Know Your A, B, C's: Vitamin K

Know Your A, B, C's: Vitamin K

For a long time I was confused about Vitamin K — particularly its relationship to Special K the cereal. Plus, I wasn't really sure what the vitamin did for the human body. Basically I thought vitamins stopped at the letter E, so this one sounded fake. Then I had a baby and two seconds after she came out, she got a shot of vitamin K in her tiny little heel. OUCH!!!!

So I did some research; I wanted to know why the nice nurse was poking my baby with a needle so early in her little newborn life. I found out that Vitamin K is all about the blood, you need the vitamin to make clots. It is called Vitamin K since coagulation starts with a K in German (and maybe just because the name "Vitamin C" was already taken). It is given (how is that for a euphemism for injection?) to newborns to prevent bleeding problems related to birth trauma. Some folks also take it before surgery for the same reasons.

Another thing to note, Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, so your body can store it in your fat. This is one reason why vitamin K deficiency is rare. Deficiency mainly occurs when the body can't properly absorb the vitamins from the intestinal tract, or from long term antibiotics use. The antibiotics kill the good bacteria (flora) that produce Vitamin K.

Vitamin K is abundant in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and lettuce, as well as kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. It is also found in wheat bran (eat those whole grains), cereals (so maybe there is some Special K connection), cow's milk and other dairy products. The RDA for vitamin K for an adult woman is between 60 and 65 micrograms a day. Two tablespoons of parsley contains 153% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K.

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