Vitamin K
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Vitamin K is a Fat Soluble Vitamin, that is naturally produced by bacteria (the good flora) in the intestines. Vitamin K plays an essential role in normal blood clotting and helps promote bone health.

Anderson & Young’s article has charts detailing the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin K and the upper limits of Vitamin K consumption. Without sufficient amounts of Vitamin K, hemorrhaging can occur. Deficiencies may appear in infants, or in people who take anticoagulants or antibiotic drugs.

Newborn babies lack the intestinal bacteria to produce Vitamin K and need a supplement for the first week. People on anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) may become deficient in Vitamin K, but should not change their Vitamin K intake without consulting a physician because the effectiveness of the drug may be affected. People taking antibiotics may lack Vitamin K temporarily because intestinal bacteria are sometimes killed as a result of long-term use of antibiotics. Also, people with chronic diarrhea may have problems absorbing sufficient amounts of Vitamin K through the intestine and should consult their physician to determine if supplementation is necessary.

Although a tolerable upper intake level has not been established for Vitamin K, excessive amounts can cause the breakdown of red blood cells and liver damage. Large doses are not advised.

Smart Kitchen’s information on Vitamin K was drawn from Fat Soluble Vitamins by J. Anderson and L. Young of  Colorado State (their original article “Fat Soluble Vitamins” can be found on the Colorado State College website). 

Varieties

Good food sources of Vitamin K are green vegetables such as Turnip GreensSpinachCauliflowerCabbage and Broccoli, and Alfalfa and certain vegetables oils including Soybean OilCottonseed OilCanola Oil and Olive Oil. Animal foods, in general, contain limited amounts of vitamin K.