Vitamin K2 - effects, deficiency symptoms, source of occurrence

Vitamin K2 - effects, deficiency symptoms, source of occurrence

Vitamin K2 is a substance that does not occur on its own, but is a term for a group of specific compounds. It is involved in the blood clotting process. However, this is not the only function for which it is responsible. It helps maintain healthy bones, prevents atherosclerosis and counteracts various types of cardiovascular disease, and even reduces the risk of cancer. An adequate amount of it can also prevent osteoporosis, thanks to the fact that osteocalcin, a protein that is synthesised in the cells responsible for bone formation, depends on it. Of course, the functions or advantages of having the right vitamin K2 status in one's body are numerous. In addition to the aforementioned, these include reducing the risk of fractures, or increasing the survival rate of people with cancers such as liver cancer in a significant way. We certainly need vitamin K2, so we can easily conclude that it is worthwhile to ensure that our bodies have adequate levels of this substance, as it is associated with a whole host of undeniable benefits.

Vitamin K2 deficiency

Vitamin K2 deficiency, like virtually any vitamin, is extremely dangerous and can lead to a whole host of complications. If we do not want to be concerned about this, a very important part of prevention is to prepare and follow a varied and healthy diet, rich in this vitamin. For this reason, we should be constantly on the lookout and carry out periodic checkups. As far as the typical symptoms of deficiency of this substance in the human body are concerned, these are:

  • bleeding (for example from the gums),
  • frequent problems with wound healing,
  • problems with bone mineralisation (which increases the risk of bone fracture),
  • pre-cardiovascular conditions;

Insufficient vitamin K2 can result in calcification of the arteries, which can then lead to hypertension, numerous blockages and even heart attacks. These are rather unpleasant prospects for us, if not shocking. For this reason, if we have any suspicion of a deficiency of this substance in our bodies, it is good practice to contact our GP and have the appropriate tests carried out to confirm or refute our suspicions. This is virtually the only way to avoid worrying about deficiency and its consequences.

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Vitamin K2 for children

Most parents are aware of the need to give their children vitamin D3 in the context of healthy bones. What is very often overlooked here, on the other hand, is the equally important role of vitamin K2, which we mainly hear about in the newborn period. Every child receives an injection of vitamin K on the first day of life - this is necessary to prevent neonatal haemorrhagic disease. Thereafter, the vitamin should be given to the child from day 8 until the end of the third month of life at 25 micrograms orally. However, vitamin K2 should be supplemented even longer, as it is extremely important for bone and dental health and for protecting the arteries from calcification, which is the basis for coronary heart disease in adulthood. Although calcium should be a staple of a child's diet, if it is not properly utilised by the body, it becomes deposited in the arteries. The role of vitamin K2 is to direct it to the bones to increase their mineral density and at the same time protect them from arterial blockages. As bones are most active during childhood and adolescence, children need much more vitamin K2 than adults to process calcium properly, have healthy bones and protect their heart for the future. It is a good idea to give vitamin K2 to your child in combination with vitamin D3. Toddlers can safely take about 1,000 IU of vitamin K2 for every 10-12 kilograms of body weight. Supplementation is also recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Occurrence of vitamin K2

When it comes to where we should look for this vitamin K2 substance, it is mainly produced by microorganisms found in the human and animal intestine, which means that if we do not have major problems with its production, it is unlikely that additional supplementation is necessary. In fairly small quantities, but nevertheless, it is also found in animal products such as eggs, dairy products and meat. In Europe, the best sources are German, Swiss and Dutch cheeses. It would seem, therefore, that ensuring an adequate supply of this vitamin in our bodies should be a fairly easy task. However, deficiencies do occur and are quite painful in their consequences, so it is good to take care of our diet in such a way that it is also rich in vitamin K2, whose importance for our body is really high. It will therefore be better to create the meals ourselves, rather than opting for nutrition from ready-made products or in bars or restaurants, which may not guarantee that we get the right amount of vitamin K2.

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