Total Pageviews

Thursday, 3 June 2021

What is Vitamin K

What is vitamin K and why is it in the news?
Vitamin K recently hit headlines when a Dutch study observed a relationship between poorer health outcomes in Covid-19 patients and reduced levels of vitamin K. But what is vitamin K and what can we learn from these new observations?

Vitamin K is a group of vitamins commonly known for their role in blood clotting. The K stands for koagulation (the German word for coagulation, the process of clotting). Vitamin K activates a protein needed for normal blood clotting, which helps to heal wounds and prevent excessive bleeding.

Many new-born babies are given a vitamin K injection, to prevent a rare but serious condition of excessive bleeding. This is because babies are born with low levels of vitamin K.

There is evidence for other benefits of vitamin K, including promoting bone and heart health. However, further research is needed before these can be proven.

‘Vitamin K’ refers to a small group of vitamins, the two main forms being K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones). Both have similar functions, though more studies are needed to fully understand differences between them. It is believed K2 may be absorbed better and stored for longer in the body than K1. But the body can also convert some of the K1 you eat into K2.


K1 is mostly found in green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach and broccoli, and is identified by the NHS as the main dietary form of vitamin K. A study has found K2 in some Dutch and French cheeses, although the content varies substantially and is dependent on the type of cheese, the time of ripening, the fat content and the geographic area where the cheese is produced. Higher fat and aged cheeses were found to have greater levels of K2, with camembert, gouda and edam all containing a good amount.

Vitamin K is fat-soluble, which means it is absorbed best when consumed with foods containing healthy fats, such as olive oil, oily fish, nuts and seeds. Many sources of K2 already contain fats, but when eating leafy greens you might consider adding healthy fats to your meal. “A little olive oil on your salad is a great way to aid vitamin K absorption”, says registered dietitian, Tai Ibitoye.


Adults need approximately 1 microgram (μg) of vitamin K per day for every kilogram of body weight. Most people can meet their requirements through diet, as vitamin K is “widely available in the food we eat”, says Ibitoye. For this reason it is “rare for adults in the UK to be deficient”, she continues. Some people have a condition that puts them at increased risk of deficiency, for instance fat malabsorption.

Vitamin K can be stored by the body. The NHS advises that if you take vitamin K supplements you should be careful, as too much can be harmful – although taking 1mg or less per day is unlikely to cause harm. 

Be Aware
People taking blood thinners, such as warfarin, should not take vitamin K supplements without consulting a doctor first, and should be wary of eating too many foods containing vitamin K, as it can stop the medication working properly.

Vitamin K and Covid-19 outcomes
So, what about the Dutch study that suggested Covid-19 patients with a vitamin K deficiency could suffer more severe health outcomes than those with adequate vitamin K levels? It looked at vitamin K status and considered whether the nutrient plays a role in protecting the elastic fibres in the lungs, which the virus can damage. Ibitoye explains lung elastin degradation can lead to “individuals finding it more difficult to breathe and having symptoms such as shortness of breath”. However, as Covid-19 is known to cause blood clots due to inflammation, and vitamin K is associated with aiding blood clotting, this research has caused some debate in the scientific community.

Although the study’s results indicate there might be a link between lower levels of vitamin K and poorer outcomes in Covid-19 patients, it was observational, and “correlation does not equal causation”, says Ibitoye. The researchers are seeking funding for an intervention trial to see if vitamin K supplementation can improve Covid-19 patients’ outcome.

A healthy, balanced diet is important for supporting your body’s immune system, and poor nutrition can compromise it. Aim to eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables to ensure you get all the nutrients your immune system needs. “Each micronutrient plays a different role in the immune system – don’t make a hero of just one”, says Sarah Stanner, Science Director at The British Nutrition Foundation.
Words above from article here

Other Covid Related Posts
'Multivitamins, omega-3, probiotics, vitamin D may lessen risk of positive COVID-19 test' - see here
'Nutrition Can Strengthen the Immune System to Fight COVID-19' - see here
BMJ Editorial - Endorse low carb for COVID-19 prevention - read here
Boosting your immune system to fight the coronavirus : What you need to know - read here

All the best Jan

36 comments:

J.P. Alexander said...

Gracias por la entrada esta muy completa. Te mando un beso

William Kendall said...

