Deficiency Dangers: The Essential Nutrient You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Heart health and function, brain function, metabolism, bone health.
You likely agree those are extremely vital processes in your body, right?
Well, there’s a nutrient you’ve probably never heard of that is responsible for each of those processes, and yet some experts estimate up to 80% of Americans are deficient in it.
What is this nutrient? It’s Vitamin K, and NOT getting and absorbing enough of this vitamin can pose really worrisome risks to your health.
In the past, doctors thought Vitamin K deficiency was “rare”. As a result, they didn’t give it much attention. However, one reason this deficiency has been overlooked may be because you can be deficient in Vitamin K without knowing it.
You see, symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency can be nearly non-existent or very subtle, even disguised by other, serious conditions. This can make them seem unconnected.
Dangers of Vitamin K Deficiency
As mentioned above, it can be difficult to identify if you have Vitamin K deficiency.
Extreme symptoms involve excessive bleeding and bruising, as a result of blood not clotting properly. That’s because one of Vitamin K’s primary roles is ensuring your blood clots properly.
If you are deficient in Vitamin K, you have added risk for:
- Bone density loss (including Osteoporosis)
- Weakened teeth enamel (cavities, breakage, etc)
- Bleeding gums
- Heart disease
- Weakened bones
- Tooth decay
- Insulin resistance/diabetes
- Liver issues
Benefits of Vitamin K
There is growing evidence that Vitamin K has anti-inflammatory effects that are separate from its most well-known roles in bone health and blood clotting.
In fact, Vitamin K has demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammation and its aging effects.
Vitamin K also protects your brain from free radical damage and the resulting oxidative stress. This damage is recognized as being a key to inflammation in general, and also being present in the development of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Both these disease states are now being seen as autoimmune disorders.
Of note is a 2008 study that found consistently low intake of Vitamin K in people diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s.
Anyone wanting to prevent Alzheimer’s may want to look at their Vitamin K intake. The same goes for those wanting to reverse or prevent inflammation—Vitamin K can play a crucial role.
There are certain conditions that make it more likely you are or become deficient in Vitamin K. If you have chronic gastrointestinal disorders (especially if you have issues with absorption), take or have taken a lot of antibiotics, have poor gut health in general, or take medications for lowering cholesterol, you may be at risk.
When looking to increase your intake of Vitamin K through foods, or to supplement, it’s important to note that there are three types of Vitamin K: K1, K2, and K3.
The differences are this: K1 is derived from plants, and K2 is from fermented soy and animal products. The third form, K3, is actually synthetic and should be avoided, as it can have several negative effects.
K2 is thought to offer the most benefit and be the easiest to absorb. There is a special form of K2 called MK-7 that science is finding to be even more powerful. Its composition stays in your body longer, so you benefit from smaller amounts.
Foods that are high in Vitamin K include:
- Swiss chard
- Brussel Sprouts
- Collard greens
- Fish, liver, meat, eggs, and cereals also contain smaller amounts
Working in Harmony: Vitamin K’s Vital Role
Possibly the most important role of Vitamin K is how it helps you absorb another important nutrient, Vitamin D.
Vitamin K is vital in order for your body to properly utilize Vitamin D. In action, it activates proteins that Vitamin D creates.
Even the health value of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin (Vitamin D) is underestimated.
Do you know that almost all of the cells in your body have a receptor specifically for Vitamin D? That’s how important Vitamin D is to your body—it’s used in nearly all your cells.
When you consider the synergy of Vitamin K and Vitamin D working together and the high number of people suspected of being deficient in Vitamin K…
It starts to make sense that 46% of Americans are estimated to not have low levels of Vitamin D. It’s logical to put two and two together and conclude that getting enough Vitamin K will help your body absorb and use Vitamin D.
Lack of Vitamin D gives you an increased risk of hypertension, asthma, cancer, insulin resistance and autoimmune disease (including diabetes and multiple sclerosis). It’s also associated with impaired mental function in adults.
Inadequate Vitamin D also increases the risk of several autoimmune conditions and other health challenges.
With an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D, the case for ensuring you consume enough Vitamin K is strong…
And yet this is just ONE of the nutrients nature provides to assist you with your health goals.
Plants, spices, teas, natural vitamins, and minerals — they all work together to help
treat and heal your body from the cellular level.
Some of these natural healing remedies are known to be as effective, if not more than prescription medicines for treating depression, anxiety, inflammation, autoimmunity, memory loss, and many more.
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