specific medical conditions, such as liver disease or gallbladder problems, should consult a healthcare provider before supplementing with vitamin K, as it may interact with these conditions or medications.

As with any supplement, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before starting vitamin K supplementation, especially if you fall into any of these categories. They can provide personalized guidance based on your health status, medications, and individual needs to ensure safe and appropriate use of supplements.




READ MORE:  Men’s Nutritional Needs