Learn About Vitamin K – Including Beneficial Foods with Vitamin K

March 25, 2019

We all have different needs for food, vitamins, rest, exercise,

stress tolerance, or ability to handle toxins.

Mark Hyman, M.D.

When we talk about important vitamins and minerals, oftentimes vitamins like B, C, and D tend to get the most attention. Yet, the body needs more than two dozen vitamins and minerals every day to function optimally. While there are certainly some which are more critical to important bodily functions than others, the roles of many less frequently discussed vitamins are largely overlooked.

In particular, vitamin K is a vitamin which tends to go under the radar. The reason it’s so underrated may stem from the fact that vitamin K deficiencies are relatively rare. With that said, taking in anything lower than an optimal amount of vitamin K could impair your health in the long run and might even contribute to a higher risk of developing heart disease. [1]

Below, discover just how important vitamin K is in keeping you healthy and what you can do to prevent a deficiency in this essential nutrient.

The Role of Vitamin K

Leafy greens, beans, potatoes, bananas and garnishes on display as foods with Vitamin K

Although its role is understated compared to that of other vitamins, and while it is seldom discussed, vitamin K also supports many crucial functions throughout the body. For one, this vitamin is necessary for proper blood clotting. For another, it contributes to calcium accumulation within the bones alongside vitamin D. While vitamin D is responsible for improving the absorption from the calcium we take in via diet, it can also take calcium from the bones as needed when dietary calcium is inadequate.

Role of Vitamin K

Vitamin K tends to be underrated since a deficiency of this vitamin is rare. However, it does play an important role in: 

  • Bone health
  • Cognitive health
  • Heart health
  • Blood clotting
  • Protects against hypercalcemia

This is where vitamin K comes in: the nutrient can activate osteocalcin to promote the accumulation of calcium in bones and teeth to prevent against loss. In fact, the NHS shows a 30% reduction in hip fractures in women who take 110 micrograms of vitamin K or more per day, and women who ate one serving of leafy greens per day (a rich source of vitamin K) had a 50% reduction in hip fractures compared with those who consumed one serving per week. [2]

Additionally, vitamin K prevents calcium buildup in the kidneys and blood vessels. It can also protect against hypercalcemia, a condition in which the blood’s calcium levels are above normal. This presents serious health hazards like excessive calcium; too much of the nutrient can weaken bones. It may also lead to kidney stones and interfere with organ functionality, including that of the heart and brain. [3]

Vitamin K Deficiency

A vitamin K deficiency, although rare, can have serious implications. Deficiencies in this vitamin have been linked to blood vessel calcification, in which calcium builds up in the arteries causing them to become stiffer. This poses a significant risk for cardiovascular health. Vitamin K deficiency can also prevent the body from producing proteins needed to help the blood clot. When this happens, the risk of excessive bleeding increases.

A vitamin K deficiency is most likely to occur in infants and adults who take medications or have medical conditions which inhibit absorption. The RDI for K2 is 120 micrograms in males and 90 micrograms in females. This may be difficult to achieve through diet alone and, for this reason, it’s recommended to take K2 with D3 to promote proper calcium levels within the body.

Foods with Vitamin K

Foods with vitamin K include leafy greens and even some garnishing, Some fruits and cruciferous vegetables are foods with vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is found mostly in dietary sources and is converted into K2 within the body. Vegetable sources of vitamin K include:

  • Leafy greens:
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Mustard greens
    • Others
  • Leeks and cruciferous vegetables:
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Others
  • Even certain types of garnishing and herbs can be used for vitamin K intake:
    • Capers
    • Parsley
    • black peppercorns
    • Others
  • Fruit sources include:
    • Blueberries
    • Kiwi

Why is Vitamin K Important – In Conclusion

Until now, you may not have paid much mind to vitamin K. Yet, this is just one of the many vitamins for which deficiencies could pose serious health consequences. Unfortunately, optimizing nutrient intake can quickly become overwhelming, and even the healthiest diets may still leave nutritional gaps.

At Cenegenics, our expert-led nutrition team will work with you to develop eating habits that are healthy yet sustainable. Our team will also perform a comprehensive health screening, including analyzing key biomarkers to determine where any deficiencies may exist. If needed, our expert clinicians can prescribe high-quality nutraceuticals made exclusively for Cenegenics patients. This helps to ensure your body receives all of the nutrients it needs to perform its best, both now and into the future.

If you’re interested in learning how the Cenegenics program can help you optimize your wellness through improved nutrition, among many other benefits, contact your nearest location today.

Next Steps in Understanding the Role of Vitamin K


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About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.


Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Additional Resources

The Role of Vitamins and Minerals as Micronutrients

Micronutrients: Learn Why Your Diet is Failing

Psychology of Weight Loss: The Problem with Fad Diets

Building a Nutritional Plan: Food for Weight Loss

What is Age Management Medicine?

What is Cenegenics?

The Dangers of Processed Foods


[1] Vermeer, C. “Vitamin K: the effect on health beyond coagulation – an overview.” Food & Nutritional Research. 02 Apr. 2012. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22489224

[2] Leake, Jeffery Park, M.D., CPT, see above.

[3] Mayo Clinic. “Hypercalcemia.” 06 Mar. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypercalcemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355523

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