Vitamin K is a group of vitamins that are fat-soluble, which are needed in various body processes such as the metabolic pathways of bones, blood coagulation and other tissue processes. Vitamin K includes two natural vitamers including vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.

Vitamin K1 or otherwise called as phytomenadione, phytonadione or phylloquinone is required for the coagulation of blood. It is also known as vitamin Ki. It is found in plants particularly in green leafy vegetables and soybean oil.

The other type, vitamin K2, is very important in bone metabolism. Vitamin K2 is known as menaquinones. Vitamin K2 is synthesized by the bacteria in the intestines. The bacteria also convert some of the vitamin K1 to K2 for use in bone metabolism.

Vitamin K1 and K2 do not cause toxicity because of being naturally occurring. Although vitamin K1 is not directly responsible for bone metabolism, it is still essential in the improvement of the bone density. When it is taken in, the bacteria in the gut convert it to Vitamin K2, which is responsible for increasing the bone density.

Vitamin K2 is further classified into subtypes. The two most commonly studied subtypes are MK4 and MK7. MK4 is primarily produce through the conversion of Vitamin K1 in the pancreas, the testes and the walls of the arteries. On the other hand, MK7 is not produced in the body itself, but is converted from vitamin K1 in the gut by the bacteria E. coli. MK4 and MK7 are prepared for administration in order to promote bone health. They come in the form of dietary supplements. MK4 was found to reduce the incidence of fractures by 87% in patients with osteoporosis. This is due to the reason that the chemical increases the bone density, thereby preventing and managing osteoporosis.

In addition, vitamin K2 was also found to prevent bone loss in other conditions aside from osteoporosis such as:

Anorexia nervosa
Corticosteroid use
Liver Cirrhosis
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Postmenopausal stage
Stroke (due to disuse syndrome)
Parkinson’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease
Treatment for prostate cancer.

In order to achieve the desired effects of vitamin K, the recommended intake of vitamin K2 is up to 120 mcg/day in a 25 years old male adult. Women require up to 90mcg/day and children to adolescent require up to 15-100 mcg/day. Infants may also require vitamin K2 of up to 10-20 mcg/day.

The action of vitamin K in the improvement of the bone density is traced on its action in the carboxylation of glutamate residues. These residues are essential in the binding of calcium. Overall, vitamin K is essential in three major processes in the body including:

Blood coagulation because it is a precursor for the clotting factors
Bone metabolism by the protein precursors
Improvement in the vascular system

Once the body absorbs vitamin K, it is stored in the fats for future use. Since vitamin K is responsible for bone health, it is essential to increase vitamin K in the diet. Intake of green leafy vegetables is essential in order to maximize the effects of vitamin K in the body. In addition, the administration of vitamin K1 along with vitamin D supplements enhances the utilization of calcium in the bones.

It’s never too late to increase your vitamin K, but if you’ve already fallen victim to some of the conditions associated with the deficiency, come by and see Dr. Mohr, your Tampa chiropractor, serving the Wesley Chapel, Tampa Palms, New Tampa, and surrounding areas.