forms; K1 (plant sources), K2 (synthesized by intestinal bacteria), and K3
(provitamin form).


Function of Vitamin K:
Vitamin K is essential for the functioning of several proteins that are involved in blood
clotting.  It is responsible for making clotting factors in the liver.  Research also shows
that Vitamin K plays an important role in bone health.  


Deficiency of Vitamin K:
Circumstances that may lead to vitamin K deficiency include taking antibiotics,
gallbladder or biliary disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease,
consuming excessive amounts of mineral oil, liver disease, using blood-thinning
medications, ongoing or significant diarrhea, long term use of nutrition provided
intravenously, ongoing hemodialysis, and serious burns.

Vitamin K deficiency results in impaired blood clotting.  Symptoms of vitamin K
deficiency include excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) which starts from the gums or
nose, echymoses (bleeding below the skin) and excessive bruising.  Individuals with
vitamin K deficiency may also experience symptoms of blood in the urine, blood in
the stool, tarry black stools, or extremely heavy menstrual bleeding.        

Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.  Therefore, it is
important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.


Toxicity (Vitamin K Overdose):
There is no known toxicity associated with taking vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.  Taking
high doses of Vitamin K3 (provitamin form) is toxic.  It  can interfere with the function
of glutathione, one of the body's natural antioxidants, resulting in oxidative damage
to cell membranes.  


Caution: Eating natural foods that are high in vitamin K is the safest and healthiest
way to get an adequate supply of the nutrient.  Due to risk of toxicity, individuals
should always consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before starting
doses of supplements.  Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that
you first consult with their pediatrician.  Also, some supplements may interfere with
medications.  If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with
your physician before taking any supplements.  All supplements should be kept in
childproof bottles and out of children's reach.


Vitamin K Food Chart (List of Foods High in Vitamin K):

Kale, raw, chopped, 1 cup - (547 mg)
Swiss chard, raw, 1 cup - (299 mg)
Parsley, raw, 1/4 - (246 mg)
Broccoli, chopped, cooked, 1 cup - (220 mg)
Spinach, raw 1 cup - (145 mg)
Watercress, chopped, raw, 1 cup - (85 mg)
Leaf lettuce, green, shredded, raw, 1 cup - (62.5 mg)
Soybean oil 1 Tablespoon - (25.0 mg)
Canola oil 1 Tablespoon - (16.6 mg)
Olive oil 1 Tablespoon - (8.1 mg)
Mayonnaise 1 Tablespoon - (3.7 mg)



Sources:

American Dietetic Association: Complete Food And Nutrition Guide (2nd Edition)
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and More
Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH

University of Maryland Medical Center - umm.edu

Linus Pauling Institute - oregonstate.edu

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Eating foods that are high in
vitamin K can help prevent
conditions such as osteoporosis
and coronary heart disease.  
Foods high in vitamin K include:
green leafy vegetables (swiss
chard, kale, spinach, and
lettuce), parsley, broccoli, olive
oil, and canola oil.     


What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin
and is best known for its role in
helping blood clot properly after
an injury.  It exists in three
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