One of the most frequent questions I receive about raising healthy children on the raw vegan lifestyle involves Vitamin K2, which is so important for growing bones. Many recent articles attempt to show that Vitamin K2 can be obtained only from animal sources, and many vegans and raw vegans now question whether they can get proper amounts of K2 through their vegan lifestyles.
Because Vitamin K largely aids in the clotting of blood, symptoms of a Vitamin K deficiency include easy bruising, gastrointestinal bleeding, nosebleeds, difficult menstruation and blood in the urine. K2 directs calcium to bones and boosts bone density, also reducing calcification of arteries and prevents certain cancers.
There are no known vegetables that contain Vitamin K2. Natto, a bad-tasting fermented soy product, contains the greatest amount of the vegan form known of K2, but this Vitamin K2 is formed during the processing and isn’t natural.
Interestingly, if the articles say this vitamin can be obtained only by eating animals and their products, and those animals are vegan plant-eaters, then where do scientists think these animals are getting the vitamin to give us? It is not generally known that leafy green vegetables contain high amounts of Vitamin K. Kale alone contains more than 1,325 percent of our daily requirement of Vitamin K in about 2 cups of this excellent leafy green. Our bodies are able to convert this Vitamin K1 to Vitamin K2. Spinach, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens, Swiss chard, bok choy, peas and parsley also contain high amounts of Vitamin K. Studies show that Vitamin K and its components are incredibly resilient and can withstand both cooking and freezing, although we consume more nutrients intact by eating fruits and vegetables raw.
Many parents are concerned about their children’s Vitamin K requirements being met when they aren’t eating enough leafy green vegetables. There are also significant amounts of Vitamin K in fruits, however. This information was estimated by NutritionData.com. Kiwi fruit, avocado, blackberries, pomegranate and grapes contain impressive amounts of Vitamin K.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, men 19 years and older should consume 120 micrograms of Vitamin K each day, while women 19 years and older should consume 90 micrograms. By including lots of fresh, leafy green vegetables, you should have no problem getting the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K.
Some reports have expressed fear that the conversion of K1 to K2 is insufficient through bacteria in the intestines. It never helps to come from a place of fear. Fear makes us rush to find quick solutions, and in today’s commercial world, fear often leads to consumers succumbing to the propaganda of companies that pay for their own research to substantiate those fears in their interest for more profit.
Do the dairy and meat industries pay for the research that promotes their products? Dr. Timothy Trader points out: “Pregnant and lactating mothers need to have a high amount of green vegetables in their diet to overcome ‘Vitamin K deficiency bleeding’ that is expected to occur relatively soon after birth, usually rectified with a Vitamin K injection. Most average mothers are low in Vitamin K, Vitamin K has a hard time passing through the placenta, and Vitamin K can be low in mother’s milk. However, eating lots of leafy green vegetables can make all the difference.”
Some studies show that Vitamin K2 is made by intestinal flora, and the conversion to K2 can be difficult for some people if they have insufficient beneficial bacteria. It has been shown, however, that most animals, including humans, convert the Vitamin K1 they get from plants (phylloquinone) to Vitamin K2 (menaquinone-4). Dr. Trader believes that when people show up deficient, they aren’t eating enough leafy green vegetables. He says as a low-fat raw vegan he gets an average of more than 1,000 percent of the DRI of Vitamin K and doesn’t have a deficiency of Vitamin K2.
A study done with breastfeeding mothers demonstrates proof that Vitamin K becomes Vitamin K2 in our bodies. This study with breastfeeding mothers shows that supplementation of Vitamin K, giving phylloquinone to lactating mothers, raised phylloquinone (K1) and menaquinone-4 (K2). Read the article in its entirety with research.
Vitamin K2 can also be made in the liver, pancreas, and other organs, showing we do convert K1 to K2 and K4 as well as the remaining K vitamins. View this research.
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin necessary for protein modification and blood clotting. Studies show that Vitamin K plays a role in treating osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, and eating foods high in Vitamin K help protect us from cancer and heart disease. Unless you take medications to prevent blood clotting such as Coumadin (warfarin) there is no risk of Vitamin K toxicity. We should be eating an abundance of the foods that provide Vitamin K.
By eating plenty of fresh leafy green vegetables and fruits, you can ensure to obtain more than adequate levels of Vitamin K as a vegan. This enables you to make your needed amount of Vitamin K2.
Read Karen Ranzi’s article “Vitamin K2 in the Raw Vegan Lifestyle” on SuperHealthyChildren.com for further important details and research used in this article.