Vitamin K1 Vs K: What You Should Know
Vitamin K is well known for its role in blood clotting, but supplements containing vitamin K are growing in popularity for other uses. Some people, especially older women, are taking vitamin K as a supplement to improve bone strength and reduce fractures. While there is evidence to support this use, itâs important to help patients pick the right supplement to ensure they are taking the right form of vitamin K.
Vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 are available in North America as supplements. Vitamin K1 is the most common form of vitamin K found in the diet, so the recommended daily intake for vitamin K is based mainly on vitamin K1. Most people following a Western diet can easily achieve the RDI for vitamin K by eating leafy greens like kale and spinach. A cup of raw spinach contains 145 mcg of vitamin K, which is more than 180% the daily value.
Vitamin K2 intake, on the other hand, is generally lower in the Western diet. For instance, a 3-ounce serving of chicken breast or ground beef contains vitamin K2, but only in amounts ranging from 6-13 mcg. Recently, it has been suggested that K1 and K2 be split into separate RDIs to ensure adequate intake of both. This might be important because vitamin K2 is distributed throughout the body, whereas vitamin K1 is absorbed by the liver. And vitamin K2 appears to be most promising for some of the more popular uses, including bone health.
More Leafy Greens High In Vitamin K
- 740% DV in 1 cup of cooked spinach
- 644% DV in 1 cup of cooked collards
- 581% DV in 1 cup of cooked beet greens
- 441% DV in 1 cup of cooked turnip greens
Note: Cooking only concentrates the vitamin K in these greens. The raw uncooked forms are also high in vitamin K.
- 55% DV in 1 cup of kimchi
- 15% DV in 1 cup of sauerkraut
Should You Take A Vitamin K Supplement
Vitamin K1 is found widely in foods. If you are eating enough food and especially if your diet includes a decent amount of leafy vegetables you will almost certainly get more than you need. But vitamin K2 is a bit more tricky. Some people are able to convert vitamin K1 to vitamin K2. But not everyone has the ability to. And since the main sources of vitamin K2 in the modern diet are certain fermented soy products, and animal products , many people, and especially vegans, may want to consider a supplement.
A word of caution: People who are taking anticoagulant medications need to consciously maintain a consistent and specific intake of vitamin K from food and supplements. Sudden changes in how much vitamin K theyre getting can impact the anticoagulant effect of their medication, either amplifying or reducing its activity.
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Bronson Vitamin K Triple Play
Bronson Vitamin K Triple Play is another take on the triple-sourced vitamin K combination. This isnt the highest dose version on the market, but youll still get 550 mcg of vitamin K all together.
The capsules are gelatin-based, which wont please strict vegetarians and vegans, but the bigger issue is the presence of fillers and additives that you wont find in some other competitors. Its not a dealbreaker the vitamin K content is still good enough to make up for it.
Vitamin K Guidelines For Warfarin
- A PT measures how quickly your blood clots. For people taking blood thinners, the results are expressed as a ratio called INR
- A low INR means you have increased risk of clotting
- A high INR means you have an increased risk of bleeding
- Warfarin increases INR, Vitamin K decreases it
- Most doctors aim to keep INR around 2-3, but can range to 2.5-3.5 for heart valves or other extreme cases
- Regularly check your PT/INR levels
- Take the same amount of Warfarin at the same time each day
- Keep your intake of vitamin K consistent from day to day because when a doctor prescribes Warfarin, they are trying to balance it with how much vitamin K you habitually eat
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May Improve Memory In Older Adults
Vitamin K-dependent proteins that require the intake of vitamin K to function properly dont just affect your bone modeling, though.
The VKDPs not associated with bone growth or blood clotting are involved with the metabolism of sphingolipids, a class of lipids commonly found in brain cell membranes that are involved with cellular events.
Changes in sphingolipid metabolism have been linked with not only age-related cognitive decline but also neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimers .
Recent research suggests that vitamin K antagonists, which are used as anticoagulants, may have a negative effect on visual memory, verbal fluency, and brain volume. But it doesnt appear to go in just one direction .
Higher vitamin K levels, specifically phylloquinone , are associated with improved verbal episodic memory, though no difference was observed with non-verbal episodic memory .
Who Should Take A Vitamin K Supplement
Newborn babies are at risk of being deficient in vitamin K due to the poor transport through the placenta. This risk is increased in infants exclusively breastfed as breast milk is a poor source of this vitamin. As low vitamin K levels can cause vitamin K deficiency bleeding , its recommended that newborns are given 0.5 to 1 mg of vitamin K1 at birth.