Thanks for sharing.

Tom said...

...it's a vitamin that you don't hear of often.

Christine said...

Interesting.

Conniecrafter said...

I didn't know any of this about Vitamin K, very interesting

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Wonderful advice and so great to see many of the foods I eat each week.

José Antonio Sánchez Rumí said...

As always interesting and instructive your tickets, it is also for me important because I have a small garden that I am trying to create and always helps what can be harvested healthy food for us.
Best regards.

Jo said...

An interesting post.

baili said...

what an incredibly useful and informative posting dear Jan !

i am glad i did not miss as it was unfamiliar topic ,hardly heard about this one honestly

thank you for amazing sharing always my friend!
blessings!

Bob Bushell said...

Great idea, oily, spinach, broccoli, that my favourites.

My name is Erika. said...

This is interesting. I wondered why vitamins were named in order except for K, and now I now why. Thanks for sharing. Hope June has started out well for you.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,
Thanks for sharing info on the Vitamin K.
I have to eat more kale, spinach and broccoli.
Have a happy day and a great weekend!

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Muito importante esta vitamina.
Um abraço e bom Feriado.

Andarilhar
Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
Livros-Autografados

Jeanie said...

I was so relieved when I was put on a blood thinner that still allowed us to eat anything, including Vitamin K foods like spinach. I can take or leave some but I adore spinach (we're on a spinach roll right now as Rick had quite the harvest!) This was especially informative -- thanks.

Sondra said...

I love leafy greens and just finished up my homegrown crop as it's not too hot for the tender greens to handle it now...but I had not had to buy any greens since January. I planted 23 different tubs one with Romain, one with Black Simpson, and One with Spinach. Nothing better than a good salad, and I enjoy tossing some Kale in many of my favorite cooked dishes. I had Covid, I did not have any respiratory problems when I had it, but NOW I have noticed a bit of a reduction in my lung function. Have a great weekend.

DUTA said...

I stay away from this vitamin K, as in the past I had to deal with a blood disorder.
Fruit is best for me, but it has become very expensive where I live.

bill burke said...

I have to watch my vitamin K intake, I have atrial fibrillation.

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Thanks so much, Jan, for this post. It has special meaning for me as I am on blood thinners because of a blood clot in my leg that caused me to loose some toes on one foot. My counts are supposed to stay between 2 and 3. I find that if I eat 1/2 cup of broccoli three times a week that I am able to keep within that level. I do eat other greens too but have to keep track of what they do. It is not easy but, for me, it seems to work. I do use olive oil on salads and for cooking too. This was very informative and thanks again for sharing..xxoJudy

Laura. M said...

Gracias por la información. Me gust atodo lo verde :))
Buen jueves. Cuidaros.
Un abrazo

VENTANA DE FOTO said...

Un artículo muy interesante, con tan sólo tingerir esos alimentos vegetales, podemos adquirir esas vitaminas.

Besos

Sue said...

Well I didn't know that! Thanks so much for sharing xx

Fun60 said...

Interesting research that is being done due to the pandemic which might have a bearing on other viruses.

linda said...

Very interesting.🙂

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Fascinating

happyone said...

Didn't know all the facts that you shared. Thanks.

Inger said...

Thanks for more good information, your blog is really helpful.

DVArtist said...

Good report. I take K2 MK-7 as part of my osteoporosis regime.

Magic Love Crow said...

Very interesting post! I know when I had to take warfarin, a few years ago, I was warned against Vitamin K. I still watch myself, even though I don't take warfarin now. Big Hugs!

peppylady (Dora) said...

I know would like it, I'm quite the fan of fish.
Coffee is on and stay safe

Linda said...

It concerns me some that supplement makers rarely warn against taking too much.

Phil Slade said...

Very interesting. K is not well known at all is it. I think I will will have to buy more soft cheeses like the Stratford Blue we found in Aldi after asking for more British cheese on tellaldi.com

Debbie said...

very interesting for me as i am a bleeder and i am not on an anticoagulant. next time i have blood work done, i will have my vitamin k level checked!! thanks for this helpful information!!

Teresa said...

Muy interesante el reportaje. Un beso.

Carla from The River said...

This was very interesting, thank you!

roughterrain crane said...

I didn't know vitamin "K". Thanks for interesting information.