Is Vitamin K An Antioxidant – Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in blood clotting. Vitamin K activates the protein that clots the blood. There are two types of vitamin K we have in our diet, vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is found in vegetables where vitamin K2 also called menaquinone is found in dairy products and produced by the bacteria in your gut. The body needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism. People who use blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, or Coumadin, should not start consuming additional vitamin K without first asking a doctor.
Is Vitamin K An Antioxidant – Benefits of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is mostly known for clotting blood. Other vitamins, such as vitamins A, C and E receive recognition for acting as antioxidants and serving multiple purposes. Without enough vitamin K, you could bleed to death over a simple cut. Vitamin K helps reduce the risk of bleeding from various illnesses such as liver disease, long-term use of antibiotics, and malabsorption syndromes. Vitamin K helps your bones use calcium, which can help prevent certain conditions such as osteoporosis.
Vitamin K may help keep blood pressure lower by preventing mineralization, where minerals build up in the arteries. This enables the heart to pump blood freely through the body.
Mineralization naturally occurs with age, and it is a major risk factor for heart disease. Adequate intake of vitamin K has also been shown to lower the risk of stroke.
A new 2014 study on vitamin K confirms that ample vitamin K intake can indeed help you live longer.2 In a group of more than 7,000 people at high risk for cardiovascular disease, people with the highest intake of vitamin K were 36% less likely to die from any cause at all, compared with those having the lowest intake.
This protection even extended to those with initially low vitamin K intake who boosted their consumption during the course of the study—demonstrating that it’s never too late to start gaining the benefits of vitamin K supplementation. Increasing intake conferred protection against cardiovascular death as well.
Researchers have known for nearly 20 years that insufficient vitamin K intake in the diet is related to atherosclerosis in the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel. Since that time, a host of basic science and laboratory studies have indicated that higher vitamin K intake is essential for preventing atherosclerosis in major vessels of all kinds. Animal studies even show that vitamin K can “rescue” calcified arteries that occur as a result of the overuse of drugs that inhibit vitamin K, such as certain blood thinners.
Human supplementation studies demonstrate that both K1 and K2 are effective in combating the effects of diabetes. In older, non diabetic men, three years of supplementation with 500 micrograms per day of vitamin K1 produced a significant reduction in insulin resistance compared with controls. And in a study of healthy young men, just four weeks of supplementation with 30 mg of K2 three times daily improved insulin sensitivity. This may have occurred as a result of an increase in the vitamin K-dependent Gla-protein osteocalcin, which has been shown in animal studies to increase insulin secretion and sensitivity.