Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body uses but does not store. It is responsible for hemostasis, the process that causes blood to coagulate, and bone formation. It also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin K7 is a form of vitamin K found in Japanese fermented food, natto, and in supplements. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and are only as good as the manufacturer. Always consult your doctor or health care provider before taking any supplements.
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Vitamin K helps the absorption of calcium into bone. Vitamin K deficiency may be associated with the development of osteoporosis. A study by M. Stevenson, et al., published in the 2009 issue of “Health Technology Assessment” at the University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research, United Kingdom; studied the daily intake of vitamin K in elderly women in Japan and the UK. Postmenopausal Japanese women in eastern Japan have a higher level of vitamin K7 than women in western Japan or in English women. The main difference in the diet is natto, a traditional Japanese food popular in eastern Japan. Eastern Japanese women have four times the levels of vitamin K7 than the other groups and their incidence of hip fracture is lower.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin K7 help protect cells including brain cells, notes Dr. Alan S. Peterson, Associate Director, Family & Community Medicine at Walter L. Aument Family Health Center in an article published in “The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital.” Vitamin K is important in cellular functions such as cell adhesion, cell proliferation and protection against cell death, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Vitamin K7 is found in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, salad greens and in natto.
Vitamin K7 is an important part of the blood's ability to clot. The body's ability to stop bleeding through clot formation is important to prevent uncontrolled bleeding and death. Vitamin K7 is one of the seven K-dependent clotting factors that allows for calcium binding.
People who are at risk for blood clots, which can travel to the heart or brain resulting in stroke or heart attack, may take anticoagulants. Vitamin K7 can interfere with these medications. Before taking any supplements, consult your health care provider especially if you are taking any medications.