There are many supplements that supposedly help you lose weight. What about the essential vitamin k, does it play a role in weight loss?
The relationship between vitamins and minerals and weight loss is often interesting. If there is any relationship, weight loss usually comes from resolving an insufficiency or avoiding an excess intake of the vitamin or mineral.
However, there are currently no clear signs that vitamin K is heavily involved in processes that benefit weight loss. That means that for most people consuming more vitamin K will have no weight loss benefits.
On the other hand, many people can use some extra vitamin K intake for the related health benefits.
If you think you think your levels of vitamin K may be insufficient you can take a look at your diet or get your levels measured. Actively working on increasing your vitamin K intake may not benefit weight loss but it may benefit your health.
Since there are currently no tolerable upper intake levels for vitamin K, it is easier to aim too low than too high.
How vitamin K may help you lose weight
Vitamins and minerals play important roles in all kinds of processes inside of your body. If you don’t consume enough of these vitamins and minerals many of these processes take place in lesser or even zero amounts. This is usually bad for your health.
The opposite is also sometimes the case. Consuming too much of certain vitamins and minerals can cause negative side effects too.
Right now it doesn’t look like vitamin K is heavily involved in processes that benefit weight loss.
You may want to ensure your vitamin K levels are at a level great for your health anyway, not for any weight loss benefits.
Vitamin K daily recommendations
Below you can find a table with adequate intakes for adults, infants, and children (1).
An adequate intake is a dietary recommendation used when there isn’t enough data to calculate an average requirement. An adequate intake is the average nutrient level consumed daily by a typical healthy population that is assumed to be adequate for the population’s needs (2).
There are different types of vitamin K but these recommendations don’t make a distinction.
Since healthy people are generally able to deal with vitamin K from food in higher amounts you may want to aim for higher intakes than these numbers.
Obviously, not all people have the same bodyweight, body composition, and activity levels. Hopefully one day there will be more specific dosage recommendations available. For now, these are some general intake numbers you can aim at.
The AI’s for infants are based on the calculated mean vitamin K intake of healthy breastfed infants and the assumption that infants receive prophylactic vitamin K at birth as recommended by American and Canadian pediatric societies (1).
|0-6 months||2.0 mcg||2.0 mcg|
|7-12 months||2.5 mcg||2.5 mcg|
|1-3 years||30 mcg||30 mcg|
|4-8 years||55 mcg||55 mcg|
|9-13 years||60 mcg||60 mcg|
|14-18 years||75 mcg||75 mcg||75 mcg||75 mcg|
|19+ years||120 mcg||90 mcg||90 mcg||90 mcg|
People at risk of vitamin K inadequacy
Some groups of people are more at risk of a vitamin K inadequacy than others. Examples include (1):
- Newborns not treated with vitamin K at birth
- People with malabsorption disorders
If you are in one of these groups you may need to pay more attention to get an adequate vitamin K intake.
Even if you are not in one of these groups you may want to pay attention to consuming enough vitamin K.
Ways to get enough vitamin K
In many cases it is luckily not that hard to increase your vitamin K levels. This can be done both naturally with whole foods and supplementing.
Eating whole foods with vitamin K in them is usually the most recommended way to increase your intake. The reason for this is the wide variety of additional nutrients you get.
Some examples of foods with relatively high amounts of vitamin K include:
- Kale: about 817 mcg per 100 grams (4)
- Spinach: about 483 mcg per 100 grams (5)
- Broccoli (cooked): about 141 mcg per 100 grams (3)
- Cashew nuts: about 34.1 mcg per 100 grams (6)
- Natto: about 23.1 mcg per 100 grams (7)
- Soybeans (cooked): about 19.2 mcg per 100 grams (8)
When you know what foods to focus on it becomes easier to reach your daily recommended intake for vitamin K. Besides these examples, you can find vitamin K in a wide variety of other whole foods, mainly in leafy green vegetables.
The next option to increase your vitamin K intake is by taking dietary supplements. These are pills, capsules, tablets, or liquids with concentrated quantities of vitamin K.
While vitamin K supplements are generally considered safe, getting your nutrients from whole foods is often better. This way you get a wide variety of other important nutrients too.
Can you consume too much vitamin K?
One thing you do have to keep in mind is that you can also consume too much of certain vitamins and minerals. This is called the tolerable upper intake level, the highest level of nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals in the general population (9).
At the moment there is no tolerable upper intake level established for vitamin K. This means that it is unlikely for healthy individuals to see negative health effects from consuming more vitamin K than the daily adequate intakes with dietary vitamin K sources (1).
Even with this in mind, it may be smart to talk to your doctor before supplementing vitamin K to make sure it is actually needed.
Even if an individual would be insufficient in vitamin K, resolving this insufficiency may not influence weight loss.
You can ensure that your vitamin K levels are healthy to avoid any side effects from insufficiencies but adding vitamin K to your diet will likely not benefit your weight loss in significant amounts.
There are no tolerable upper intake levels for vitamin K established right now. That means that it may be smarter to aim for a higher vitamin K intake.