What are the benefits of Vitamin K? In what foods is it contained? What diseases are observed in its deficiency?
Vitamins are necessary micronutrients for our body to maintain its vitality. They are essential substances that must be in certain quantities for many cycles, from cell renewal to energy production. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble, while vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble and some of them can be stored in the body.
Vitamin K, which can be stored in the body, helps reduce the risk of heart disease in blood clotting, and is a vitamin that has important roles in bone health. This vitamin is necessary for the production of a protein called prothrombin, which prevents excessive bleeding by providing blood clotting and has various tasks in bone metabolism.
There are two types of vitamin K according to the source. These:
Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is found in green leafy vegetables, vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is produced by gut bacteria.
Vitamin K1 (phytonadion) is important for coagulation, and vitamin K2 is more important for calcium metabolism.
We can get vitamin K mostly through food.
K1 is abundant in green leafy vegetables. We get K2 from animal sources, and the bacteria in our gut synthesize it in small amounts.
Apart from these two types, there is also a synthetically obtained type of vitamin K called K3 and is no longer used because it is known to be harmful to the liver.
Since it is a vitamin that can be produced by intestinal bacteria (microbiota), it is not encountered in adults except for cases where vitamin absorption is affected by some chronic diseases such as some intestinal diseases, but it is very common in newborn babies. Due to the rarity of deficiency in adults, vitamin K intake generally appears to be less important and researched compared to other vitamins. However, since the negativities such as bleeding disorders and increased risk of developing diseases such as osteoporosis develop in its deficiency, the necessary attention should be paid to vitamin K intake by healthy individuals.
Due to its role in blood clotting, it is effective in healing wounds correctly and preventing excessive bleeding. Vitamin K supplementation can be applied in certain amounts to prevent bleeding due to excessive use of blood thinners.
Vitamin K, which has important effects in terms of maintaining bone density and regulating bone metabolism, has been proven by some studies to be effective in preventing many diseases related to bone degeneration such as osteoporosis. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of bone fracture because it increases bone mineral density. In addition, vitamin D and vitamin K, another vitamin known to play a critical role in bone metabolism, may be more effective when combined.
A different study found that healthy individuals over the age of 70 with high levels of vitamin K1 had high verbal memory performance. This shows that vitamin K also has positive effects on brain health.
Vitamin K has auxiliary effects on the prevention of mineralization and accumulation in the vessels. Therefore, when vitamin K is taken at adequate levels, it contributes to reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure. While this is important to prevent cardiovascular diseases, it is very important to prevent the development of serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, brain hemorrhage.
What diseases occur in vitamin K deficiency?
Vitamin K is a water-insoluble, fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the body. Therefore, vitamin K deficiency is not seen except in rare cases. Conditions in which vitamin K deficiency can be seen are:
Damage to the microbiota with the use of antibiotics
Diseases that inhibit digestion and absorption, such as ulcerative colitis, crohn’s
Any part of the intestines has been removed by operation
Inadequate and unbalanced nutrition.
In vitamin K deficiency; bleeding problems (such as black and bloody defecation), the formation of red spots due to bleeding under the nails, bruising on the body, bleeding in the umbilical cord area in babies and delayed healing after circumcision may occur.
In which foods is Vitamin K found?
Rich sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables. According to the order of having the most vitamin K in it; Cabbage, spinach, zucchini, beets, chard, turnips, parsley, broccoli, lettuce.
A recipe rich in vitamin K
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons mustard
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Lemon juice according to the taste of the palate
Baked Brussels Sprouts
1 kilo (kg) of brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper according to your taste buds
Preparation: After cleaning the Brussels sprouts by extracting them, cut them in half in the middle. Mix the olive oil flakes, salt and pepper and blend with the brussels sprouts. Place the brussels sprouts you have sauced on your baking paper sheet. Then bake in your heated oven for 15-20 minutes until it is colored. Meanwhile, mix the mustard, olive oil and lemon juice with the blender until smooth. You can make a presentation by drizzling your sauce over the brussels sprouts you have taken out of the oven. Bon appetit.