Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin K

Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and spinach provides the richest source of vitamin K. Asparagus, oats, whole wheat (unprocessed), and fresh green peas contain moderate amounts of vitamin K.

There are three main forms of vitamin K. Vitamin K1 is all natural and comes from plants, vitamin K2 is synthesized from gut bacteria, and vitamin K3 is the less preferred form because it is synthetically derived.

All three forms of vitamin K are best known for their coagulating function–manufacturing clotting factors like prothrombin. Vitamin K1 and K2 play a role in bone health.

Vitamin K1 is responsible for converting a bone protein from an inactive form to its active form. Osteocalcin is the main non-collagen protein found in the bone. Vitamin K1 is responsible for allowing the osteocalcin protein to join with calcium and holding the calcium within the bone.

Calcium-regulating proteins in the arteries are called matrix Gla. These proteins are the locking mechanism that keeps calcium from entering into the arterial walls, damaging the arteries, that can lead to atherosclerosis. If enough vitamin K2 is present then the calcium-regulating proteins will not allow calcium to harden the arteries.

It’s important to remember that the body needs calcium. Sometimes it needs to be directed where to go.

Vitamin K may counteract the anticoagulant actions of medications like Coumadin. Anticoagulant drugs prevent clot formation by blocking vitamin K’s activation of prothrombin. Aspirin and certain antibiotics may antagonize vitamin K action.

by John Connor, CNC

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