Herbs have magnificent healing powers and can be used to treat many serious yet common ailments and to boost your health.

Vitamins for Mental Health, VitaminK - Information and benefits

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins : VitaminK

Vitamin K

Other names

Phylloquinone or K1, menaquinone or K2, menadione or K3, menadiol acaetate or K4


Vitamin K can be obtained by the body from several sources. Vit K1 or phylloquinone is from plants, Vitamin K2, menaquinone, is made by the intestinal bacteria, and Vitamin K3 is manufactured synthetically. The major use of vitamin K by the body is to help the blood to clot. It may also be useful in osteoporosis, cancer prevention, and heart disease. Supplements of vitamin K generally are not necessary unless there is an intestinal problem with poor absorption. The major sign of deficiency is easy bruising. Toxicity is rare. The major interaction between Vitamin D and a drug is with the anticoagulants such as warfarin or Coumadin where large amounts of vitamin K can reverse the anticoagulant effect. Major food sources include green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, green cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens, broccoli, tomatoes, liver and lean meats and dairy products. Recommended supplemental amounts are 80 micrograms a day for men over 25 years of age; and 65 micrograms a day for women over 25.


The primary use of Vitamin K1 is to help the blood clot. Problems with blood clotting can occur because of drug therapy, including anticoagulants, such as coumadin or aspirin as well as certain antibiotics. Newborns are given one vitamin K1 injection soon after birth to help prevent bleeding problems since they don't yet have bacteria in the gut to make vitamin K. It is also given to some patients before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding after the operation. Other uses of vitamin K are to build strong bones by helping the body use calcium and to slow excessive menstrual bleeding. Vitamin K can be used topically to help the skin heal from wounds, including surgical incisions, burns, bruises, scars, and stretch marks.

Proposed Mechanism of Action

Vitamin K is needed by the liver to make four blood clotting factors. They are factors II (prothrombin), VII (proconvertin), IX (Christmas factor or plasma thromboplastin component)and X (Stuart-Prower factor).
Vit K also helps the body make osteocalcin, a noncollagen protein in the bone. Osetocalcin binds calcium and helps hold the calcium molecule in place in the bone, keeping the bone mineralized. This helps prevent and possibly even treat osteoporosis.

Side Effects / Precautions

Very few side effects have been reported from the oral use of Vitamin K. Some stomach irritation has been seen and in rare cases, usually in newborns,hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia.


Too much vitamin K either from a change in diet or the addition of a supplement, will reverse the effects of oral anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin). It will decrease the prothrombin time.

Several drugs and vitamins can inhibit the effects of vitamin K and may cause bleeding. Vitamin E helps the body use vitamin K but too much vitamin E for a long time can inhibit vitamin K and cause bleeding. Vitamin A may also cause bleeding. Long term use of aspirin may increase the need for vitamin K. Certain antibiotics, especially those called broad spectrum antibiotics, kill the Vitamin K producing bacteria in the intestines and decrease the amount of vitamin K in the body, which may cause bleeding. Dilantin increases the metabolism of vitamin K, lowering the amount in the body and possibly causing bleeding.

Symptoms of Deficiency

A vitamin K deficiency is rarely seen unless there is an intestinal problem with fat absorption such as is seen in sprue, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, bowel obstruction, or in people on long term antibiotics. The major sign of deficiency is easy bruising. A long-term deficiency of vitamin K may affect the bones, causing poor growth or osteoporosis.

Symptoms of Toxicity

It is hard to get too much vitamin K as the body regulates the absorption. Large doses, however, may cause flushing and sweating. In some cases, hemolytic anemia, where the red blood cells die faster than usual and the body can't replace them quick enough occurs. High doses, either from the diet or from supplements are dangerous when taking a blood thinning drug such as coumadin.

Dosage and Administration

The best way to get vitamin K is to eat more green leafy vegetables. It is made by bacteria in the intestines, so the need for supplements is low unless there is a problem with absorption. Recommended supplemental amounts are 80 micrograms a day for men over 25 years of age; and 65 micrograms a day for women over 25. If it is being used to build bone, the dose is 300 micrograms a day. Vitamin K1 is the most potent form and it is given orally. The fat-soluble form is preferred and should be taken with meals to increase absorption. Infants are given a one time dose injection of 1 mg of vitamin K1 at birth to prevent bleeding.

Food Sources

The primary source of vitamin K in the body is that made by the bacteria in the intestines with the remainder coming from food. Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, green cabbage, kale, Swiss chard and turnip greens are richest in vitamin K. Broccoli, tomatoes, liver and lean meats and dairy products, are other good sources.

Other Supplements to Consider

Increase body's use of Vitamin K: Vitamin E
Osteoporosis: calcium, vitamin D, boron, magnesium

Mental Health > supplements-vitamins: VitaminK