You may already know that vitamin K is important for blood clotting. But the vitamin can do much more. Bones, teeth and even the heart benefit from the vitamin, which can be absorbed through various foods. There are even signs that vitamin K can be used to prevent dementia.
In this article, we will give you an overview of vitamin K and its function in the human body.
What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K, like sun vitamin D, for example, is one of the fat-dissolving vitamins.
Vitamins K and vitamin D are connected not only by the fact that they belong to the group of fat-dissolving vitamins, but also by the fact that they need and complement each other.
The two natural variants of vitamin K are phylloquinone (K1) and menaquinone (K2).
What is the function of vitamin K in the body?
Vitamin K affects the coagulability of the blood and has a prophylactic effect against cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis. It is interesting to note that vitamin K supports the incorporation of calcium into teeth and bones while protecting blood vessels from calcium deposits. Experts believe that vitamin K can prevent calcification not only in the arteries, but also in the veins.
Numerous studies have dealt with calcium storage. Calcium circulates in the blood and is incorporated into the smallest vascular injuries. The result is arteriosclerotic plaques. A special protein can prevent this process. In order for this protein to be activated, vitamin K is necessary.
How do vitamin K and vitamin D support each other?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is responsible for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin K is a water-soluble vitamin that helps activate osteocalcin, the protein that binds to calcium and makes it available in the bone matrix.
Thus, vitamin K has a positive influence on the teeth and bones. The osteocalcin, a protein produced with the help of vitamin D, is activated by vitamin K so that it can bind calcium in the bone.
Difference between vitamin K1 and K2
Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that help with blood clotting and bone health. Vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 are found in nature and differ in the following ways:
Vitamin K1 is found in green vegetables. It helps the body to use calcium properly. It also helps regulate blood clotting and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin K2 is found in animal products. It contributes to the maintenance of healthy bones, teeth and skin.
Vitamins K3, K4 and others can be produced synthetically, but do not play a role in nutrition.
Who has an increased need for vitamin K?
Foods that are particularly rich in vitamins should be on the menu for smokers, diabetics and overweight people.
Smokers, people with diabetes or overweight people have an increased need for vitamin K and are therefore particularly at risk of developing heart disease or severe hardening of the arteries, among other things.
One study also looked at elderly people with low vitamin K levels. The scientists found that increased intake of vitamin K can improve brain performance.
What role does vitamin K play in infants?
The role of vitamin K in infants is not yet clearly understood, but it is possible that it plays a positive role in preventing blood clotting disorders in newborns. Vitamin K is contained in breast milk, but it can still easily become deficient due to growth. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to bleeding disorders that are typically fatal without immediate medical attention. That is why it is customary in Western countries to subject newborns to vitamin K prophylaxis.