There are two types of compounds that make up vitamin K. They are Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone). Our bodies like to use vitamin K2 but can convert K1 into K2 pretty efficiently so eating foods that are good sources of either form of vitamin K is fine. The primary purpose of vitamin K is to help your blood clot. It also helps keep your bones strong and helps reduce the risk of fractures especially in the elderly. The natural bacteria in our gut produces vitamin K2 for us. Vitamin K deficiency is rare but it can happen if you take antibiotics for a prolonged amount of time. Other drugs that can interfere with vitamin K absorption includes antacids, blood thinners like Asprin, cancer and seizure medications, cholesterol medication, being malnourished, or being a heavy drinker. Medical conditions like Crohn’s disease or colitis can also make it harder to absorb vitamin K.
What’s great is that we only need a tiny amount of the vitamin daily and if you eat healthy then you’re probably getting all the vitamin K you need.
Good sources of Vitamin K1 are dark leafy greens. In fact, some dark leafy greens like Kale and Spinach are loaded with vitamin K. 1 cup of cooked Kale or Spinach can provide you with all the vitamin K you need for at least a week. Pickles are another good source of vitamin K. Eating 3 medium sized low sodium pickles can give you your daily dose of vitamin K.
Hard cheeses like swiss, emmenthal, edam, gouda and jarlsburg are high in vitamin K2. Olive oil and Canola oil are also good sources of vitamin K. Natto (Nato) is a great source of vitamin K2. A type of sea snail called Abalone is a delicacy around the world that is high in vitamin K as well. You can get it at most seafood restaurants.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and Adequate Intakes (AI) for Vitamin K
|0-6 Months||2.0 mcg||2.0 mcg|
|7 -12 Months||2.5 mcg||2.5 mcg|
|1-3 Years||30 mcg||30 mcg|
|4-8 Years||55 mcg||55 mcg|
|9-13 Years||60 mcg||60 mcg|
|14-18 years||75 mcg||75 mcg|
|19+ Years||90 mcg||90 mcg|