Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in fat tissue and the liver; and serves several important functions in the body. It is essential for maintaining healthy blood clotting and preventing thinning blood complications caused by some medications. Vitamin K is also responsible for regulating blood calcium levels, which helps with bone metabolism, reducing bone density loss and preventing fractures.
Vitamin K can also prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure and the risk of stroke through preventing the calcification of arteries. Vitamin K may also help with cognitive health and improved memory.
Characteristics of a Vitamin K Deficiency
A deficiency in vitamin K can result in arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease, varicose veins, osteoporosis, tooth decay and an increased risk of infectious diseases.
Deficiencies are uncommon but can occur in people who maintain poor eating habits. Serious health conditions or surgeries effecting the digestive system can also affect the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body. Liver disease and blood thinners like warfarin can also lead to a deficiency.
Vitamin K1 Food Sources
Vitamin K1 is found mostly in dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and fresh herbs; as well cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts.
Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources for Vitamin K1
This chart lists the best food sources for vitamin K1, along with that food source’s single serving size and the amount of vitamin K1 in that single serving.
The amount of nutrients per serving in the following food sources is not absolute for several reasons. Fresh foods will have a higher vitamin and mineral content when grown in healthier soil, as well vitamin content will deplete a little bit every day from the moment it is harvested. Therefore these figures should only be used as a generalization.
Vitamin K Daily Intake Recommendations for Child and Adult
These figures are referenced from the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) 2005 system; used in Canada and the United States. The DRI system provides the minimum daily intake requirements of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for child and adult; males and females.
To find out what your daily intake requirements are for all of the essential nutrients, see the article Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods.
Try our Baked Kale Chips recipe! Kale is an excellent whole food source for the essential nutrient vitamin K.
Try our Cauliflower and Broccoli in Cream Sauce recipe! Broccoli is an excellent whole food source for the essential nutrient vitamin K.
Try our Spinach Frittata recipe! Spinach is an excellent whole food source for the essential nutrient vitamin K.
Written By: J. Marshall
- Canadian Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.ca
- The World’s Healthiest Foods: www.whfoods.com
- University of Maryland Medical Center: umm.edu
- Global Healing Center: www.globalhealingcenter.com
- Health Canada: Dietary Reference Intake Tables: http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/index-eng.php