Getting enough vitamin K depends on how well you are digesting and assimilating your foods AND how much healthy microflora populate your intestines. Find out how to get your K today.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in blood clotting.
Vitamin K has many benefits, including:
- Encourages the flow of urine
- Relieves menstrual cramps
- Enhances liver function
- Increases vitality and longevity
- May have a role in protecting against osteoporosis or maintaining strong bones in the elderly1
Researchers believe that vitamin K may act on a protein thought to be the strongest inhibitor of arterial calcification (Gla-Protein or MGP). In a recent animal study, high doses of vitamin K were found to prevent or reverse arterial calcification (by approximately 40%) AND improve arterial elasticity after 6 weeks of supplementation.2
Vitamin K also has antioxidant qualities, protecting against free radical damage. In fact, one study showed that the antioxidant effect of vitamin K can protect against fetal brain injury.3
Sources of Vitamin K
There are two types of vitamin K: phylloquinone (vitamin K1), synthesized by plants and menaquinone-n or MK-n (vitamin K2), manufactured by the beneficial bacteria in your intestines.
Vitamin K1 - Kale, collards, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli and egg yolks are high in vitamin K. You can add kale or collards combined with cabbage to make your cultured vegetables. Cauliflower and broccoli are the starring vegetables in two delicious and highly recommended soups in the Body Ecology Diet book: Broccoli with Fresh Fennel Soup (page 206) and Creamy Dilled Cauliflower Soup (page 204.) Steamed to perfection and chilled, they are great in a salad of Romaine lettuce and other mixed greens and herbs.
Keep in mind that cruciferous vegetables should be cooked or fermented to avoid their thyroid suppressing effect. For more information, read: Why You Need to Cook these Vegetables for Maximum Nutrition.
Vitamin K2 - Animal meat and fermented foods and drinks are good sources of vitamin K2.
Do You Have Enough K?
Your body does not store vitamin K, so without regular dietary intake, you could become deficient.
The recommended dietary allowance is 60 - 80 mcg/day and this dietary intake is especially important for people on warfarin or other oral anticoagulants that inhibit blod clots (these are vitamin K antagonists).
Blood type O individuals lack several clotting factors in their blood, so adequate intake of vitamin K is especially important.
Another reason you may not have enough vitamin K is if your inner ecosystem is out of balance. A healthy inner ecosystem is thriving with beneficial microflora (bacteria, also called probiotics) that live in your intestines and keep your immunity strong.
When your inner ecosystem is out of balance, pathogenic bacteria can overpower the good bacteria in your intestines, setting the stage for illness and disease.
The healthy microflora in your inner ecosystem also aid in digestion of all the foods you eat, ensuring that you get the vitamins and minerals in them. Now that you know that Vitamin K is in all the food sources mentioned above, you also want to be certain that you are digesting those foods. Besides making Vitamin K directly, the microflora ensure that you digest it.
Since vitamin K is obtained from your diet (K1 and K2) and vitamin K2 is manufactured by beneficial bacteria - and your body doesn't store vitamin K - it's important that you have plenty of beneficial bacteria and are assimilating the nutrients from your food.
You may need more dietary vitamin K if you:
- Bruise easily
- Bleed excessively (nosebleeds, bleeding gums, blood in urine or extremely heavy menstrual bleeding could be indicators)
- Experience liver or gallbladder problems
- Have digestive problems, especially malabsorption
Adequate dietary intake and building a healthy inner ecosystem full of probiotics (healthy microflora) can help you get the vitamin K your body needs.
Probiotics and Vitamin K
To aid in digesting and assimilating vitamin K and to populate your intestines with the good guys that make vitamin K, probiotics are key.
The best source of probiotics are fermented foods and drinks. These superfoods build your healthy inner ecosystem, boosting your immunity. While they have tremendous benefits for your inner body, they also have benefits for your appearance. To learn more, read: Want to Look Younger and Better? 8 Reasons Why Probiotics are an Essential Tool.
Probiotic supplements don't even come close to comparing with probiotic-rich fermented foods, since fermented foods contain many more times the beneficial bacteria. Plus, the fact that the microflora travel down your digestive tract, escorted by food, helps ensure that they survive stomach acid and digestive enzymes in greater numbers.
Here are some great fermented foods and drinks to boost your vitamin K, build your immunity, correct digestion and keep you looking young:
- Young Coconut Kefir - high in minerals, Young Coconut Kefir is a great do-it-yourself fermented drink. It can help you stay slim and keep your skin looking young and beautiful. It can help cleanse your liver of toxins including heavy metals like mercury. (link Young Coconut Kefir to: )
- Coco-Biotic - A convenient and economical super-healthy probiotic liquid that also tastes great... you will definitely want to try this one if you haven't already!
- Raw Cultured Vegetables - a delicious "fast food" a blend of super potent vegetables that can be eaten with every meal for a dose of healthy probiotics.
- Milk Kefir - for more on milk kefir, read: Bagdad's Ancient Secret that Can Help You Improve Your Health.
- Liquid Spirulina - a probiotic-rich, nutrient dense food, liquid spirulina is great for athletes or anyone recovering from illness. We recommend two shot glasses per day if you want more energy and need a healthier, cleaner liver.
You can also encourage the growth of probiotics in your intestines by eating foods that are prebiotics. Learn more about prebiotics by reading: Why Prebiotics are Essential to your Heart Health & Immunte System.
The combination of prebiotics and probiotics, as in fermented foods and drinks, have a combined beneficial or synbiotic effect for your health, which is why these foods and drinks are emphasized on the Body Ecology program.
There are so many reasons to enjoy fermented foods and drinks. Making them a part of your everyday diet can get your beneficial microflora working for you to create plenty of vitamin K.
1 Vitamin K. MedlinePlus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002407.htm
2 Daniels, Steven. Vitamin K may reverse artery hardening, suggests study. NutraIngredientsUSA.com. December, 2006.
3 Novel Role of Vitamin K in Preventing Oxidative Injury to Developing Oligodendrocytes and Neurons, The Journal of Neuroscience. July 2003. http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/23/13/5816
Vitamin K. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.