Olive oil is a type of vegetable oil made from olives used in cooking as well as other applications outside of the culinary arts. Although fats should be consumed sparingly, olive oil is a good choice as it offers several health benefits. It is high in healthy fats and contains a good amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K is an important fat-soluble vitamin required for the blood clotting process.
Content and Dietary Reference Intakes
Vitamin K is the most abundant vitamin in olive oil with 1 tbsp. or 13 g providing 10 percent daily value of vitamin K, based upon a 2,000 calorie diet, according to Calorie Lab. For more clarification, a teaspoon of olive oil provides 3.4 percent daily value of vitamin K and a cup provides 162.5 percent. The Institute of Medicine recommends 120 mcg and 90 mcg of vitamin K per day for adult men and women, respectively. Adolescents and teenagers ages 9 to 18 should consume 60 to 75 micrograms per day and children ages 1 to 8 should consume 30 to 55 mcg. Infants up to one year of age need between 2 and 2.5 mcg per day.
Forms of Vitamin K
The three primary forms of vitamin K include K1, K2 and K3, scientifically named phylloquinone, menaquinone and menadione or menaphthone, respectively, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Plants synthesize vitamin K1 and bacteria produce vitamin K2. Vitamin K3 is a synthetic or man-made version of the vitamin. Olive oil contains vitamin K1, which is common in green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils, and is the primary form of dietary vitamin K. Generally, half of the recommended vitamin K intake comes from dietary sources, vitamin K1, and the other half is produced by intestinal bacteria, in the form of vitamin K2.
Functions of Vitamin K
Vitamin K plays an important role in the coagulation process and is often referred to as the blood-clotting vitamin. The coagulation or clotting cascade utilizes seven vitamin-K dependent clotting factors to form a blood clot that stops bleeding. Vitamin K also supports healthy bones and may help prevent hip fractures, according to Harvard Health Publications.
Of the common vegetable oils, olive oil contains the least amount of vitamin K with 8.1 mcg per tbsp. as compared to canola or soybean oil, which contain 16 and 25 mcg per tbsp. respectively, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Olive oil does contain a good amount of healthy fats, specifically monounsaturated fats, which may help lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels, but it should be used sparingly and in place of unhealthier fats such as butter. Although vitamin K deficiency is rare, a variety of other, healthier foods contain higher amounts of vitamin K as compared to olive oil.
- Calorie Lab: Oil, olive, salad or cooking Nutrition Facts
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K
- Harvard Health Publications: Listing of Vitamins
- MayoClinic.com: Olive oil: What are the health benefits?