Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Vitamin K

VITAMIN K - ANOTHER REASON TO EAT YOUR GREENS
Vitamin what? - I hear you say. Yes there really is one called vitamin K and the closest most people come to knowing anything about it is that it's usually given to new-born babies to make sure that their blood can clot properly. They need it because mothers milk is a very poor source and when they're born there are none of the good bacteria in their intestine which usually manufactures vitamin K. You need it because there's growing evidence that if you get enough there is much less risk of suffering a fractured hip when you get to your 60s and 70s.

Throughout the world there are just a few scientists studying this vitamin, in spite of its vital function in blood clotting. But it has other important uses too, one of the most important being bone formation and the prevention of osteoporosis. Everyone, men, women and children, should be getting enough vitamin K because as our population gets older the risk of osteoporosis increases so vitamin K is just as vital for newborn babies as it is for the 80 and 90 year olds. Teenagers need it because that's when they're most actively building strong bones and it's essential in the middle years to counteract the loss of bone strength.

There's no official RDA for this nutrient in the UK but the American health authorities have set an RDA of 65 micrograms for women and 80 micrograms for men. 100 micrograms a day is probably the optimum amount. Although this is a fat soluble vitamin by far the best sources are green vegetables, beans, peas and potatoes, whilst meat, with the exception of liver contains virtually none. Fish liver oil and safflower and soya bean oils are reasonable sources and providing you have a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria in your gut, your body will make plenty of its own.

Very little of the vitamin is lost during cooking and once the good bugs have done their job it's absorbed through the colon wall into the bloodstream and the liver converts it into the specific protein that helps clotting and prevents haemorrhages. Vitamin K also performs a vital function in creating the bone-building protein called osteocalcin. Research in the Vitamin K Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in America has shown that eating a diet containing lots of broccoli every day substantially increases the levels and absorption of vitamin K in just ten days.

In the UK our consumption of green vegetables is disgracefully low but there are no statistics about the amount of K the average person consumes. The Tufts Laboratory analysed a 14 day food intake of 2000 households and found that only half of women and less than half of men got enough from their food.

Anyone with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, women with excessively heavy periods, gallstones, using prolonged courses of antibiotics or some cholesterol lowering drugs, or taking high doses of aspirin may have problems absorbing this vitamin. But I do not advise taking vitamin K supplements except on the specific advice of your own doctor or specialist. It's easy to get it from your food.

BEST SOURCES

Broccoli
4000 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 4000% per average serving
Vitamin K Score 10/10

Brussel Sprouts
4000 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 4000% per average serving
Vitamin K Score 10/10

Dark green leafy cabbage
4000 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 400% per average serving
Vitamin K Score 10/10

Spinach
4000 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 4000% per average serving
Vitamin K Score 10/10

Liver
400 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 600% per average 150 g serving
Vitamin K score: 10/10

Green peas
400 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 600% per average 150 g serving
Vitamin K score: 10/10

Carrots
400 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 600% per average 150 g serving
Vitamin K score: 10/10

Potatoes
400 micrograms / 100 gms
Percentage of RDA: 600% per average 150 g serving
Vitamin K score: 10/10

 

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