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About Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and an essential micronutrient required by the human body in limited amounts. It is a group of compounds and mainly found in two forms – plant-based Vitamin K2 (Phylloquinone) and Vitamin K3 (Menaquinone) derived from animal-based and fermented foods. Also called the clotting vitamin, Vitamin K plays a key role in the preparation of various proteins required for coagulation of blood and prevents excessive bleeding. It also helps in strengthening bone density and regulating calcium levels.

Vitamin K is available in most organs of the body including the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and bones. It breaks down quickly and passes out of the body through urine or stool.

Benefits of Vitamin K

Vitamin K benefits the human body in several ways.

Helps Prevent Blood Loss

  • Vitamin K helps prevent blood loss caused due to wounds by clotting it

  • Vitamin K deficiency, although rare in adults, is commonly seen in newborns, and giving a single shot of Vitamin K is standard

  • It also acts against an overdose of blood thinners such as Coumadin

Maintains Good Bone Health

  • Vitamin K, in tandem with Vitamin D, supports in development and preservation of bone density, thereby strengthening the bones and saving the body from the risk of fractures, especially in older women

  • However, Vitamin K does not seem to improve bone strength in women who have not gone through the menopause stage

Prevents Calcification of Heart

  • Vitamin K helps in reducing hypertension and preventing calcification of the heart

  • Calcification of the heart occurs when calcium builds up along the walls of the heart’s arteries thereby obstructing the pumping of blood flow freely by the heart through the body

  • Vitamin K is known to aid the heart in freely pumping the blood

  • However, there is no conclusive research evidence to prove that higher dietary intake of Vitamin K is effective in preventing deaths caused due to heart diseases

Regulates Mental Health

  • In older adults, increased blood levels of Vitamin K have been associated with improvement of episodic memory

Food Rich in Vitamin K

Vitamin K rich foods are available both in plant-based and animal-based sources.

While vitamin K1 can be sourced from plant-based foods such as leafy, green vegetables, Vitamin K2 can be derived from animal-based sources such as meat, and eggs and some fermented foods such as cheese

Foods with Vitamin K1

Here is a list of five foods with Vitamin K1 in abundance:


  • Mustard Greens: About 100 grams of cooked mustard greens contains 593 mcg of Vitamin K

  • Spinach: Along with vitamin K, Spinach is rich in vitamins A, B, and E and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and folate. Half a cup of cooked spinach contains thrice as much vitamin K as a cup of raw spinach. A half-cup of cooked spinach contains about 444 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin K

  • Broccoli: When cooked with canola or olive oil, the vitamin K content in broccoli gets a boost. A half-cup of cooked broccoli contains 85 mcg of vitamin K while olive or canola oil contains 10 mcg of vitamin K

  • Pumpkin: A half cup of canned pumpkin, commonly used in overnight oats or soups contains about 20 mcg of vitamin K

  • Kiwi fruit: Rich in iron along with vitamin K, a cup of kiwi fruit serves 73 mcg of Vitamin K and works as an immunity booster

Vitamin K2 Foods

Dairy foods and poultry are decent to moderate Vitamin K2 foods. Just like meat, the vitamin quantity varies according to the animal’s diet that varies from region to region. Here’s a list of Vitamin K2 foods along with their vitamin K nutritional content:


  • Chicken: Chicken contains a moderate amount of Vitamin K2 and about 100 grams of cooked chicken provides 60 mcg of vitamin K2

  • Cheese: Vitamin K content in cheese depends on the variety of cheese. Among a variety of cheeses ranging between hard and soft, hard cheeses provide the maximum content of vitamin K2. About 100 grams of hard cheese provides about 87 mcg of vitamin K2

  • Egg Yolk: 100 grams of egg yolk provides 34 mcg of vitamin K

  • Butter: A dairy derivative, 100 grams of butter contains 21 mcg of vitamin K2

  • Cream: About 100 grams of cream provides 9 mcg of vitamin K2

How Much Vitamin K Does Your Body Need?

The daily recommended dietary intake of Vitamin K varies across age and sex. Usually, for adults, the prescribed intake is 1 mcg per day for each kilogram of their body weight. So, for an adult weighing 60 kilograms, the recommended dietary intake is 60 mcg/day. Similarly, pregnant women and lactating mothers may need an increased intake of vitamin K

Here are adequate intakes for vitamin K by individual category:


Age Group

Adequate Vitamin E Intake

Newborn Infants

0-6 months old

2 mcg/day

7-12 months old




1-3 years old

30 mcg/day

4-8 years old

55 mcg/day

9-13 years old

60 mcg/day

Adolescents and Adults

Males and Females aged between 14-18 years

75 mcg/day

Females aged above 19 years

90 mcg/day (includes pregnant women and

lactating mothers)

Males aged above 19 years

120 mcg/day


As Vitamin K is fat-soluble, the best way to consume vitamin K rich foods with some fats such as oils, butter for better absorption. Vitamin deficiencies may seem very trivial in the beginning, but if not properly addressed, these minor deficiencies could result in heart diseases or osteoporosis. To address any such unforeseen medical emergencies, insuring yourself and your family with a comprehensive health insurance policy is crucial.

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