Do you know if you’re getting sufficient amounts of vitamin K in your diet? Experts say that there are many who do not get nearly enough vitamin K from what they eat on a daily basis. This vitamin is actually considered the “forgotten vitamin” because its benefits are often overlooked. However, like any other vitamin, it carries with it numerous benefits for your health.
Because of this, you should prioritize optimizing your vitamin K levels. Before doing so, there are several types of vitamin K. It is important for you to learn about them for you to determine your nutritional plan of attack.
Out of the Three Types of Vitamin K, What Should You Take?
There are three classifications of vitamin K: Vitamin K1, K2, and K3.
Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone) – This type of vitamin K is abundant in green vegetables. It also goes directly to your liver.
Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone) – Vitamin K2 is actually produced by the good bacteria found in your gastrointestinal tract. Although it is present in high quantities inside your gut, it is not absorbed well. Instead, it is released by your body through your stool. Apart from your liver, K2 goes directly to your vessel walls, bones, and tissues. Because this is produced by good bacteria, this vitamin K variant can be found in fermented foods.
Vitamin K3 (Menadione) – Vitamin K3 is considered the synthetic form of the vitamin. It is very important to note that there have been signs of toxicity in infants who have been given this vitamin through injection. Because of the potential side effects, experts do not recommend taking this form.
Experts advise taking only vitamin K1 and K2, as these are the natural kinds. Vitamin K2 can be converted to vitamin K1 in your body. Apart from foods, supplementation is another vitamin K source. Between the two, K1 is often less expensive.
When you have decided to take a vitamin K2 supplement, take note that this also has its own forms. MK8 and MK9 both come from dairy products, while MK4 and MK7 are referred to as the most significant types of K2.
Your body has the ability of converting K1 to MK4. Although MK4 is similar to vitamin K1, it is a synthetic form of vitamin K2. Because of this, experts say that it is a poor choice for a supplement. It has a lifespan of only one hour and remains in your liver.
On the other hand, MK7 has a longer lifespan – three days. It is a newer form of the K2 and is found in fermented foods, specifically in the Japanese delicacy natto. You may also take this through a supplement.
Vitamin K in Your Diet: An Important Reminder for Better Absorption
As mentioned before, your best sources of vitamin K1 are green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. You may also take supplements for this.
Fermented foods, such as cheese – specifically cheese curd – are an excellent source of vitamin K2. These contain the good bacteria Lactococci and proprionic acids bacteria, which both produce vitamin K2. While various cheeses have K2, curd cheese has less fat.
Consuming 15 grams or half an ounce of natto daily is also a good way to optimize your vitamin K2 levels. This will give you about 200 micrograms. The good thing about natto is that it is inexpensive and it only requires you to eat a small amount.
For supplement dosage, experts recommend taking between 45 micrograms and 185 micrograms for adults. Be careful when taking higher doses if you are taking anticoagulants. When you decide to take supplements, remember that vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient. It means that it requires dietary fat, such as omega-3 fat, for better absorption in the body.
About the Author
Mishka Thomas is a health blogger who lives in Minneapolis and contributes to several local health and fitness publications. He has been introduced to vitamin K2 at a health conference last year, and has since been writing about it and other useful nutrients like vitamin D and coenzyme Q10.
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