While the name may sound vaguely familiar, many Americans are not entirely sure what vitamin K does for the body, or where it comes from. Some may not even be aware that it exists. It does, though, and it is essential for bone and vascular health.
Vitamin K comes primarily from leafy greens like spinach or kale, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). It is also produced in minor quantities by bacteria in the intestines, the source says.
While it does not receive all the press that vitamins C or D do, vitamin K helps the body regulate a number of crucial organ and cellular processes. Most importantly, vitamin K helps the blood form clots, a function that is necessary for the body to be able to heal from injuries, UMMC notes.
Additionally, vitamin K supports the construction of bone mineral. It also helps a specific protein, called Gas6, to operate correctly within cells in the nervous system, stomach, kidneys and lungs, the Linus Pauling Institute reports.
Without enough vitamin K in the body, excess bleeding is a possibility. Individuals who have no access to natural sources of the nutrient may consider taking a daily supplement that contains the recommended does of vitamin K.