Tags: osteoporosis | bleeding | heart disease | vitamin K

Vitamin K Stops Bleeding

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 04:32 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In 1929, Dr. Henrik Dam was studying chickens that were being fed a cholesterol-depleted diet. The chickens suffered hemorrhages and bleeding.

But when vitamin K was added to the chickens’ food, the bleeding stopped. It was termed “the coagulation vitamin.”

There are a number of forms of vitamin K in nature: vitamin K1 is found in plants; vitamin K2 is found in animals, and there are many subtypesof K2.

Vitamin K1 can be converted to K2 in different tissues of the body. In addition, normal intestinal flora can synthesize vitamin K2.

However, if the intestinal flora has been imbalanced, this process can be disrupted and result in vitamin K deficiency.

The RDA for vitamin K is 120 mcg per day for men and 90 mcg per day for women.

Vitamin K1, the main dietary form, is found in green, leafy vegetables and plant oils such as soy, canola, and olive oil.

However, hydrogenation (a process that converts unsaturated fats to saturated fats) of vegetable oils decreases the amount of vitamin K. Therefore, it is important to use cold-pressed oils that have not been hydrogenated.

Because vitamin K is found in a variety of foods, because the body conserves and recycles it, and because it can be synthesized by normal gut flora, the medical establishment has long thought that vitamin K deficiency is rare.

But consumption of refined (hydrogenated) vegetable oils and the overuse of antibiotics in the food supply — which disrupts normal gut flora — has severely limited our intake and damaged our ability to manufacture vitamin K. That leads, inevitably, to deficiency.

Vitamin K deficiency is associated with osteoporosis and bone fractures, because the protein that makes bones strong — osteocalcin — is dependent on the vitamin.

In all cases, patients with osteoporosis should receive a full workup for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. And it should include a full evaluation of vitamin K status.

I have found vitamin K therapy to be incredibly helpful for treating osteoporosis and osteopenia. Because it is necessary to keep calcium in the bones instead of moving out in the coronary arteries, vitamin K also helps prevent heart disease.

Another reason vitamin K deficiency is so common is the use of the blood thinner Coumadin, which is a vitamin K antagonist.

Yet patients that are treated with Coumadin are often told to avoid all sources of vitamin K in their diets. That course will only lead to a severe vitamin K deficiency, which will eventually cause serious health issues such as bleeding, especially in the liver.

Vitamin K is required for a host of cell functions and for proper nervous system functioning.

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Vitamin K1, the main dietary form, is found in green, leafy vegetables and plant oils such as soy, canola, and olive oil.
osteoporosis, bleeding, heart disease, vitamin K
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 04:32 PM
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