Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful in Vitamin K. So if you follow the NeuropathyDR Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.
Vitamin K is another nutrient we don’t frequently hear much about.
That is unless, of course, you suffer from Afib or a clotting disorder. But more on that story later!
Like all vitamins, a deficiency here can kill us! You see vitamin K gets is name from a German word for coagulation (Koagulationsvitamin). The reason is, without proper levels of Vitamin K, we could bleed to death!
Like all nutrients, there is so much more. Vitamin K1 occurs naturally in green plants. Foods like romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and spinach are particularly plentiful. So if you follow the NeuropathyDR Diet, you likely don’t need to worry about getting enough.
Good dietary intakes of green leafy vegetables and the Vitamin K they contain are associated with less risk of diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.
Exceptions or those at risk for deficiency are those patients with bowel disease, alcoholism, or long-term antibiotic usage which can kill normal bacteria in our bellies.
In humans, K1 is converted to, and then stored as, K2. There are also several other forms—some are even used used in medicine for treating bone loss.
The three major areas Vitamin K has a role in are blood clotting (coagulation), helping the maintenance of normal healthy bone, and in normal blood vessel health. Bone health is of particular concern as we age. We do know that patients with osteoporosis or thinning of the bones have low levels of Vitamin K2.
The one area that concerns patients more than others with vitamin K is that its intake in your diet needs to be limited if you take Coumadin. Coumadin (Warfarin) is the drug given as a blood thinner when patients suffer from conditions like the heart disorder atrial fibrilation. Afib, as it is called, is common in diabetics, so of course we see this in the neuropathy clinic frequently.
As a side note, lots of the preventive diet and nutrition strategies we discuss can benefit—and possibly prevent—Afib in the first place.
There are newer blood thinning drugs without Vitamin K interactions, but some of them are far riskier than the time-tested drug Warfarin.
So, now you know the essentials. But we have not heard the last on Vitamin K and good health, I am sure!
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