Foods Rich In Vitamin K

  • Anila ViijayanBachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine & Surgery, The Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University
  • Regina LopesSenior Nursing Assistant, Health and Social Care, The Open University

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Overview

Our human body needs vitamins and minerals which are known as micronutrients, which helps to maintain the normal functions of the body. Vitamins are organic substances which are classified into water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are dissolved in water before they can be absorbed by the body, fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and they accumulate in the body.1

Vitamin K is a fat soluble micronutrient that helps in blood clotting, maintaining healthy bones and for a healthy heart. As vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, the fat is stored in the body rather than leaving immediately as a waste. Vitamin K is found more in leafy vegetables and also the bacteria in the intestine can make vitamin K. Sometimes prolonged intake of antibiotics can destroy the bacteria and can lead to mild deficiency.2,3

Vitamin K deficiency can lead to excessive bleeding from gums and nose, poor bone development and increases cardiovascular diseases.4

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat soluble micronutrient that is rich in leafy vegetables. Vitamin K helps in blood clotting, maintaining healthy bones and heart. Vitamin K is also known as a powerhouse of the body.

Vitamin K and benefit

Blood clot

Vitamin K regulates the blood clot (prothrombin - clotting factor), which means they help from bleeding out after an injury. This keeps the blood from getting too thick which can lead to blood clots. People taking blood thinning medicines like warfarin (coumadin®) anticoagulant medicines should not be taken with vitamin K supplements or food substances that include it in large quantities without consulting with the health provider. Because the effectiveness of the medicine will be decreased.5 

Bone health

Vitamin K works with calcium and vitamin D to build healthy bones. Vitamin K helps in the process of production of proteins in bone which prevents the weakening of the bone and leads to osteoporosis.

Heart disease

Vitamin K prevents calcium deposits in the blood vessels and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and kidney diseases.

Adequate vitamin K intake

AgeAssigned male at birth (AMAB)Assigned female at birth (AFAB)Pregnant or Lactating
Birth to 6 months2.0 mcg2.0 mcg
7-12 months2.5 mcg2.5 mcg
1-3 years30 mcg30 mcg
4-8 years55 mcg55 mcg
9-13 years60 mcg60 mcg
14-18 years75 mcg75 mcg75 mcg
19+ years120 mcg90 mcg90 mcg

Types of vitamin K

  1. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): This type is mostly found in green leafy vegetables and in oils
  2. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): This type of vitamin is found in some animal foods and fermented food products. This is also produced in the gut by the gut bacteria

Food sources of vitamin K

Commonly green leafy vegetables are the rich source of vitamin K, the table contains the lists of food that contains vitamin K

FoodVitamin K (mcg)Amount per serving
Kale (frozen, cooked, boiled)5611 cup (250 ml)
Spinach (frozen, raw, cooked, boiled)499½ cup (125 ml)
Collards (frozen, cooked, boiled)408½ cup (125 ml)
Turnip greens (frozen, cooked, boiled)280½ cup (125 ml)
Beet greens368½ cup (125 ml)
Dandelion greens306½ cup (125 ml)
Mustard greens438½ cup (125 ml)
Brussel sprouts1184 sprouts
Broccoli116½ cup (125 ml)
Onions (springs or scallions, tops and bulb)55¼ cup (60 ml)
Lettuce1031 cup (250 ml)
Cabbage86½ cup (125 ml)
Asparagus466 spears
Endive1221 cup (250 ml)
Parsley260¼ cup (60 ml)
Okra16½ cup
Green beans (cooked)30½ cup
Soybean oil251 tablespoon
Bacon303 ounces
Natto (fermented soybean)8503 ounces
Beef liver721 slice
Pork chops593 ounces
Chicken513 ounces
Hard cheese251 tablespoon
Egg yolk5.81 large
Milk3.21 cup
Butter31 tablespoon
Avocado21½ fruit
Blackberries14½ cup
Prunes285 pieces
Pomegranate14½ cup
Blueberries14½ cup
Grapes11½ cup
Kiwi fruit281 medium fruit
Figs6.65 pieces
Cashew80½ cup
Hazelnuts41 ounce
Walnuts0.81 ounce

Signs and symptoms of vitamin K deficiency

Vitamin K deficiency is rare in case of adults, they may occur in people taking medication like antibiotics.3 Deficiency occurs in people with malabsorption of food and nutrients, in case of newborn because the vitamin K does not pass through the placenta and reaches the infant. Some of the common symptoms includes: 

Risk factor

People mostly at risk of vitamin K deficiency includes: 

  • People with severe gut imbalance
  • People with liver disease
  • People following severe diet
  • People taking anticoagulant medicine for long term
  • People with genetic disposition are not able to utilise vitamin K
  • Newborns not given vitamin K after birth
  • People with malabsorption disorder
  • Prolonged intake of antibiotics: This can destroy the vitamin K producing bacteria in the gut

FAQs

How to get vitamin K naturally?

Include green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, some meat and fruits which contain vitamin K naturally in diet which helps in absorption of vitamin K in the body.

What are the signs and symptoms of deficiency of vitamin K?

  • Haemorrhage
  • Bruises easily
  • Weakened bones

How can you fix vitamin K deficiency? 

Doctors will prescribe vitamin K supplements or will plan the diet including more food containing vitamin K. This helps in improving bone strength and reduces bleeding time after injury.

What foods are rich in vitamin K?

Leafy vegetables are highly rich in Vitamin K, vitamin K is also found in some meat products and in fermented food.

Summary

Vitamins are organic substances which are classified into water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are dissolved in water before they can be absorbed by the body, fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and they accumulate in the body. Vitamin K is a fat soluble micronutrient that helps in blood clotting, maintaining healthy bones and for a healthy heart.

As vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, the fat is stored in the body rather than leaving immediately as a waste. Vitamin K is found more in leafy vegetables and also the bacteria in the intestine can make vitamin K. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to excessive bleeding and also bleeding and can also cause poor bone development and increases cardiovascular diseases.

There are two types of vitamin K, they are vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), this type is mostly found in green leafy vegetables and in oils and vitamin K2 (menaquinone), this vitamin is found in some animal products and fermented food products. This is also produced in the gut by the gut bacteria.

Reference

  1. Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A. Vitamins and minerals for energy, fatigue and cognition: a narrative review of the biochemical and clinical evidence. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Jan 16 [cited 2024 June 7];12(1):228. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/1/228
  2. Imbrescia K, Moszczynski Z. Vitamin K. [Updated 2023 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551578/
  3. Eden RE, Daley SF, Coviello JM. Vitamin K Deficiency. [Updated 2023 Sep 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536983/
  4. Olvera Lopez E, Ballard BD, Jan A. Cardiovascular Disease. [Updated 2023 Aug 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535419/
  5. Yang R, Zubair M, Moosavi L. Prothrombin Time. [Updated 2024 Jan 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544269/
  6. Quigley EMM. Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y) [Internet]. 2013 Sep [cited 2024 Jun 8];9(9):560–9. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3983973/
  7. Johnson AB, Burns B. Haemorrhage. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542273/
  8. Mohan J, Bhatti K, Tawney A, et al. Coronary Artery Calcification. [Updated 2023 Nov 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519037/

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Anila Viijayan

Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine & Surgery, India

A homoeopathic physician with a wealth of knowledge accumulated through rigorous education and extensive clinical experience. Beyond confines of clinic, have expertise in conducting seminars, writing insightful articles, and actively participating in medical communities. Additionally, possesses a comprehensive understanding of medical insurance processes and managing health clinic solely.

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