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Vitamin K: Uses, Deficiency, Dosage And Food Sources

Vitamin K: Uses, Deficiency, Dosage And Food Sources

Vitamin K plays a vital role in helping your blood clot and preventing too much bleeding. It’s not commonly used as a supplement, unlike some other vitamins.

There are different types of vitamin K, with K1 and K2 being the most important. You get K1 from leafy greens and certain veggies, while K2 comes from meats, cheeses, eggs, and bacteria.

In the U.S., K1 is the main vitamin K supplement. Some folks have considered using vitamin K2 for osteoporosis and bone loss from steroids, but the research is mixed. Right now, we don’t have enough info to recommend using K2 for osteoporosis.

Why Do People Take Vitamin K?

Low levels of vitamin K (vitamin K deficiency) can up the risk of bleeding that’s hard to control. While vitamin K shortages are rare in adults, they’re pretty common in newborns. That’s why it’s standard to give newborns one vitamin K shot. Vitamin K is also used to counteract an overdose of the blood thinner — Coumadin.

Even though vitamin K shortages aren’t common, you might be at a higher risk if you:

  1. Have a disease that messes with how your digestive tract absorbs things, like Crohn’s disease or active celiac disease.
  2. Take drugs that mess with how your body absorbs vitamin K.
  3. Are really malnourished.
  4. Drink a lot of alcohol.

Can You Get Vitamin K From Food?

Good natural sources of vitamin K include:

  1. Veggies like spinach, asparagus, and broccoli.
  2. Legumes like soybeans.

You can also meet your daily needs with foods that have a bit of vitamin K:

  1. Eggs.
  2. Strawberries.
  3. Meat, especially liver.

How Much Vitamin K Should You Take?

The recommended intake of vitamin K is as follows:

  • Children 0-6 months: 2 micrograms per day
  • Children 7-12 months: 2.5 micrograms per day
  • Children 1-3: 30 micrograms per day
  • Children 4-8: 55 micrograms per day
  • Children 9-13: 60 micrograms per day
  • Girls 14-18: 75 micrograms per day
  • Women 19 and up: 90 micrograms per day
  • Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (19-50): 90 micrograms per day
  • Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (under 19): 75 micrograms per day
  • Boys 14-18: 75 micrograms per day
  • Men 19 and up: 120 micrograms per day

What Are The Risks Of Taking Vitamin K?

Side-effects from taking vitamin K as recommended are rare.

  • Interactions: Many drugs can mess with how vitamin K works. These include antacids, blood thinners, antibiotics, aspirin, and drugs for cancer, seizures, high cholesterol, and other conditions.
  • Risks: Don’t use vitamin K supplements unless your healthcare provider says so. If you’re on Coumadin for heart issues, clotting problems, or something else, you might need to be careful about how much vitamin K you get from your diet. Avoid vitamin K supplements unless your healthcare provider gives the green light.

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