Foods: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, cereals, soybeans
Nutritional & health benefits: blood clotting, strong bones
Vitamin K is actually a group of vitamins that have several important roles to play in human health.
Vitamin K's main role is as a modifier of certain proteins, a process which is essential for blood clotting. However, the aging American population has highlighted another benefit that vitamin K provides.
Until quite recently, it was believed that vitamin K intake was several times higher than it actually is. Contrary to this thought, new research has established that most people, especially those in the 18 to 44 age bracket, don't get nearly enough vitamin K, and are suffering the consequences of this deficiency. One of these deficiencies is poor bone health.
Vitamin K plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone health and bone strength by providing chemicals to various proteins which repair bones in the human body. Thus, a vitamin K deficiency means weakened bones, which are more susceptible to a variety of adverse conditions.
Vitamin K deficiency has also been linked to Alzheimer's disease. The chances of developing Alzheimer's disease are higher with a vitamin K deficiency, and it is likely, researchers believe, that taking vitamin K supplements will fight the disease.
Beyond the problems of vitamin K deficiencies, there are several important benefits that extra vitamin K can provide, the most
important of which is vitamin K's effect on cancer. Maintaining a healthy intake of vitamin K has been shown to help prevent and treat cancer, which makes vitamin K a supplement well worth taking.
To get additional vitamin K, look no further than the common foods which have high concentrations of the nutrient including
leafy green vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. There are also high levels of vitamin K to be found in a few fruits such as kiwi and avocado.
More information about vitamin K around the Web:
Vitamin K: Another Reason to Eat Your Greens - Archived article with an overview on the vitamin's blood clotting benefits with reports on new research indicating
an association with bone health, additional information on daily requirements, related research.
Vitamin K, Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center - An overview, with information on its benefits to blood clotting, bone mineralization and cell growth, controversies over vitamin K administration in infancy, research indicating its use in treating osteoporosis, suggested daily requirement, natural food sources, possible drug interactions, related references.