Vitamin K doesnt seem to be as widely spoken about as vitamin a,b,c,d etc.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin which ultimately means that it doesn’t dissolve in water and should be eaten with dietary fats to be absorbed. It is important in blood clotting, building protein and bone metabolism. However interestingly, your body can only store very minuscule amounts of vitamin K in at a time, which means that it is often reused multiple times.
Another element to point out is that there are two types of vitamin K, respectively K1 and K2. K1 (known as phylloquinone) is mostly found in leafy greens including (but not limited to) spinach, cauliflower and kale. However studies have shown that you only actually absorb 10% of the vitamin K1 you ingest. The second, K2 (known as menaquinone) is found in a lot of soy or animal products, examples including natto, beef liver, butter and egg yolks.
So, why are both Vitamin K1 and K2 so important?
- Great for your teeth and bonesAn (often extreme) lack of vitamin K has been linked in studies showing a higher risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This is because K1 and K2 are important in managing calcium which of course is all so important to bone structure and the skeletal system. Vitamin K is central to bone health as it is crucial for synthesising osteocalcin, protein used for maintaining bone strength.
2. It helps with blood coagulation
What is this you may ask? This means it helps with blood clotting. Vitamin K is used to help manage the protein needed to ensure when you get a cut, your blood clots and you do not bleed to death. Without enough of the essential vitamin K, you could experience haemorrhaging or excessive bleeding.
K2 Specific Health Benefits
- May link to a reduced risk of heart disease
Although more studies need to be done to confirm, there is studies to suggest that K2 prevents calcification which eventuates as a result of calcium build up in arteries.
2. May have anti-carcinogenic properties
A 2008 study found that men with a high intake of K2 had 63% lower risk of advanced prostate cancer.
The current daily intake suggestion for vitamin K focuses on primarily K1 with men needed 120 mcg (micrograms) a day and women 90 mcg a day. Whilst not clarified, scientists seem to suggest 10-40 mcg of K2 a day.
Matcha – rich in K1
Examples of vitamin K1 rich foods
- Brussel sprouts
Examples of vitamin K2 rich foods
- Natto (highest plant-based source by far)
- Fermented pickles
- Animal products – butter, egg yolks, etc. More so if the animal is grass fed
Matcha – rich in K1
It is also helpful to know that one to two teaspoons of matcha green tea contains the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. Which of course is very important for me as I love matcha and have it daily! The vitamin K in matcha helps to metabolise calcium and mineralise bones making it a very efficient way to keep your bones strong and healthy!
Natto – rich in K2
Natto is a Japanese dish that is usually served a breakfast. It is fermented soy beans, however the taste does vary based on time fermented. It is usually topped with soy sauce, chives and other seasonings and is known for a pungent smell and recognised by a lot of Western society as an acquire taste. It is however, extremely rich in K2 and many other beneficial health properties such as probiotics.
Whilst there is definitely more space for further research into both Vitamin K1 and K2 to find out the exact effects on your health. It is still clear that actively consuming vitamin K is extremely beneficial for your health and both Japanese superfoods natto and matcha can help you do so.
Helping maintain strong bone and bone health is just one of the amazing benefits of matcha. It can be hard to find matcha that you like that is also healthy with all these amazing health benefits, my matcha is ceremonial grade quality, organic and a product of Japan. It is available online here!
Note: if you are taking anti-blood coagulation medication, please consult with your doctor first on vitamin K intake.
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