Vitamin K: Role, Functions, Food sources, Absorption and storage and Recommended intake

Vitamin K: Role, Functions, Food sources, Absorption and storage and Recommended intake

Vitamin K plays a key role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. Unlike many other vitamins, vitamin K is not typically used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds. The most important of these compounds appears to be vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.

Food Sources

Vitamin K1 is obtained from green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 is a group of compounds largely obtained from meats, cheeses, and eggs, and synthesized by bacteria. Approximately half of the vitamin K needed by us gets manufactured in the intestinal tract and the other half is obtained from animal and plant foods.

Absorption and storage

The absorption of vitamin K requires bile since vitamin K is fat-soluble. After absorption from the upper part of the small intestine the vitamin is distributed to various body tissues. Vitamin K is stored in very small amounts in the body and its concentration is not high in any particular tissue.

Functions

Have you ever observed what happens when you cut your finger?

Your finger, of course, starts bleeding. But after a while blood stops oozing out. Why? This is because a clot is formed on the wound and seals it off. Vitamin K plays an important role in clotting of blood and is therefore also termed as the "antibleeding vitamin" (one which prevents uncontrolled bleeding).

How does vitamin K help in clotting of blood?

It helps in the formation of a protein called prothrombin which, in turn, is essential for blood clotting.

Recommended Intake

Group

Adequate Intake

Children 0-6 months

2 micrograms/day

Children 7-12 months

2.5 micrograms/day

Children 1-3

30 micrograms/day

Children 4-8

55 micrograms/day

Children 9-13

60 micrograms/day

Girls 14-18

75 micrograms/day

Women 19 and up

90 micrograms/day

Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (19-50)

90 micrograms/day

Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (under 19)

75 micrograms/day

Boys 14-18

75 micrograms/day

Men 19 and up

120 micrograms/day

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