Another group likely to develop a vitamin K deficiency includes people with malabsorption disorders. Those who may have problems with vitamin K absorption are people with:
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Helps With Blood Coagulation
This may be the most well-known role of vitamin K in your body. Remember, vitamin K was named after the German word koagulation. Both vitamins K1 and K2 are involved in blood clotting, which is what keeps you from bleeding to death when you get a cut. Specifically, vitamin K is needed to manage proteins involved in the blood clotting process. If you dont get enough vitamin K, you are more likely to experience hemorrhaging, or excessive bleeding, from a wound.
How You Cook Counts
The amount of vitamin K you get from foods depends on how you prepare it. Frozen foods — that you cook — often have more than raw forms. This is probably because frozen vegetables lose some of their water, which concentrates the vitamins. For example, a half cup of boiled frozen turnip greens nets you more than 425 micrograms. But eating raw turnip greens gives much less than that.
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The Abcs Of Vitamin K1 K2 And K3
Researchers have identified three main forms of vitamin K: Vitamin K1, vitamin K2, and vitamin K3. Furthermore, there are two principal forms of vitamin K2. Each has slight differences in chemical structure, but all seem to be used by the body. Vitamin K3 is not used in supplements for people, so the important forms are vitamins K1 and K2.
Vitamin K1. Known also as phylloquinone, Vitamin K1 is naturally found in leafy green vegetables, such as dark lettuce varieties, spinach, kale, and broccoli. It promotes normal blood coagulation and bone strength.1 Its available as a supplement, but does not appear to be as potent as vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 occurs in several forms, but two appear to have the most biological activity: MK-4 and MK-7 . Both forms seem to have advantages, but in different ways.
The MK-4 form of vitamin K is naturally found in egg yolk, egg mayonnaise, chicken thighs, and dairy products. Substantial research shows that very high supplemental doses of the MK-4 form of vitamin K2 can prevent and reverse osteoporosis. The MK-7 form of vitamin K is naturally found in natto, a type of fermented soybean food. One ounce of natto provides about 250 mcg of MK-7.1 The MK-7 form of vitamin K2 is absorbed much better than vitamin K1. Its unclear at this point whether MK-7 is absorbed better than MK-4, but the MK-7 form does seem to stay in the blood longer.
Meat Eggs And Dairy From Grass
These animal products must come from grass-fed and pastured raised animals. Dont trust marketers who use words like cage-free or organic as that doesnt necessarily mean the animals got the necessary life to give you proper nutrition. Your best option, if possible, is to find local farms where you can actually see and discuss their farming practices.
Even supplementing can be tricky as the specific type of vitamin K2 found in grass-fed animal products is very expensive to replicate and synthetic MK-4 is all youll be able to find. Because the synthetic form is metabolized quickly youll have to take several doses to keep your K2 levels in range.
This is why my family always tries to get our nourishment from whole foods. The body just knows what to do with it better plus, Im guessing there are even more complex things happening in our food than our scientists know. Mother nature has been doing this whole nourishing thing for a lot longer than any lab. Some whole food options include: making your own raw butter or indulging in beautiful golden grass-fed ghee.
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Health Benefits Of Vitamin K
- Bone Health and Osteoporosis – Vitamin K is necessary for creation of the protein: S. Osteocalcin, which in turn synthesizes osteoblasts: bone forming cells. In short, vitamin K is necessary for the strength and maintenance of bones.
- Alzheimer’s Protection – Vitamin K has been shown to inhibit nerve cell death due to oxidative stress, the degree to which supplementation prevents Alzheimer’s still needs to be researched.
- Protection Against Heart Disease *Controversial – While more studies still need to be completed, evidence suggests that vitamin K plays a role in preventing the build-up of calcium in our veins. Preventing the calcification of arteries reduces heart disease risk.
Can You Get Too Much Vitamin K
Vitamin K isnt likely to cause toxicity.
Theres no known toxicity for vitamin K1 or K2 from food or supplements. Thats why theres no established tolerable upper intake level set for it.
If youre taking a blood thinning medication , try to keep your vitamin K intake consistent and avoid large quantities of vitamin K-rich foods. Why? Because sudden increases in vitamin K could interact with your medication. That could lead to increased or decreased blood clotting.
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Vitamin K Foods That Should Be Part Of Your Diet In 2022
Our health greatly depends on vitamin K as this nutrient plays an essential role in numerous physiological processes. Among other things, it contributes to blood clotting, and it is involved in bone metabolism. Considering its health benefits, its of great importance to consume a sufficient amount of vitamin K foods daily. Here you can find a list of rich sources of this vitamin that you should add to your eating plan. Its good to know that a truly healthy diet needs to include various foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
May Support Brain Health
Vitamin K2 seems to be involved in processes that help protect your brain as you age. For instance, it plays a role in the production of compounds called sphingolipids, which are highly concentrated in the brain . Changes in the metabolism of sphingolipids have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers. Recent evidence also suggests that vitamin K2 may help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, and may influence psychomotor behavior and brain function.
