A fat soluble vitamin, Vitamin K is actually a set of similarly structured vitamins that that act together to perform the functions it needs to do to keep your body healthy. As well as within bones and tissues, Vitamin K is most famous for its important role in the clotting of your blood. Athletes benefit from this vitamin as it helps in repairing sports injuries. Whenever a person has a bleeding wound, it is the K vitamin that comes to the rescue by stopping the bleeding and enables most minor cuts to heal rather quickly.
The 3 Different Types of Vitamin K
There are three different types of Vitamin K that you should be aware of.
The first variant of the K vitamin is vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone. This is the form of the K vitamin that is found in types of plant foods. The second form of the K vitamin is called vitamin K2, or menaquinone. This type of the K vitamin is formed by friendly bacteria in the intestines. Thirdly, there is vitamin K3 which is also known as menadione and is actually an artificial form of the K vitamin. All three of these types of K vitamin end up in the liver where it is used to create the blood clotting substances.
Food Sources of Vitamin K
The best natural food sources of this vitamin are green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. However, because the friendly bacteria in the intestine makes one of the forms of the K vitamin it is extremely rare for a person to have a vitamin k deficiency and so vitamin K supplements are not needed by the majority of people.
Apart from the main function of helping blood to clot, the K vitamin, specifically the Vitamin K1, has an important part to play in the bone building process. This K vitamin is required to retain the calcium in the bones and redistribute it to where it is needed.
Although a K vitamin deficiency is relatively rare there are certain groups of people who may suffer from it. Vitamin K for newborn babies may also help. Many babies do not have enough of this vitamin in their systems as they have insufficient bacteria in their intestines to produce it.
The majority of newborn babies in developed countries are therefore given a vitamin K injection to tide them over until the natural process takes over. That is the only time that a K vitamin supplement will be taken by most people throughout their lives. However, an extended course of antibiotics may lead to a vitamin K due to the fact that antibiotics kill the intestinal bacteria as well as those being taken to cure. Again, a vitamin K supplement may be given if the course of antibiotics has to continue for a long period of time.