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He began his research on vitamin K some 20 years ago at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and he’s currently one of the leading researchers in the world on this vitamin.
Elderly people with atrial fibrillation (AF) or venous or deep-vein thrombosis are often put on oral anticoagulants, which are vitamin K antagonists, meaning they block the recycling of vitamin K—not only K1, but also K2.
Because if you take away all the K1 and K2 from the diet, every little interference—if you take a little bit of vitamin K—will have a dramatic effect on the anticoagulant level.
In other words, get your baseline PT (prothrombin) measurements while you are taking vitamin K 1 and K2 from the diet and your oral anticoagulant. On a side note, when I was in medical school in the late ‘70s, MGP was completely unknown, which underscores the importance of doctors to stay on top of the research, which is moving quite quickly these days.
The difference between vitamins K1 and K2 was first established in the Rotterdam Study,1 which Dr. The Rotterdam Study found that those who consumed the greatest amounts of K2 had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular calcification, and the lowest chance of dying from cardiovascular disease. Both K1 and K2 are fat-soluble, but K2 is more fat-soluble, at least in long-chain menaquinones such as MK7. So, in addition to activating MGP, which is a potent inhibitor of calcification, K2 also helps prevent arterial calcification by transporting calcium away from areas where it shouldn’t be (in the lining of your blood vessels) to where it’s really needed (such as in your bone). Just as you can measure your serum vitamin D level to ascertain whether you might be sufficient or deficient, you can measure your vitamin K1 and K2 levels as well. To get around this problem, researchers have developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). While the ideal dosage has yet to be determined, studies suggest you need about 360-500 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K2 per day. Foods high in K2 include raw dairy products such as hard and soft cheeses, raw butter, and kefir, as well as fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.
Also keep in mind that fermented foods contain a wide variety of different bacteria, and only certain ones—such as Bacillus subtilis—actually make vitamin K2.
Optimizing your vitamin K level has tremendous potential for improving your health, and it’s such a simple intervention—especially if you opt for fresh vegetables and fermented foods. While most if not all people are deficient in vitamin K to some degree, if you’ve already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, you can be absolutely certain that you are deficient, and it would behoove you to take steps to ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamin K1 and K2, which may help regress some of the damage. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin best known for its ability to help blood clot and prevent excessive bleeding.
In addition to regulating blood clotting, vitamin K facilitates the transport of calcium within your body, making it beneficial to your bones. Foods highest in vitamin K include leafy greens such as turnip greens, spinach, kale and dark green lettuce. Vitamin K a fat soluble vitamin of which Vitamin K1 and K2 are the naturally occurring forms. Vitamin K1 is found chiefly in leafy green vegetables and some fruits including avocado and kiwi. Kale, turnip greens, collards, broccoli, lettuce, beef liver, cabbage, swiss chard, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, brussel sprouts, green peas, avocado, kiwi, alfalfa, wheat, oats, yogurt, milk and cheese are a good natural source of Vitamin K1.
Vitamin K2 is synthesized in the large intestines by bacteria naturally found in the large intestine. As some antibiotic use can interfere with the natural Vitamin K synthesis in the large intestines, it is for that purpose recommended to consume yogurt when also taking antibiotics. Vitamin K is emerging as a potential protector against osteoporosis, artherosclerosis, insulin sensitivity and cancer.
Recommended reading on swimming, running, cycling, adventure, natural health, nutrition, brain power, nerve force, men's health, hiking, women's health . Much of the vitamin K in our diets comes from the intestinal bacteria we already have, because of this, your vitamin K levels can depend greatly on the health of your gut. When looking to supplement or add to your diet, vitamin K2 rich foods have been shown to have greater health benefits than K1. However, there’s another vitamin that is virtually equivalent in terms of benefit that is still sorely underappreciated, and that is vitamin K2.

