Expert Nutrition

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the family name given to a group of fat soluble compounds needed for the chemical modification of a small group of proteins that are most known for their role in blood clotting. Vitamin K is also believed to have an important role in increasing bone density and reducing the chance of fractures.

The body only requires small amounts of vitamin K and more than half of our daily requirement is normally met through bacteria that work to synthesis vitamin K in our intestines. Vitamin K is also widely available in our diet making vitamin K deficiencies rare. The best sources of Vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, soy beans and wheat bran, however vitamin K is also found in fruit and most animal products.

A deficiency in vitamin K is characterised from excessive bleeding which can occur from even minor cuts. Some new born infants are especially vulnerable to Vitamin K deficiency, because they lack the intestinal bacteria that would normally meet most of our vitamin K requirements.

Additional Possible Benefits of Vitamin K5.

  • Possible role in cancer prevention
  • Regulation of bone metabolism

Recommended Dietary Intake for Vitamin K

A recent re-evaluation of dietary requirements for all vitamins and minerals was published by the National Health and Medical Research Council for Australia and New Zealand. The dietary recommendations for vitamin K from this publication are summarised below.

Please refer to the following definitions when interpreting these recommendations:

RDI-Recommended Daily Intake
The average daily intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of nearly all (97-98%) health individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

AI-Adequate Intake (used when an RDI cannot be determined)
The average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or experimentally-determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate.

UL-Upper Limit of Intake
The highest average daily nutrient intake level likely to pose no adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects increases.

RECOMMENDATIONS BY LIFE STAGE AND GENDER – Vitamin K

InfantsAI
0-6 months2.0 µg/day
7-12 months 2.5 µg/day

Children and AdolescentsAI
All
1-3 years 25 µg/day
4-8 years 35 µg/day

Boys
9-13 years 45 µg/day
14-18 years 55 µg/day

Girls
9-13 years 45 µg/day
14-18 years 55 µg/day

AdultsAI
Men
19-30 years 70 µg/day
31-50 years 70 µg/day
51-70 years 70 µg/day
>70 years 70 µg/day

Women
19-30 years 60 µg/day
31-50 years 60 µg/day
51-70 years 60 µg/day
>70 years 60 µg/day

Pregnancy
14-18 years 60 µg/day
19-30 years 60 µg/day
31-50 years 60 µg/day

Lactation
14-18 years 60 µg/day
19-30 years 60 µg/day
31-50 years 60 µg/day

There have been no Upper Limit’s set for vitamin K intake.

Source: National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra 2006, copyright Commonwealth of Australia reproduced by permission.

Vitamin K back to Vitamins


References:
1. National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra 2006 pp 147-151.
2. Kania T et al. Serum vitamin K and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1997, 56(1): 25-30.
3. Bittensky L et al. Circulation vitamin K in patients with fractures. J Bone Joint Surg 1988 70(B): 663-664.
4. Stanton R. Foods that harm, foods that heal: An A-Z guide to safe and healthy eating. Readers Digest; 2006, pp378-382.
5. Wahlqvist, M.L., et al. Australia and New Zealand: Food and Nutrition. 2nd Ed. Allen and Unwin, Sydney; 2002, pp 250-252.
6. National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra 2006, copyright Commonwealth of Australia reproduced by permission.


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