Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that your body requires for optimal health. This vitamin is necessary for proper cell function and tissue healing.

Learn more about this important nutrient:

1. What is vitamin K? Vitamin K is considered an essential vitamin that you can't live without. Vitamin K supports these bodily processes:

  • Blood clotting 
  • Balancing calcium levels in the body
  • Maintaining blood vessels
  • Bone health

2. How much vitamin K do you need? The amount of vitamin K you require will depend on your age and gender.

  • In general, it's recommended that adult men have 120 micrograms (mcg) of this vitamin a day.
  • Adult women should have 90 mcg of vitamin K a day.
  • Teens should have 75 mcg of vitamin K a day, while younger children may need lower amounts.

3. Vitamin K diet sources. Dark, leafy greens are the most common source of vitamin K. Kale, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables tend to have large amounts of this vitamin.

4. Are you getting enough? If you're eating a healthy diet with many vegetables and fruits, you may have enough vitamin K. However, it's not always easy to tell.  A healthy diet tends to include enough vitamin K. For example, one cup of kale has more than the recommended daily value of vitamin K that an adult needs.

  • Nevertheless, it's possible you may not be getting enough. If you have digestive problems, malabsorption, or liver problems, it may be necessary to take supplements. Conditions such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, or Crohn's disease can cause a vitamin K deficiency. In other cases, your medications can interfere with the absorption of this essential vitamin.
  • If you think you might be short on this important nutrient, talk to a medical professional about your concerns. If you need to supplement your diet, there are many types of vitamins that include vitamin K. Choose one that works for you.

5. Special precautions. If you take any type of blood thinners, it's crucial to be careful with vitamin K. Blood thinners can interact with both food and supplements that contain large amounts of vitamin K. Talk about your medications with your physician and discuss how much vitamin K is in your diet and vitamin pills. You may need to make adjustments to avoid complications.

6. Symptoms of low vitamin K levels. If you're experiencing these symptoms, seek immediate medical care:

  • First, you may have trouble after a small cut with the blood refusing to clot.
  • Bleeding and blood clotting issues are common with this type of deficiency.
  • You may experience internal digestive system bleeding, gum bleeding, nose bleeds, or other types of issues.

Talk to your doctor about vitamin K and ensure that you're getting enough for optimal health. Always consult a medical professional before making drastic dietary changes or trying new supplements or pills.

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