However, the advice in the United States is to skip everything that contains vitamin K, and that is something I argue against. However, if you have a steady intake level of vitamin K1 or K2, or both, a little bit of interference is not that bad anymore. In the 1980s, it was discovered that vitamin K is needed to activate the protein osteocalcin, which is found in your bone.
If you inactivate MGP, you end up with serious arterial calcifications, and this is why vitamin K is so crucial for cardiovascular health. Upon autopsy, many with Alzheimer’s are found to have vascular degeneration, which is thought to produce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The problem, however, is that it really only reveals what you ate the day before, which makes it very difficult to judge sufficiency or deficiency. There are no known side effects of higher dosages, however, so it’s likely better to err on the higher side. Keep in mind that the K2 content of pasteurized dairy and products from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which comprise most commercial sources, are NOT high in K2 and should be avoided. You can boost the K2 content of fermented foods by making them yourself, using a starter culture specifically designed to optimize K2. Eating lots of green vegetables, especially kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, will increase your vitamin K1 levels naturally. You can also obtain about 200 mcgs of K2 by eating 15 grams of natto each day, which is half an ounce. The group includes vitamins K, K1, K2 and K3, with K1 being the natural form that humans derive from foods. Having sufficient amounts of this vitamin may help reduce bone loss and osteoporosis, resulting in fewer fractures. The first signs of a deficiency may present themselves as blood oozing from your nose or gums.
Low levels of vitamin K have been found in osteoporosis patients, especially in postmenopausal women.
Post-menopausal women and those who take certain medications may need to supplement their vitamin K intake in pill form.
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Vitamin K reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases by preventing the hardening of arteries.
Also, the following spices have very high concentrations of Vitamin K: basel, sage, thyme, parsley, oregano and marjoram. Deficiency of vitamin K can cause disorders like nose bleeding, gum bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding in women, hematuria, inter cranial hemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding.
As Vitamin K is essential to the process of bone formation and repair, bone density and the absorption of calcium by the bone, Vitamin K deficiency can cause weak bones and osteoporosis. Leon Schurgers is a senior scientist who did his PhD work on vitamin K, and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing him on this important topic. Schurgers, all K vitamins actually have more or less the same function, which is related to the first part of the vitamin, called the naphthoquinone ring structure. Schurgers clarifies this by saying that both vitamins K1 and K2 activate certain coagulation factors.
In other words, your coagulation factors will not become overactive if you take high amounts of vitamin K1 or K2.
However, it is important you take the same dose of K1 and K2 all the time or else the drug may over-anticoagulate you. A decade or so later, another vitamin K-dependent protein was discovered: matrix Gla protein (MGP), found in your vascular system. Evidence suggests vitamin K can even regress arterial calcification induced by vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K1 is highly available in green, leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli, and cabbage.

And although there’s limited research in this area, evidence suggests vitamin K2 might help prevent Alzheimer’s by preventing plaque deposition. He also suggests consuming K2 on a daily basis, which means you need to eat some form of fermented food.
At bare minimum, you need 45 mcgs per day to help ward off cardiovascular disease, as evidenced in the Rotterdam Study,2 which was the first study demonstrating the beneficial effect of vitamin K2. My research team found that we could get 400 to 500 mcgs of vitamin K2 in a two-ounce serving of fermented vegetables using a starter culture, which is a clinically therapeutic dose. Sure, you can swallow vitamin K supplements, but it’s far easier to get vitamin K2 from fermented vegetables. It's a small amount and very inexpensive, but many Westerners do not enjoy the taste and texture.
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By moving calcium through your bloodstream instead of letting it accumulate, it may also prevent calcification of soft tissues and arteries. Specifically, there are four coagulation factors (Factor 2, 7, 9, and 10) in the coagulation cascade that are activated by vitamins K1 and K2. So it is quite safe to consume vitamin K when you are not taking an oral anticoagulant drug. Without vitamin K, these and other vitamin K-dependent proteins remain inactivated, and cannot perform their biological functions. These tests are currently being commercialized, and should be available in both Europe and the US in 2015. In this study, people who consumed 45 mcg of K2 daily lived seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day. I believe taking this simple step is a really crucial nutritional strategy that can go a long way toward optimizing your health.
If you don't care for the taste of natto, do try some fermented veggies made with Kinetic Culture, which will produce high levels of K2. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.
Certain health problems such as Crohn’s disease, gallbladder or liver disease, celiac disease and cystic fibrosis may also lead to a deficiency in K. Schurgers, at least one study has also shown that vitamin K2 has a major function in delivering cellular energy for Parkinson’s disease patients, and may be beneficial in the treatment of this disease.
It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr.
Prescription blood thinners and long-term hemodialysis are other risk factors for deficiency.
Schurgers has found that virtually everyone is clinically vitamin K-deficient based on these tests. And, it’s particularly noteworthy that, in studies, patients with the highest levels of inactive MGP had the highest chance of dying from cardiovascular disease. Remember you must always take your vitamin K supplement with fat since it is fat-soluble and won't be absorbed without it. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.

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