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Q: I Heard That The Vitamin K Shot Might Cause Cancer Is This True
A: No. In the early 1990s, a small study in England found an association between the vitamin K shot and childhood cancer. An association means that two things are happening at the same time in the same person, but doesnt tell us whether one causes the other. Figuring out whether vitamin K might cause childhood cancer was very important because every newborn is expected to get a vitamin K shot. If vitamin K was causing cancer, we would expect to see the same association in other groups of children. Scientists looked to see if they could find the same association in other children, but this association between vitamin K and childhood cancer was never found again in any other study.
Lower Risk Of Heart Disease
Your risk of a cardiovascular event is closely associated with the calcification of your blood vessels.
In fact, one meta-analysis that looked at 30 studies found a 300400 percent increase in your risk of cardiovascular events with the presence of calcification on any arterial wall .
But higher blood levels of the K1 form of vitamin K are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
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Good For Your Teeth And Bones
Inadequate intake of vitamin K has been linked to an increased risk for osteoporosis a disease in which the bones become soft and porous and bone fractures. Both vitamins K1 and K2 may also help with regulating calcium balance, which maintains skeletal strength. Seven trials have found that vitamin K2, specifically, reduced spinal fractures by 60%, hip fractures by 77%, and all non-spinal fractures by 81%. High doses of vitamin K2 have also been used to prevent further bone mineral loss and reduce the risk of fractures in patients with osteoporosis.
Eat More Leafy Greens
Mom was right: Spinach is good for you. This leafy green and others, like collard greens and kale, top the charts when it comes to vitamin K. Cooked kale is a vitamin K powerhouse, packing 561 micrograms in one-half cup. Raw, 1/2 cup has 250 mcg. Youâd rather have raw spinach in a salad or smoothie? You get about 75 micrograms for the same half-cup serving.
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Get Your Coagulation Vitamin
Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms, vitamin K1 and K2. K1 primarily has benefits for blood clotting, while K2 has additional benefits for bone, heart, and brain health, as well as potential cancer prevention. Although the recommended daily intake for vitamin K is only based on vitamin K1, K2 supplementation may be recommended to avoid deficiency, especially for plant-based eaters, since its plant-based sources are limited.
Tell us in the comments:
- What food sources of vitamin K1 and/or K2 do you currently eat? What are some sources of vitamin K2 you could add?
- Have you ever had your vitamin K or osteocalcin levels checked?
- Do you take any supplements containing vitamin K2?
Q: My Baby Is So Little What Can I Do To Make The Vitamin K Shot Less Painful And Traumatic
A: Babies, just like us, feel pain, and it is important to reduce even small amounts of discomfort. Babies feel less pain from shots if they are held and allowed to suck.You can ask to hold your baby while the vitamin K shot is given so that your baby can be comforted by you. Breastfeeding while the shot is given and immediately after can be comforting too. All of these are things parents can do to ease pain and soothe their baby.
Remember that if your baby does not get the vitamin K shot, his or her risk of developing severe bleeding is 81 times higher than if he or she got the shot. Diagnosis and treatment of VKDB often involves many painful procedures, including repeated blood draws.
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Peak Performance Advanced D+k
Peak Performance Advanced D+K uses a combination of 2000 IUs of vitamin D, plus three different forms of vitamin K, both K1 and two forms of K2. This comes alongside the black pepper extract BioPerine, which helps boost absorption, and its delivered in a clean and simple cellulose capsule. At 225 mcg per capsule, the dosage is just right for a lot of people.
Ranking The Best Vitamin K Supplements Of 2022
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that plays a role in your bloods clotting ability, helps strengthen your bones, and improves your cardiovascular health by preventing arteries from stiffening and calcifying.
While its found in green leafy vegetables, it can be hard for many people to get enough of them in their diet to keep their vitamin K levels high.
This is where a vitamin K supplement can be useful. If you want to take advantage of the bone strengthening and heart-health benefits, our research team has come up with the ten most effective vitamin K supplements on the market.
Zhou Nutrition exploits the synergy between vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 for optimal bone and heart health.
This supplement delivers 5000 IUs of vitamin D3, which should be enough even for people with darker skin who live in northern climates, as well as 90 mcg of vitamin K2.
For ensuring adequate vitamin K intake, its an excellent choice, thanks to its ultra-pure formulation: other than rice flour and cellulose to make up the capsule, there are zero additional ingredients.
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Garden Of Life Vitamin Code Raw K
Garden of Life specializes in making supplements that include vitamins and minerals alongside the other phytonutrients present in the plants they come from.
Given that the foods richest in vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, Garden of Life delivers when it comes to supplying vitamin K along with the other nutrients youd find in a natural source.
In addition to 120 mcg of vitamin K dissolved in cold-pressed flax oil, youll also get extracts from spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, and a whole host of other fruits and vegetables. If you want a vitamin K supplement that takes a more holistic approach, this should be your choice.