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Monday, April 12, 2010

Importance of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for the blood to clot to repair injuries. Whenever a person has a bleeding wound, it is vitamin K that is present in the blood that stops the bleeding and enables most minor cuts to heal quickly.

There are three different forms of vitamin K. The first variant of vitamin K is vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone. This is the form of vitamin K that is found in types of plant foods.

Vitamin K found in plant foods. The second form of vitamin K is vitamin K2, or menaquinone. This type of vitamin K is formed by friendly bacteria in the intestines.

Thirdly, there is vitamin K3 which is also known as menadione and is actually an artificial form of vitamin K. All three of these types of vitamin K end up in the liver where it is used to create the blood clotting substances.

The best natural sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. However, because the friendly bacteria in the intestine makes one of the forms of vitamin K it is extremely rare for a person to have a deficiency of vitamin K and so vitamin K supplements are not needed by the majority of people.

Apart from the main function of helping blood to clot, vitamin K, specifically vitamin K1, has an important part to play in the bone building process. This vitamin K is required to retain the calcium in the bones and redistribute it to where it is needed.

Although a vitamin K deficiency is relatively rare there are certain groups of people who may suffer from it. Newborn babies may not have enough of vitamin K as they have insufficient bacteria in their intestines to produce it. The majority of newborn babies in developed countries are therefore given a vitamin K injection to tide them over until the natural process takes over.

That is the only time that a vitamin K supplement will be taken by most people throughout their lives. However, an extended course of antibiotics may lead to a vitamin K deficiency due to the fact that the antibiotics kill the intestinal bacteria as well as the ones that they are being taken to cure.

Again, a vitamin K supplement may be given if the course of antibiotics has to continue for a long period of time.


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