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Vitamin K

The last of the fat soluble vitamins!

In this vitamin series we round out our fat soluble vitamin family with vitamin K.

What it is

Like many of the other vitamins we have covered, vitamin K comes in two forms, the animal and plant based form.

The plant based from is known as vitamin K1, and the animal based form, vitamin K2. We will cover more about where to find these vitamins in the diet in a little bit.

Vitamin K1 may also be seen or referred to as phylloquinone, and vitamin K2 may sometimes be written as menaquinones (the group of compounds that vitamin K2 belongs to). Knowing the more science-y terms can help you better identify what is the in ingredients list of packaged foods, or even in certain vitamin capsules.

Some people may confuse potassium with vitamin K. Especially since they share the same symbol on the periodic table.

However, potassium is much different than vitamin K.

Potassium is a mineral that helps with fluid and electrolyte balance, where as vitamin K acts as a vitamin to help they body through various physiological reactions.

What it does

Some of the most important things that vitamin K does is being involved in regular blood clotting, and maintaining bone health.

Blood clots often sound scary, and sometimes may be associated with potentially life altering cardiovascular events. However they are a normal function of our body. For example, when we get a cut and need to stop bleeding. Clots may form to help slow the blood loss.

The role the vitamin K has in blood clotting is to assisted in the production of various proteins and compounds that are required for blood clots to form. Without vitamin K, our ability to heal ourselves after wound, or even micro-tears in our blood vessels may be compromised.

Where can you get it

Most of the vitamin K, of any kind should come from the diet. Our gut bacteria can convert some of the K1 we get into K2, but we shouldn't rely on this for two reasons.

  1. We don't know how much we are converting

  2. We may not reach our bodies vitamin K needs through this conversion alone

The plant based form is the main dietary form of vitamin K and can be found in the following.

  1. Dark leafy greens like: spinach, kale, collars, swiss chard

  2. Cruciferous greens such as vegetables and broccoli

  3. Asparagus

The animal based form, vitamin K2, can be found in the following:

  1. Cheeses

  2. Egg yolks

  3. Grass fed butter

  4. chicken, duck, and goose liver

  5. Beef

  6. Dairy

  7. Natto (fermented soybeans) (plant based form of vitamin K2)

As you can tell, like other vitamins we have covered, it comes through a variety of sources. All the more reason to make sure you are eating whole foods to get the most out of each bite you take.

This concludes the first round of this vitamin series. If you need to get caught up, click the vitamin below and check out the rest of the fat soluble family.

Our next round of vitamins will tackle the B vitamins.

Stay tuned!

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