We all need vitamins and minerals so our body can perform its functions optimally.
Perhaps one of the vitamins that less is mentioned, but not, therefore, less important is K. In this sense, many people have asked us about this nutrient, what it serves and what food it is.
We can clarify that vitamin K is fat soluble and essential for the synthesis of certain factors of coagulation. That is, when we cut ourselves we require our body to have this vitamin for the bleeding to stop.
Vitamin K has been found in many foods (mentioned below) and is also synthesized by intestinal bacteria.
The earliest evidence for vitamin K dates back to 1929, when Henrik Dam, a nutrition researcher, observed that certain poultry presented bleeding and spontaneous bleeding if they were fed a diet deficiency.
Six years later, Dam and his colleagues identified a previously unknown substance that cured the bleeding tendency of some of their laboratory animals. Dam called that substance vitamin K (by the initial letter of “Koagulation”).
The daily requirements are 5 pg for infants less than 6 months, 10 pg for infants between 6 months and 1 year, 15 pg for children between 1 and 3 years, 20 pg for children between 4 and 6 years and 30 pg For children between 7 and 10 years.
Men need 45 pg between 11 and 14 years, 65 pg between 15 and 17 years, 70 pg between 19 and 24 years, and 80 pg from 24 years.
Women require 45 pg between 11 and 14 years, 55 pg between 15 and 18 years, 60 pg between 19 and 24 years, and 65 pg after 24 years and in the case of pregnancy or lactation. These values are based on the estimation of 1 pg of vitamin K per kilogram of body weight.
This vitamin is essential for blood clotting: its presence is essential so that the liver can synthesize several factors necessary to cut the bleeding: prothrombin, factor VII, factor X, thromboplastin, etc., so that if Intestinal bacteria are destroyed by prolonged use of antibiotics and by poor diet, it is possible to develop spontaneous bleeding due to lack of vitamin K.
This vitamin (particularly the Kt form) is administered routinely to newborns, precisely to compensate for its deficit, resulting from having a gut too clean of bacteria. Fortunately for them, breast milk has enough vitamin K; On the other hand, within a few days of birth the necessary intestinal bacteria make their appearance and the synthesis of vitamin K begins quickly.
It also appears to be effective in the prevention of osteoporosis, although studies have been done on patients receiving it with diet and not as supplements. People taking warfarin, a vitamin K antagonist, may consume the vitamin as an antidote if the serum level of warfarin is too high, which increases the risk of bleeding.
Topical formulations of vitamin K are sometimes indicated to reduce spider veins on the face and legs. These creams are very expensive and their effectiveness is questionable.
Where can you find vitamin K?
Green leafy vegetables are the best food sources of vitamin K in the Kr form. Algae, beef liver, cauliflower, eggs, and strawberries are rich sources. Vitamin K is fairly thermostable, but gentle cooking keeps the contents of other nutrients that can degrade with heat.
A part of the contribution to the body is made as a vitamin synthesized by the beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Supplementary sources for vitamin k
Vitamin K is not usually included in multivitamin complexes because its deficiency is rare. Forms are available for oral, topical and injectable administration, usually under the supervision of a health professional.
The supplements are usually in the form of phytonadione, the most effective form of lower risk of toxicity.
Is it true that vitamin K is not absorbed if there is no bile in the gut?
And since it is a vitamin that dissolves in fats, the absence of bile prevents the absorption of these and, consequently, also of vitamin K. When a calculation is placed in the outlet duct of the gallbladder, Bile does not reach the intestine and, therefore, hinders the absorption of fats and vitamin.
If a surgical procedure were performed under these conditions, there would be heavy bleeding. Hence, in order to avoid them, vitamin K should be given to patients who have to be operated on for calculations that obstruct the bile ducts.