Vitamin K Rich Foods

People that are on blood thinning or anticoagulant drugs after a stroke or surgery should limit intake of Vitamin K rich foods. Because Vitamin K primarily promotes blood clotting, you should ask your doctor if you should eat more foods low in Vitamin K.

If you are looking to limit your daily of intake of Vitamin K rich foods, then you need to avoid various green and leafy vegetables. Here is a brief list of foods high in Vitamin K: broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, cabbage, or cauliflower. If those foods are not on your favorite foods list, then you are all the better.

The role of Vitamin K in coagulation or clotting of the blood was one of the first known functions. Physicians typically prescribe blood thinners and anticoagulant drugs to patients after surgeries and strokes. Due to lack of physical activity these patients are normally at high risk for clotting particularly in the legs.

As mentioned, Vitamin K actually plays an integral role in the synthesis of several proteins that regulate both, coagulation and anti coagulation of our blood. Therefore, some of the anticoagulant drugs have been designed to inhibit or compete with Vitamin K.

Researchers are also looking at other side effects of drugs that inhibit vitamin K. As discussed earlier, Vitamin K has been shown to increase bone density in the elderly. Therefore elderly patients on anti-clotting drugs must also keep a watchful eye on their bone density.

Because of these dangers, people on anticoagulant drugs should see their doctors regularly. Initially, it is important that the patient is monitored so that the physician is able to determine the proper dosage. Patients also need to be monitored when the use of the drug is discontinued, because it takes time for the body to restore the normal clotting ability.

The term Vitamin K actually refers to not only one, but to a group of fat soluble vitamins that are essential for the synthesis and modification of certain proteins that are mostly required for proper blood clotting. In fact, the "K" is actually from the German word for coagulation, spelled "Koagulation". Vitamin K has also been shown to inhibit fungal growth, and some studies show that it helps maintain strong bones in the elderly.

There are two natural forms. The first being Vitamin K1 is also known as phlloquinone. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is normally produced by naturally occurring bacteria in the large intestines. In addition, there are three synthetic forms, designated K3, K4, and K5.

Because Vitamin K can be easily found in foods and is also naturally produced by bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract, cases of Vitamin K deficiency are very rare. However, it does occur. If you bruise or bleed easy, you may be deficient.

Vitamin K is such an integral part of proper clotting that many of the popular manufactures of rodent poisons have taken advantage of this knowledge. Many of the poisons are simply Vitamin K antagonists that inhibit the recycling of Vitamin K in rodents. The rodents simply die from Vitamin K deficiency and bleed to death. Some of the antagonists are so effective, that a single feeding of the poison, can not only kill the rodent, but also cause bleeding in animals, like a cat or dog, that eat the dead rodent.

Our chief source of Vitamin K is actually the synthesis by the bacteria naturally occurring in our intestinal lining. Therefore, in humans it is very difficult to become deficient, even with a low intake of dietary vitamin K. However, we can become deficient if the vitamin does not make it from our digestive tract to our blood stream. A common cause of Vitamin K deficiency is liver disease.

The liver produces bile acids that are secreted into the small intestines where they play a critical role in absorption of lipids. These lipids are important because they are the vehicles by which Vitamin K is absorbed into our blood stream. Liver diseases that decrease the production of bile greatly reduce the absorption of Vitamin K, which lead to Vitamin K deficiency. No matter how much Vitamin K is produce in the gastrointestinal lining or ingested through diet, without proper bile production and lipid absorption, the body will become deficient. So that is one more good reason to take care of your liver.

Antibiotics, that are ingested to treat bacterial infections, not only kill harmful bacteria in our bodies, but also eliminate the good bacteria in our intestines that produce our Vitamin K. To help reestablish the bacteria in you intestines after a course of antibiotics, it is often recommended that you eat yogurt with active cultures. There are also probiotic supplements that are available at pharmacies and health food stores.

We are continually learning more about Vitamin K. Foods high in Vitamin K should be avoided by people taking blood thinners. Today, it is clear that Vitamin K is vital to our health. However, stay tuned as we continue to learn more and more about how exactly Vitamin K plays a role in our daily function and our long-term health.