particularly prothrombin and also factors VII, IX, and X.
Vitamin K1 is made by plants, whereas vitamin K2 is of bacterial origin and is the important form for people. All other forms of vitamin K are converted to vitamin K2 in the body. There are a number of closely related compounds of the vitamin K2 series.
Vitamin K deficiency only rarely occurs because an adequate supply of the vitamin is usually present in the diet and the vitamin is synthesized by bacteria in the intestine. Deficiency of vitamin K may occur following the administration of certain drugs that inhibit the growth of the vitamin-synthesizing bacteria or as a result of disorders affecting the production or flow of bile which is necessary for the intestinal absorption of vitamin K. In newborn babies, the absence of large intestinal bacteria coupled with the absence of body stores of vitamin K may result in hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. This is a dangerous condition because there can be bleeding into critical organs such as the brain. This disorder can be prevented by the administration of vitamin K to the baby shortly after birth or to the mother during labor.
A fat-soluble substance present in green leafy vegetables was found in 1929 to be needed for coagulation of the blood to take place. The substance came to be named vitamin K. The K was for Koagulation (Danish for coagulation). A pure form of the vitamin was isolated and analyzed in 1939. Several related compounds with vitamin K activity have also been synthesized.
The 1943 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was shared by the Danish researcher Henrik Carl Peter Dam (1895-1976) for his (original) discovery of vitamin K and the American worker Edward Adelbert Doisy (1893-1986) for his discovery of the chemical nature of vitamin K.
- Vitamin O
Not a true vitamin but rather a pricey health supplement that is composed largely of salt water (plus some germanium, a trace element dangerous to health). The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged the manufacturer of Vitamin O with fraud for touting it as a cure for cancer and heart disease. The FTC said advertisements […]
- Vitamin P
An old name for substances now known as bioflavinoids. They are no longer considered to be vitamins by the strict definition of that word.
- Vitamin requirements, infant
Vitamins are organic substances that are essential in minute quantities for the proper growth, maintenance, and functioning of the baby. Vitamins must be obtained from food because the body cannot produce them. The exception is vitamin D, which can be produced by the skin when it is exposed to the sun. There are four fat-soluble […]
- Vitamin therapy
The use of vitamins to prevent or cure disease. Many physicians are now recognizing the beneficial uses of anti-oxidant and other vitamins for a wide variety of conditions, often as a complementary therapy to accompany medication or other treatments. One variant on this theme, megavitamin therapy, is still rather controversial. Always consult your doctor before […]
An essential factor in the formation of blood clotting factors. Deficiency can lead to abnormal bleeding.