Vitamin K1 and K2 break down.
Getting the daily recommended amount of Vitamin K appears to be easy since most veggies have it. The problem is with how Vitamin K is essentially broken down and absorbed. Its broken done into two paths, K1 and K2 and the later is were things get complicated. Vitamin K is important and getting enough as we age should be something we take in consideration. For vegans its an important vitamin that should be carefully looked into.
K1 is important for blood clotting, it prevents excessive bleeding. Without it a simple cut could become dangerous.
K2 is by far more exciting. It delivers calcium to all the correct places such as bones and teeth while at the same time preventing it from building up in the wrong places such as arteries, skin and can help prevent kidney stones. Since it improves bone density getting the proper amount is important as we age.
The best sources of K1 are dark leafy greens, such as collards and kale. Its absorption rate is low, but since it’s a fat-soluble that can be improved by consuming those leafy greens with some healthy fats (avocados are a great source of healthy fats and contain K1).
K2 is were things get messy and hard to explain. K2 is broken down into various forms of menaquinones (MKs) – these range from 4 to 13. The numbers represent the tail length of the chemical structure. The body can convert K1 and possibly other K2 (MKs) into MK-4 through healthy bacteria. MK-4 is present in animal products and sauerkraut (Wikipedia page) while MK-7 is found in fermented foods, especially Natto.
If you are taking medication for any blood disorders you should ask your doctor before trying to up your vitamin K intake.
Vegans will have to rely on healthy gut bacteria and sauerkraut (very low amounts) to get the job done when it comes to MK-4. If you can stomach it, Natto is the best source for MK-7. It would be beneficial for vegans to get plenty of K1 and K2 MK-7 as well to maximize the amount of MK-4 the body can produce, although its unknown just how much the body can and does produce. Another option is to find synthetic K vitamins that contain all the different forms. For Vegetarians hard cheese and Natto would be a good source of (MK’s). Check this wikipedia article for a break down on which foods have MK.
When K2 is paired with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium its most effective. So go and eat some natto, drink a glass of soy / almond milk and eat a handful of spinach and run outside on a sunny day and bask in the sun for 10 – 20 minutes.