Vitamin K, for More than Koagulation

Vitamin K is a named from the German, koagulation. It's commonly known function of blood clotting, or coagulation is vital but incomplete. Current research shows Vitamin K as a protector against osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and possibly cancer. Higher vitamin K levels in the body may help reduce bone fractures, risk for osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. In human studies the intake of vitamin K has been associated with a lower risk of coronary calcification and in animal studies vitamin K has reversed arterial calcification.

Vitamin K can be especially linked with bone and cardiovascular health. There are two natural forms of vitamin K: phylloquinone (vitamin K1) found in leafy greens, such as broccoli and kale, and menaquinone (vitamin K2) found in dairy products, meat, and cheese and synthesized from gut bacteria. Menaquinone has been shown to reduce build up of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries which can help improve cardiovascular health.

Vitamin K deficiency symptoms include problems with blood clotting as such, bruising, nose bleeds, heavy menstruation, and fractures. Down stream from this underlying deficiency is the potential for anemia, osteoporosis/fracture, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Many of these complications evolve from Vitamin K based deficiencies causing digestive disorders like Crohn's, Celiac disease, Cystic Fibrosis, and Liver Disease.

To consume the amount of vitamin K associated with a decreased risk of hip fracture in the Framingham Heart Study (about 250 mcg/day), an individual would need to eat a little more than 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli or a large salad of mixed greens every day. Though the dietary intake of vitamin K required for optimal function of all vitamin K dependent proteins is not yet known, we recommend taking whole food supplement such as Cruciferous Complete, and eating at least 1 cup of dark green leafy vegetables daily.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower are known as anti-carcinogens are excellent foods for liver detoxification. Replacing dietary saturated fats like butter and cheese with monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and canola oil will also increase dietary vitamin K intake. Of course those with sluggish blood flow or on certain medications would not be advised to supplement in this way, but rather to supplement diet with blood thinning foods and whole food nutrients.



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