Vitamin K, which is also known as phytonadione, is an essential vitamin which your body needs to keep you protected from certain health conditions.
Natural foods which are rich in vitamin K include kale, spinach, parsley, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, dried basil, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, thyme, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, tomatoes, cabbage, celery, oregano, kelp and carrots.
Known for its blood clotting ability, vitamin K is also used to prevent certain serious diseases such as cancer, kidney stones, heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
Here are some of the health benefits of vitamin K:
1. It helps to facilitate blood clotting
Vitamin K plays a big role in a chemical event called carboxylation. This makes the blood from an open wound stick to the surrounding tissue to prevent more blood from flowing out. It also helps to prevent nose bleeding, hemorrhaging, easy bruising, anemia and heavy menstrual bleeding.
2. It helps to promote bone health
It helps to promote bone health by blocking the body's formation of excess bone cells which can cause the depletion of minerals from your bones.
Another factor that gives vitamin K a role in the keeping your bones healthy is its ability to chemically alter osteocalcin through carboxylation. Osteocalcin is a protein which your bone needs for good health.
3. It helps to prevent calcification
Calcification is the build-up of calcium inside the tissues. This condition can lead to cardiovascular problems. With the help of vitamin K and carboxylation, calcification can be prevented. Severe deficiency of vitamin K can actually lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, stoke and atherosclerosis.
4. It helps to reduce inflammation within the body
A sufficient supply of vitamin K in the body has shown that it is able to reduce the incidence of inflammation by lowering its secretion of glycoprotein interleukin-6.
5. It helps to improve proper brain function
It helps to promote proper brain and nervous system function by playing an essential role in the synthesis of sphingolipids, a crucial fat which your body needs to form the insulating material that wraps the nerve.
Vitamin K has not been found to have adverse effects in healthy people. However, people with clotting disorders and chronic diseases should seriously consider professional advice before taking vitamin K supplements.
Recent studies have also shown that excessive vitamin K intake can cause vitamin K toxicity. This condition can lead to the depletion of antioxidants which protects your body from free radicals that cause cellular damage.