In the Kindergarten classes, children sing the rhyme, “A for apple” or “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” They learn about the importance of vitamins in their lessons about nutrition in their higher grades. But do we find any importance given to the necessity of vitamin K?
The forgotten vitamin
Discovered by Danish scientist Dr. Henrik Dam in 1929, this powerhouse of nutrients was forgotten for 80 years. The letter ‘K’ stands for ‘koagulation’ which is essential for blood clotting. In fact, Vitamin K, the fat-soluble vitamin that is mostly known for the important role it plays in blood clotting, referred to as “the forgotten vitamin” because its major benefits are often overlooked. It is quite essential to build strong bones and prevent heart disease. Besides this, it plays a crucial role in many other bodily functions.
Health benefits of vitamin K
1) The heart of “heart healthcare”
Vitamin K plays an important role in preventing arterial plaque and heart diseases. Heart attack and stroke are the most dangerous demons of modern lifestyle. They occur due to clotting of blood in the blood vessels. Vitamin K helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, which has become a common factor in coronary artery diseases and heart failure. This vitamin is a great support to the cardiovascular system.
Researchers suggest that vitamin K also helps keeping calcium out of artery linings and other body tissues, where it can be damaging.
2) Builds up strong bones and prevents osteoporosis
Vitamin K is very helpful in building up bones. It is one of the most important nutritional interventions for improving bone density. It also serves as the biological “glue” that helps cementing the calcium into the bone matrix. It is described as the key that unlocks the door to getting calcium from your bloodstream into your bones and bone marrow.
3) Fights against cancer
Studies have shown that vitamins K1 and K2 are effective in fighting against cancer. International Journal of Oncology published an article in September 2003 stating that treating lung cancer patients with vitamin K2 slowed the growth of cancer cells. This fact about vitamin K fighting against cancer has been proved also in the case of treating leukemia.
4) Reduces Alzheimer disease
Life Extension magazine published an article in March 2004 revealing the researches on the effects of vitamin K in reducing Alzheimer disease and found out that vitamin K supplementation may help to fight this disease.
5) Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin
Fat is the source of many fatal diseases in the modern lifestyle. But it is quite necessary also for the health of the body. Dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of this vitamin and soluble fat makes the function of vitamin K easier.
Food sources of vitamin K
Fermented foods, and foods made of soybeans and rich in vegetable protein, have the highest concentration of vitamin K. It is found in great quantity in dark green vegetables. Kale, spinach, mustard greens, asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, etc. contain this vitamin.
Warning about vitamin K
People who have already have experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, and those prone to blood clotting should not take vitamin K without consulting a doctor. Pregnant and nursing mothers also should avoid taking higher quantity of this vitamin and should take vitamin supplements only with proper guidance of a physician.