What Does Vitamin K1 Do?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/17/2024

When people are considering what vitamins they need to intake, vitamin K1 is oftentimes overlooked.

Learn about the importance of vitamin K1, how it affects your body, and what you can do to increase your dietary intake.

Understanding the Role of Vitamin K1 in Blood Clotting

Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is a vital factor in the blood clotting process. Without it, your body can't make prothrombin, an essential protein for clot formation.

The Dual Nature of Vitamin K1 in Blood Clotting

Interestingly enough, vitamin K1 doesn't just promote clot formation. On one hand, it helps produce prothrombin to form clots and stop bleeding.

On the other hand, it prevents excessive clotting through proteins C and S. Research suggests that this balancing act is vital for maintaining cardiovascular health.

Vitamin K illustration

Vitamin K1 and Blood Thinners

If you're taking blood thinners such as Coumadin or Eliquis, understanding how they interact with vitamin K1 is crucial. These drugs work by blocking the effects of vitamin K, slowing down its ability to assist in forming clots.

This may be beneficial if you have conditions where preventing clots is necessary, but it means keeping dietary intake consistent so as not to offset their effectiveness.

The Impact of Vitamin K1 on Bone Health

Vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, is essential for bone formation through its involvement in producing osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to bones.

The Importance of Vitamin K1 for Bone Formation

Calcium alone isn't enough to form strong bones. Vitamin K1 helps activate osteocalcin, which incorporates calcium into the skeleton.

Without sufficient levels of this crucial vitamin, your body can't use enough available calcium to strengthen your bones.

Studies have shown increased bone density and reduced risk of fractures among those who get plenty of vitamin K from their diet or supplements. So remember, healthy bones need more than just milk.

The Consequences of Vitamin K1 Deficiency on Bones

A deficiency in vitamin K could lead to weak or brittle bones. Studies found higher fracture rates among individuals with low intake or serum concentrations of this nutrient.

Beyond the apparent discomfort and inconvenience caused by such fractures, they can pose serious risks. These can include hip fractures, which are linked with increased mortality rates among seniors.

To keep our skeletal system robust throughout life's journey, we must ensure adequate consumption and absorption of this underappreciated vitamin.

Absorption Challenges with Vitamin K1

Phylloquinone, commonly known as vitamin K1, is an essential nutrient for our health; however, it can be challenging to obtain in adequate amounts.

But sometimes, our bodies can struggle to get enough of it. The reason? Certain medical conditions hinder vitamin K1 absorption.

How Certain Medical Conditions Hinder Vitamin K1 Absorption

Gut health plays a vital role in the uptake of this nutrient. Conditions like constipation, liver problems, and insulin resistance are notorious culprits that block its absorption.

Additionally, gallbladder issues and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) might throw a wrench into your body's efforts to use vitamin K1 effectively. Both conditions interfere with fat digestion - which is crucial for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin K1.

If you've got colon damage or ileitis due to diseases such as Crohn's or diverticulitis, these too can affect how well your body takes up this critical nutrient.

Also worth noting is gastric bypass surgery; because it alters the digestive tract structure, it may lead to less effective absorption of nutrients, including vitamin K1.

The Relationship Between Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2

Discover the difference between vitamin K1 and K2 and how their unique relationship works in the body.

Vitamin K1 as a Precursor to Vitamin K2

Vitamin K1 acts as a precursor to vitamin K2 in our bodies. Our body’s microbes play an integral role in this process. They convert dietary or supplemental vitamin K1 into its more potent cousin, vitamin K4.

This transformation is essential because while both vitamins contribute positively to our health, each has its specialty areas.

The Necessity of Regular Vitamin K1 Intake

Unlike many other vitamins, our bodies can't store vitamin K1. This fact makes it essential to get enough from your daily diet.

Why Regular Intake of Vitamin K1 is Essential

Vitamin K1 is a crucial factor in both blood clotting and bone health. But unlike its fat-soluble siblings A, D, and E, the body doesn't stash away any extras for later use.

This means we need a constant supply to meet our nutritional needs. A study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate more leafy greens rich in vitamin K had better heart health than those who didn’t.

Vitamin K deficiency, Doctor writing on transparent screen

Symptoms of Vitamin K1 Deficiency

Lack of this vital nutrient can lead to severe complications like arterial calcification, where calcium builds up in the arteries, or joint issues due to poor bone health.

The National Institutes Of Health (NIH) reports easy bruising and excessive bleeding as signs you might be low on vitamin K.


Vitamin K1 plays a crucial role in blood clotting and bone health, yet it often goes overlooked in discussions about essential nutrients.

Its involvement in producing clotting proteins and activating osteocalcin for bone formation underscores its importance in maintaining overall health. However, challenges in absorption and deficiency risks highlight the need for attention to dietary intake.

Understanding the significance of vitamin K1 and its impact on various bodily functions is key to ensuring optimal well-being.

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