Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that has many uses in the body. It helps with blood clotting, bone health, and maintaining good fatty acid balance. Vitamin K deficiency is a rare condition, but it can happen if you don’t get enough of it through your diet.
When it comes to dietary supplements and essential nutrients, we tend to think about either vitamin C – present in fruits and heavily marketed on product packaging, or vitamin D – derived from the sun and something we’re often told in the UK that we’re deficient in.
But how often do you hear about vitamin K? Do you know the important role it plays in your health and wellbeing or the natural sources of vitamin K you should be including in your diet?
If you’ve not given vitamin K a second thought you’re not alone. It may be one of the lesser-known vitamins, but it’s no less important. Here’s why:
What is vitamin K and what does it do, are there blood tests in London to check levels?
Vitamin K is the name given to a collection of vitamins the body needs for blood clotting, a vital process needed to help heal wounds.
Vitamin K helps the body produce prothrombin, a protein needed to help your blood clot after injury. It’s also an important factor in bone metabolism. Without this essential vitamin, the process of blood clotting can be impacted, leading to haemorrhage and excessive bleeding.
While deficiency isn’t common, it is important to understand the important role that vitamin K plays in the healthy function of the body, and to ensure you’re getting enough of it through your diet.
Who is at risk of vitamin K deficiency?
Vitamin K deficiency is most likely to affect babies and those with problems absorbing nutrients from food, such as people with short-bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, coeliac disease, or ulcerative colitis.
How to Get Tested for a Vitamin K Deficiency in London
If you think that you might have a vitamin K deficiency, talk to your doctor about getting tested. You should be screened for this condition at least once. The most common way to do this is through a blood test. This can look for the level of vitamin K in your system, and if it’s low, they may recommend taking vitamin K supplements. There are some symptoms that may indicate a vitamin K deficiency: -The color of your skin -Blood clotting problems -Poor bone health -Fatty acid imbalance -Bleeding problems -Feeling tired all the time
Which systems in the body can vitamin K deficiency Impact?
While the main bodily function vitamin K influences involves the blood, there are other ways that a deficiency can impact our health and wellbeing. These include:
Increased blood levels of vitamin K have been linked with improved memory in older adults. In one study, healthy individuals over the age of 70 with the highest blood levels of vitamin K1 had the best verbal episodic memory performance.
There is emerging belief that there may be a link between low levels of vitamin K and osteoporosis. Several studies have suggested that vitamin K supports the maintenance of strong bones, improves bone density, and decreases the risk of fractures.
Vitamin K may help keep blood pressure lower by preventing the build-up of minerals in the arteries, enabling the heart to pump blood freely through the body. Mineralization, which naturally occurs with age, is a major risk factor for heart disease. Vitamin K has also been shown to lower the risk of stroke.
Where do you find Vitamin K?
Vitamin K1, the main type of dietary vitamin K also known as phylloquinone, is found in plants. Another source is vitamin K2, known as menaquinone, which can be found in some animal based and fermented foods.
Vitamin K1 occurs in high amounts in leafy green vegetables, such as kale and Swiss chard. Other sources include vegetable oils and some fruits.
Sources of vitamin K2 include meat, dairy products, eggs, and fermented soybeans.
Are you deficient in Vitamin K?
While vitamin K deficiency isn’t as common as other vitamin deficiencies, you may be concerned if you’ve consumed a diet limited in natural sources of vitamin K for a long time, or you live with a condition which affects your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from your foods, such as coeliac disease or ulcerative colitis.
Booking your private Vitamin K test in London
If you’re concerned about your vitamin K levels and want quick, convenient results to help you optimise your health, our central London testing service is a great option.
We make sure the experience is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. Simply purchase your test online and attend our walk-in clinic on the same day, where our trained phlebotomists will collect your blood sample for testing.
Clear, accurate results
When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can easily be arranged for you.
You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own doctor, or for your records.