Because vegans adhere to more restrictive diets, we need to make an extra effort to consume an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. This is especially true for vitamin K, an essential nutrient that many people assume they’re getting enough of in their everyday life. However, those of us living in the western hemisphere may be lacking vitamin K in our diet, especially if we’re vegetarian or vegan.
Vitamin K is an essential component of the vegan diet. Vegans may need to take extra measures to properly intake vitamin K, whether it be via food or supplementation.
So if you’re a vegan who’s wondering about your vitamin K intake, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain the different types of vitamin K we should be consuming, as well as offer solutions on how plant based eaters can increase their intake of this vital nutrient.
What is vitamin K?
To fully understand the role vitamin K plays in the vegan diet, we first need to have a basic understanding of how this essential nutrient works.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting and heart and bone health. This nutrient comes in two forms, vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, each of which offer different functions in maintaining our health.
Vitamin K1, for example, plays a primary role in blood coagulation, while vitamin K2 is mainly studied for its use in supporting a healthy heart and bones.
For more information on the Vitamin K and 9 Ways To Preserve Vitamins and Nutrients While Cooking click here.
Now that we’ve learned that vitamin K comes in two different forms, it’s important we understand how these K-compounds manifest in the vegan diet.
Vitamin K1 is fairly easy for vegans to obtain naturally through the foods we eat. Research shows that K1 can be found in green leafy vegetables, such as:
- Romaine lettuce
Vitamin K2, however, is nearly impossible for vegans to consume enough of in their everyday life. That’s because this nutrient is already rare in the western diet for the average meat-eater, and is primarily found in the following sources:
- Egg yolks
- Semi-hard cheeses
It’s for this reason that finding vitamin K sources for vegans can be difficult. But luckily, research shows that supplementing with a direct source of vitamin K2 can be beneficial for groups who aren’t receiving enough of this essential nutrient from their diet alone.
That’s why FuelOrganics offers a high-quality vegan Vitamin K2 Vegan that’s perfect not only for vegans, but for the average person living in the western hemisphere who’s lacking in this essential nutrient.
Do vegans need vitamin K2?
We know that vegans are more likely to be deficient in vitamin K2, but we may be wondering: exactly how important is it for vegans to consume this nutrient? Do we really need a supplement?
The answer is yes - it’s very important for vegans to include vitamin K2 in their diet, as it offers a variety of health benefits, some of which may include:
- Increased bone mineral density
- Lower risk of osteoporosis
- Improved heart health
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improved dental health
- Potential lower risk of cancer
But how does vitamin K2 work to perform these functions?
For one, studies show that vitamin K2 supports bone and dental health by ensuring that the calcium from our diet is transported to the right places. This also has a secondary effect of promoting heart health, as it prevents the accumulation of calcium in arteries, which has been known to cause cardiovascular issues.
While more research is needed to determine exactly what role vitamin K2 plays in cancer prevention, studies indicate that supplementation of this nutrient may positively inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Overall, we can all benefit from adding more vitamin K2 into our diet, which is why it’s worth it for vegans to look into taking a supplement.
For vegans to fully reap the benefits of vitamin K, we need to make sure we’re consuming both forms of this essential nutrient. Vitamin K1 and K2 each offer different health benefits that our bodies need to maintain optimal function.
That’s why vegans should consider not only increasing their intake of leafy greens, but adding a vitamin K2 supplement to their diet to ensure proper nutrition.
- Simes, D. C., Viegas, C., Araújo, N., & Marreiros, C. (2020). Vitamin K as a Diet Supplement with Impact in Human Health: Current Evidence in Age-Related Diseases. Nutrients, 12(1), 138. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010138
- Hever, J., & Cronise, R. J. (2017). Plant-based nutrition for healthcare professionals: implementing diet as a primary modality in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease. Journal of geriatric cardiology : JGC, 14(5), 355–368. https://doi.org/10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2017.05.012
- Maresz K. (2015). Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 14(1), 34–39.
- Xv, F., Chen, J., Duan, L., & Li, S. (2018). Research progress on the anticancer effects of vitamin K2. Oncology letters, 15(6), 8926–8934. https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2018.8502