What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in a variety of foods and is also available as a dietary supplement. Vitamin K is involved in the process through which your body produces proteins that aid in blood clotting. Some anticoagulant drugs prevent your blood from clotting by inhibiting vitamin K's effects.
Vitamin K is made up of two parts: K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is the most common form of vitamin K found in food. It is mostly found in leafy greens. Vitamin K2 is present in animal-based meals and fermented foods such as cheese and yoghurt. Furthermore, your gut bacteria produce vitamin K2.
Vitamin K has shown promise in preventing blood vessel wall calcification, which is why significant research has been conducted on how vitamin K may assist in preventing atherosclerosis and improving cardiovascular health. Vitamin K is stored in the liver and various tissues throughout the body, including the brain, heart, and bones. Unfortunately, the body cannot store all of the vitamin K it consumes; 50% of it is lost in faeces and 20% of it is eliminated in urine. For this reason, leafy green vegetables are suggested as a component of a balanced diet. Leafy greens provide vitamins A, C, and E, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as carotenoids, antioxidants, and fibre, in addition to other minerals.
What Exactly Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, also known as calciferol, is another fat-soluble vitamin found in some foods, added to others, such as milk, and available as a dietary supplement. Vitamin D is also unusual in that it is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight; as a result, it is also known as the "sunshine vitamin." Vitamin D increases calcium absorption in the bones, preventing calcium accumulation in the blood. Without enough vitamin D, you may develop brittle bones, and a deficit can contribute to the condition known as osteoporosis. Vitamin D protects youngsters from the illness known as rickets.
Vitamin D is classified into two types: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is the most active type in the body. Salmon, trout, tuna, and fish oils are all good sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms and egg yolks are two more sources of vitamin D. Milk, margarine, cheese, ice cream, and plant milk replacements made from soy, almonds, or oats are among the foods fortified with vitamin D. Finally, your body can produce vitamin D on its own, but you must be exposed to sunlight. The amount of sunlight absorbed is affected by the time of day, clouds, smog, and skin melanin concentration. It is also necessary to protect yourself from excessive UV radiation exposure owing to the danger of developing significant skin disorders. Sunscreen can help protect your skin, but it also stops you from absorbing UV rays to make vitamin D. This is why many foods are fortified and vitamin D supplements are recommended.
Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases have overtaken cancer as the top cause of death worldwide, with 17.9 million people expected to die from CVD (cardiovascular disease) in 2019. Cardiovascular disorders include the following:
Coronary heart disease is a condition that affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, causing heart attacks.
The cerebrovascular disease affects the blood vessels that bring blood to the brain, which can lead to strokes.
Peripheral arterial disease is a blood vessel disease that affects the arms and legs.
Heart attacks and strokes are caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart or brain, which is mainly caused by fatty acid buildup in the walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart and brain. The key to cardiovascular disease prevention is altering risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, such as smoking, obesity, bad food, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption.
The most important risk factor you can change to prevent cardiovascular disease is a poor diet, followed by quitting smoking. Reducing salty processed foods, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol use may all assist in preventing cardiovascular disease. Eating fruit and vegetable-rich diet and engaging in regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes per day) are two actions you may take to help protect yourself from cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin K and D Have a Synergistic Effect.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, vitamins D and K may have a synergistic effect on cardiovascular health. Low levels of these vitamins have been linked to elevated blood pressure and increased artery wall thickness. It has been demonstrated that vitamin D stimulates the creation of proteins that rely on vitamin K. Vitamin D and vitamin K can both be taken as supplements on their own, but they may be more helpful when taken together.
Dal Canto et al. investigated 601 people aged 70 and up and discovered that those with low levels of vitamin D and vitamin K had higher BMIs, a higher prevalence of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure than those with normal levels of these vitamins. Furthermore, people with low vitamin D and K levels were more likely to use heart disease drugs. Finally, 321 people with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure showed alterations in the structure of their heart muscle, and these individuals also had low levels of vitamin D and K.
High-dose vitamin D supplementation of about 4,000 international units (IU) was associated with improvement in cardiac function in the VINDICATE study (Effects of Vitamin D on Cardiac Function in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure), meaning the heart pumped better when supplemented with high doses of vitamin D. Higher vitamin K levels in women (but not in men) improved their left ventricular mass index, which measures how big the heart is and how hard it works due to high blood pressure.
Vitamin D and K Intake Recommendations
If you want to increase your vitamin K consumption, in addition to eating leafy greens, many multivitamin supplements offer about 75 percent of the recommended dosage of vitamin K. Other dietary supplements that contain solely vitamin K may be supplemented with calcium, magnesium, or vitamin D. Men should consume 120 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K per day, while women should consume 90 mcg. Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin K supplements because it can interact with other drugs, especially those that keep blood from clotting.
In addition to consuming fish and milk and producing vitamin D via sun exposure, you can supplement with vitamin D, which is available in multivitamins, as a standalone supplement, or in combination with calcium. Micrograms and international units are used to measure vitamin D, with one mcg equaling 40 IU. The recommended daily dosage for adults up to 70 years old is 600 IU or 15 mcg, while for people 70 years or beyond, the recommended daily allowance is 800 IU. Many professional organisations advocate greater doses, with the Endocrine Society recommending 1,500–2,000 IU daily for adults.
Protecting your cardiovascular health is one of the factors that contribute to living a long and healthy life. Many cardiovascular disease risk factors, as stated by the WHO, are modifiable. You can also help safeguard your cardiovascular health by taking vitamin K and D. Before beginning any new supplement, check with your doctor to see if you are on any drugs that will interfere with dietary supplements. Remember that a nutritious diet rich in leafy greens and vegetables can help you live a long, healthy, and happy life by preventing significant cardiovascular diseases.