Over the next few weeks we will be discussing Vitamins and Minerals. We will be discussing one vitamin or mineral at a time discussing what it is, what it does and factors that affect absorption. We will also be giving you a general list of food items that contain the vitamin or mineral that we will be discussing for that week.
Before we begin lets first discuss the difference between a vitamin and mineral. A vitamin is any compound that contains carbon and therefore is organic. There are two classes of vitamins…fat soluble A, D, E and K or water soluble, B and C.
Minerals on the other hand do not contain carbon and are what we call inorganic. There are macro- minerals and micro-minerals. Macro-minerals are calcium, chloride, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and sodium. Micro-minerals are: chromium, iron, copper, zinc, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and iron.
There are many factors that can decrease the absorption of vitamins and minerals they are: alcohol, caffeine, antibiotics, stress, corticosteroids, aspirin, diuretics, oral contraceptives, sugar and tobacco. Therefore if you lifestyle includes any of these factors and you are not well there could be a good chance that you are not absorbing your essential nutrients. You will learn over the next few weeks the critical affect that each of the vitamins and mineral have over the health of your body.
This week we will be discussing Vitamin K
What it is: Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin. So what does this mean? This means that Vitamin K is found in the fat tissue of plants and animals. There are 3 forms of this vitamin. K1 (Phylloquinone) found in plants, K2 (Menaquinone) produced in our intestines by bacteria and K3 (Menadione) and this is the synthetic form.
What is does: Vitamin K:
Vitamin K activates blood clotting (used for individuals who bruise easily and for women with heavy menses)
Maintains bone density
May reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreases plaque formation in the blood vessels
Activates proteins that are found in our bone that in turn helps to bring in more calcium to the bones
Foods that contain Vitamin K:
There are many foods (too many to list) that contain Vitamin K. Vitamin K comes primarily from vegetables. Here are a few of the more common sources of Vitamin K…
Red Leaf Lettuce
Caution! K3 the synthetic form can cause toxicity if given by injection. An item that cause decrease absorption of Vit K is HIGH levels of Vit A & E and the mineral such calcium. Also, antibiotic use can decrease the absorption as well do to the fact that the good bacteria in your intestines become depleted and cannot contribute to Vit K productions.
Lori Metroka Yu
Nutrition & Wellness Specialist
Resource: The power of nutrient dense food by Pattie Weller, C.C.N
Picture by: http://mindfulnutritionist.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/spinach.jpg