Vitamin-K

Vitamin-K ~ Vitamins

What you Need to Know About The Special "K" Vitamin

This may very well be “the next vitamin-D” as research continues to illuminate a growing number of benefits to your health.

This is probably the least known of the vitamins.

In fact it's probably where vitamin-D was ten years ago, with respect to its appreciation as a vital nutrient that has far more benefits than was originally recognized.

It seems that only scientists have an understanding of what it does and its importance to human health.

It doesn't have the same reputation as the other vitamin classes such as A, B-complex, C and E.

It's about time that it's standing in the vitamin community moves toward the same level as its other vitamin relatives.

It's also important to understand how the vitamin-K works in our body and how we can benefit from it.

It's a fat-soluble vitamin most well known for the important role it plays in blood clotting.

However, many don't realize that there are different kinds of vitamin-K, and they're completely different.

Vitamin-K is an umbrella term encompassing a group of chemically related fat-soluble compounds known as naphthoquinones.

This group includes K, K1, K2, and K3 vitamins.

Of the two main ones, K1 and K2, the one receiving the most attention is K1, which is found in green leafy vegetables and is very easy to get through your diet.

This lack of distinction has created a lot of confusion, and it's one of the reasons why vitamin K2 has been overlooked for so long.

K1 (phytonadione) is the natural form of vitamin-K; it's found in green vegetables and is the primary source that humans obtain through foods.

K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system. (This is the kind of K that infants need to help prevent a serious bleeding disorder.)

It's also vitamin-K1 that keeps your own blood vessels from calcifying, and helps your bones retain calcium and develop the right crystalline structure.

The other form is known as K2 or the menaquinones, which is formed by the natural bacteria in the intestines.

The health benefits go far beyond blood clotting, which is done by vitamin-K1, and K2 also works in synergy with a number of other nutrients, including calcium and vitamin-D.

Bacteria produces K2.

It's present in high quantities in your gut, but unfortunately is not absorbed from there and passes out in your stool.

The biological role of K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth.

It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.

Vitamin-K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin-D toxicity, which includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries.

The reason for this is because when you take vitamin-D, your body creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins that move calcium around in your body.

Without vitamin-K2, those proteins remain inactivated, so the benefits of those proteins remain unrealized.

So remember, if you take supplemental vitamin-D, you're creating an increased demand for K2.

Together, these two nutrients help strengthen your bones and improve your heart health.

Its other main role is to activate proteins that control cell growth.

That means K2 has a very important role to play in cancer protection.

When we're lacking K2, we're at much greater risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.

And these are three concerns that used to be relatively rare.

Over the last 100 years, as we've changed the way we produced our food and the way we eat, they've become very common.

It's present in fermented foods, particularly cheese and the Japanese food natto, which is by far the richest source of K2.

Certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda are particularly high in K2, containing about 75 mcg per ounce.

An important thing to mention when it comes to cheese is, because cheese is a bacterial derived form of K2, it actually doesn't matter if the cheese came from grass-fed milk.

Because it's not the milk that went into the cheese that makes the K2.

It's the bacteria making the cheese, which means it doesn't matter if you're importing your brie from France or getting it domestically.

Since K2 vitamins are naturally produced in the intestines, it doesn't really qualify as an official vitamin.

The third form of the K vitamin is also known as menadione.

Among the many benefits of the special K, is its ability to prevent the calcification of arteries and other soft tissue.

The calcification of organs and other soft tissue in our bodies is one of the undesirable consequences of aging.

Vitamin-K also helps prevent to elevations of IL-6 or interleukin-6, which is one indication of aging.

Vitamin-K also helps in the regulation of the body's calcium reserves and helps promote bone calcification.

Unregulated calcium deposits in the body (which the K vitamin does effectively) can have damaging consequences.

Abnormal accumulation of the mineral can cause damage to the brain.

The pineal gland and the kidneys are also susceptible to damage with an excess of calcium.

However, lack of calcium can also make bones and the whole skeletal system weak and prone to breakage.

Without enough amounts of this special K, the body may not be able to regulate calcium.

It's also known that K-vit may play a major role in the regulation of blood sugar in humans.

The pancreas, which produces insulin, has the second highest amount of the vitamin in the human body.

Aside from all these, the primary function and the probably most recognizable purpose that vitamin-K has been known for is its role in blood clotting.

It's essential in the synthesizing of a liver protein that helps control the clotting of blood.

Because of its many roles in the human body, some people even believe that the K vitamin helps promote longevity.

Vitamin-K is abundant in leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran.

But nutritionists suggest that more of the vitamin can be absorbed through fortified oil or oil-based supplements.

The reason for this is because dietary fat is needed in order to absorb vitamin-K, which is one of the fat-soluble vitamins.

But it's also advisable to get your daily dosage from both sources since vegetables are also a good source of other essential vitamins and minerals.

It should also be known that the K vitamin can easily be destroyed by freezing and radiation.

Air pollution is also known to destroy it.

It's absorption in the body can be decreased by the presence of bad fats in the body as well as with excessive amounts of refined sugar and the intake of antibiotics.

Pregnant?

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Vitamin K2

While K2 is critical for the prevention of a number of chronic diseases, it's also vital for women who are trying to conceive, who are pregnant, and for growing healthy children.

K2 plays a very important role throughout pregnancy (for the development of teeth for both primary and adult teeth, the development of proper and healthy facial form, as well as strong bones.

Then again throughout childhood to prevent cavities, and through adolescence as the skeleton is growing.

K2 is needed throughout pregnancy, and later while breastfeeding.

It may be particularly important during the third trimester, as most women's levels tend to drop at that time, indicating there's an additional drain on the system toward the end of the pregnancy.

Since K2 has no toxicity issues, it may be prudent to double or even triple your intake while pregnant.

Now, if you're wondering what to prepare for dinner this evening, might we suggest;

Orange, Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Recreate this favorite takeout recipe at home using this tasty Asian-inspired dish.

Sesame oil and soy sauce add tanginess to cancer-fighting broccoli and energy-boosting lean beef.

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 25 min

Total: 45 min

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1/4 c. chicken broth

3 Tbs. dry sherry or low sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. orange juice

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger

2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes

3/4 lb. beef sirloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1/4"-thick strips

2 tsp. vegetable oil

1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1/4"-thick diagonal slices

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 c. cooked basmati rice

Preparation;

1. In a medium bowl, combine the broth, sherry or broth, orange juice, soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch, sesame oil, and red-pepper flakes.

Add the beef, tossing to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tsp. of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the beef to the skillet; reserve the marinade.

Cook the beef, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until browned.

Remove to a plate.

3. Add the remaining 1 tsp. vegetable oil to the skillet.

Add the broccoli, scallions, and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add 2 Tbs. water.

Cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender-crisp.

Add the reserved marinade and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the mixture boils and thickens slightly.

Return the beef to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Serve over the rice.

Nutrition:

per serving

Calories 340.9 Cal.

Fat 9.7 g.

Saturated Fat 2.5 g.

Sodium 590.4 mg.

Carbohydrates 36 g.

Total Sugars 3.4 g.

Dietary Fiber 5.3 g.

Protein 27.3 g.

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