By helping the blood to clot, Vitamin K pays a key role in preventing excessive bleeding. While rare, deficiencies can lead to serious health problems, especially in infants. To ensure that you’re getting the proper amount of this essential compound, learn the basics of vitamin K.
What Is it?
Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds – the most important of which appear to be vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. In addition to helping the blood to clot, vitamin K is also essential to building strong bones and preventing heart disease.
Where Is it Found?
Vitamin K1 is generally obtained from leafy green vegetables, while Vitamin K2 usually comes from cheeses, eggs and meats.
When Should People Take a Supplement?
Vitamin K is not generally used as a supplement for adults; however, some research suggests it may hold promise as a treatment for osteoporosis and steroid-induced bone loss. That said, there is currently a lack of data supporting supplementation for this reason. Since low vitamin K levels can increase the risk of bleeding, supplementation is often used in newborn infants, which are prone to deficiencies.
While vitamin K deficiencies are uncommon in adults, you may be at risk if you:
- Suffer from active celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or any other disorder that impacts absorption in the digestive tract
- Take medications that interfere with vitamin K absorption
- Suffer from malnourishment
- Frequently drink alcohol
Do I Need Supplementation?
Vitamin K supplementation is not recommended without direct instruction from a physician. If you are concerned about your intake, try eating more vegetables like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, beans, soybeans, strawberries, eggs and meat. If you experience frequent or uncontrolled bleeding, see your doctor for an evaluation.