Vitamin K

It is the blood-clotting vitamin.
Bacteria in the body's intestines manufacture about 80 % of the vitamin K we need. The rest has to come from our diet.

Vitamin K helps the body synthesize at least four of the proteins implicated in clot formation.
It also cooperates with vitamins A and D in helping to build bones and kidneys protein.

We need a really small amount of it every day but we do not know precisely how much.
We recommend:
For an adult: 45 micrograms daily
For a baby: 10 micrograms daily

Who is at risk of deficiency?
Since it is widely available in foods and since our intestine bacteria produce this vitamin, deficiencies in this vitamin are almost unknown.
Usually they are caused by an inability to absorb the vitamin rather than inadequate intake. It concerns:

Deficiency symptoms
If you do not get enough of this vitamin your blood does not coagulate normally. Your bleeding would be prolonged and could lead to hemorrhages.

Good vegetarian sources
Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, watercress, leeks...
Other rich foods are: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, apple, eggplant, cereals, soybeans and vegetable oils. Ovo-vegetarians can also found this vitamin in eggs.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body.
People who take vitamin K supplements (heart disease) should cut down foods high in vitamin K and avoid multivitamin pills which contain vitamin K.

Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, Dietitian.
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2000
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