Vitamin K is important in various functions of the body
Vitamin-K and Its Role:
Vitamins are organic molecules that are necessary for normal metabolism in animals. Most of the vitamins functions as coenzymes of cofactors. The deficiency of these vitamins may leads to various diseases in human body. There are two types of vitamins; water soluble and fat soluble vitamins.
Water Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin-C, Vitamin-Bs, Folic Acid, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin.
Fat Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin-A, Vitamin-D, Vitamin-E, Vitamin-K.
Vitamin-K; also called as Phylloquinone, Menaquinone, Menapthone, Phytonadine, Menadione; is a fat soluble vitamin. It is absorbed most effectively when ingested with dietary fat. There are three forms of vitamin-K, namely; vitamin-K1 (phylloquinone), vitamin-K2 (menaquinone) and vitamin-K3 (menapthone or menadione). Among which vitamin-K1 and K3 are available as a part of multivitamin complexes. Vitamin-K is necessary for the formation of several blood-clotting factors in the liver, and deficiency leads to bleeding disorders. Without vitamin-K, one would bleed to death from the minor cut or injury. It can be produced in the intestines and the functions are improved with the presence of dairy products like yogurt, milk, etc. It aids in the production of prothrombin. Prothrombin is a compound required for normal clotting of blood and is necessary for proper bone formation. It has also
antioxidant property. Recent researches have shown that it has a greater role in bone formation and repair within the body system. It is essential for the synthesizing the liver protein that controls the clotting.
Deficiency of vitamin-K may lead various disorders like blood clotting problems, osteoporosis, and menstrual cramps. Newly born infants may be in a state of hemorrhagic diseases which results from vitamin-K deficiency. It can lead to death. Inadequate intake of vitamin-K increases the risk of fractures and reduces bone density since vitamin-K supplements enhance the integrity of bone. It is obtained form the foods we eat. Also, internal bacterial flora in the intestines helps to make vitamin-K. Antibiotics may interfere with this normal flora and leads to vitamin-K deficiency. Some diseased condition, like gallbladder disease, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, crohn’s disease, etc, prevents the absorption of vitamin-K. Similarly use of medications like warfarin, excessive use of mineral oil, continuous hemodialysis, serious burns, etc may lead to vitamin-K deficiency. The symptoms associated with the vitamin-K deficiency can be as followings:
Sources of Vitamin-K:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Hematuria (blood in urine)
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Nose & Gum Bleeding
- Osteopenia & Osterporosis
- Liver cancer
- Birth defects
- Growth deficiency
Vitamin-K is found in various foods like cauliflower, spinach, carrot, green beans, asparagus, egg, strawberry, peapods, etc. Similarly olive olive oil, soyabean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil are good sources. Leafy green vegetables are the excellent dietary sources of vitamin-K. These are the natural sources. Besides multivitamin is a good choice but one should confirm whether it contains vitamin-K or not. The fetus obtains vitamin-K from its mother by transplacental transfer. It is also found in cheese and liver. Moreover, coffee and green teas are other important sources. Nowadays, various vitamin-K supplements (both natural and synthetic forms) are available in the market with the proof of good results. Supplements of fat soluble chlorophyll are excellent source of vitamin-K.
Excessive Bleeding: It reduces the risk of bleeding in the liver disease, jaundice, and malabsorption. It is also been used in the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding.
Safety & Precaution:
Osteoporosis: It improves the risk of bone fractures, and hence reduces the risk of osteoporosis. It is needed for bones to use calcium. Supplements of vitamin-K have been used to treat osteoporosis.
Cystic Fibrosis: It is highly recommended in cystic fibrosis.
Kidney Stones: It prevents the formation of kidney stones.
Skin wounds: Water soluble forms of vitamin-K are used tropically to treat skin wounds.
Vitamin-K can interfere with the action of anticoagulants like warfarin or coumadin. Pregnant and breast feeding women should take caution before starting vitamin-K supplements. Extended use of antibiotics may result in vitamin-K deficiency. It is found that there are no known side effects of vitamin-K; however, Menadione, the synthetic form, is somewhat toxic in large amounts. If a person is taking anti-coagulant (prevents blood clotting) medication, it is better to consult medical practitioner before taking vitamin-K supplement.
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