Vitamin K

Vitamin K was first identified as a vital blood coagulating factor and named for the German word ‘Koagulationsvitamin’. Vitamin K is actually a group of fat soluble vitamins.

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Vitamin K was first identified as a vital blood coagulating factor and named for the German word ‘Koagulationsvitamin’. Vitamin K is actually a group of fat soluble vitamins. In its natural state vitamin K is found as either K1 produced by plants, or a range of K2 forms produced by bacteria in the small intestine. These naturally produced forms are non-toxic, while K3 (menadione), one of several synthetic forms, can be toxic.

Antibiotic use can severely reduce vitamin K production in the gut. Low dietary vitamin K and reduced intestinal production due to aging processes can also decrease the body’s vitamin K levels.

Vitamin K Benefits

Vitamin K helps the blood to clot. A deficiency leads to haemorrhaging and blood loss. It is current practice in New Zealand for all newborns to be given an intramuscular injection of vitamin K as a prophylactic prevention of VKDB (vitamin K deficiency bleeding).

Vitamin K also has a specific role in calcium absorption, and prevention of calcium plaquing in blood vessels. It is essential for proper matrix GLA activity, which is the mechanism that stops calcium attaching to soft tissue and blood vessel walls, and instead helps it reach the cells.

Vitamin K Side Effects and Contraindications

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medications, or planning any medical procedure, consult your health professional before use. Use with caution if taking warfarin or other blood thinning medication.
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