Vitamin K – Menadione
Vitamin K was named from the Danish word – Koagulation. Vitamin K is fat soluble.
Vitamin K is the generic term for a family of compounds that exhibit the biological activity of phyto-menadione.
The form found in plant foods is termed phyto -meaning plant – menadione or phylloquinone (vitamin K1).
The forms synthesized by bacteria are menaquinones (vitamin K2).
The parent compound is known as menadione (vitamin K3); it is not a naturally-occurring form and is not used in humans.
Vitamins K1 and K2 can be produced in the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of healthy people and utilized in the body. Important in the production of the clotting agent prothrombin. A significant factor in vitality and longevity. Involved in energy producing activities of the tissues, particularly the nervous system. For normal liver function and needs bile to be utilized. Also important in the conversion of glucose into glucogen (the form of sugar stored in the body and used as fuel).
Increased Risk of Deficiency
Heavy alcohol use
Medications: broad-spectrum antibiotics, Cholestyramine, Coumarin
Nutrient absorption difficulties in the intestines
Newborn infants who are exclusively breast-fed
Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency
Improper blood clotting
Prolonged bleeding, small amounts of blood in the stool
Impaired bone re-modelling and mineralization
More than 500mcg of synthetic Vitamin K is not recommended
Mega doses of vitamin K can build up in the body and cause red blood cell breakdown and anaemia
Patients on the blood thinner Dicumarol should be aware that synthetic K could counteract the effectiveness of the drug. The drug inhibits the absorption of natural vitamin K.
Drugs that induce vitamin deficiency
3 basic mechanisms by which drugs induce vitamin deficiency
1/ impaired vitamin absorption
2/ impaired vitamin utilisation
3/ enhanced vitamin elimination
See the following examples:
Polysporm, neosporm, neomycin, mycolog, neo-cortel, cortisporin, lidosporin, mycifradin,
Kanamycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, polymyxin, sulphonamides, phazyme, cathartic agents
d/ Drugs with multiple mechanisms
X-rays and radiation, frozen foods, aspirin, air pollution, mineral oil
Medical and therapeutic Uses
Helps in preventing internal bleeding and haemorrhages
Aid in reducing excessive menstrual flow
Promotes proper blood clotting
Used to prepare women for child birth
Used in treatment of coronary thrombosis
Prevent prolonged menstruation
Reduce 90% of pain in cancer patients
Good for bloodshot eyes, nose bleeds
Use vitamin K with vitamin C for cell wall integrity
Good Dietary Sources
Spinach, Fish liver oils, kelp, Broccoli, Green cabbage, Soyabeans and oil, Beef liver, Green Tea,Egg yolks, Alfalfa, Tomatoes, Yoghurt, Corn, Strawberries, Wheat bran, Wheat germ, Cauliflower, Carrots, Peas, Cow’s milk, Gotu Kola, Slippery Elm, Yarrow.