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Wellness Please

Vitamin K? Potassium? What’s the Difference?

There are so many vitamins and minerals and nutrients to keep track of, it hardly seems like we’ll be able to. Not to mention the fact that many of these micronutrients are labeled similarly or simply with letters. For example, Vitamin K. It’s obviously a vitamin, but what does it do? Is Vitamin K the same as potassium?

These two get confused because of potassium’s label on the periodic table. Potassium and Vitamin K are not the same. Actually, the “k” on the periodic table represents potassium, which is a mineral. While they are both micronutrients, Vitamin K is a vitamin and potassium is an electrolyte.

While Vitamin K and potassium might get mixed up here and there, their differences are pretty identifiable. If you’re curious about the specifics and benefits of these two micronutrients, we have you covered.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps with blood thickness and bone strength. While it’s not found on the periodic table, it is found in leafy greens, vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, fish, and meats. It is also in eggs. If you’re deficient in Vitamin K, you may also be deficient in iron. Some symptoms include bruising easily, quickly bleeding from cuts or the nose, and sometimes it can mean heavy menstrual bleeding.

On the other hand, too much Vitamin K in the diet may lead to easy blood clotting for those who may have kidney diseases or other medical conditions.

Vitamin K Intake

Being low in Vitamin K leads to very fluid blood, which can be dangerous for several medical conditions and also contributes to anemia, or iron deficiency, because of the loss of iron in the blood. Generally speaking, humans need about 100 micrograms of Vitamin K per day. This varies based on age and gender. While Vitamin K supplements are available, they are not a common daily vitamin and the consumption of these supplements should be monitored.

If you feel you are experiencing unwanted side effects of taking too much Vitamin K, review this list and contact a health professional with questions or clarifications.

Potassium

Many people think of bananas when they hear about the health benefits of potassium. However, there are many foods and fruits out there which yield high amounts of potassium to those who eat them. According to Michigan Medicine, here is a list of high-potassium foods, which does actually include bananas.

Potassium is actually an electrolyte, which literally creates a type of electricity in the body fluids. When someone is low in potassium, they might feel fatigued, heart and breathing discomfort, muscle aches and cramps, digestive issues, and mood changes. Too much potassium can lead to minor heart issues, as well.

Potassium Intake 

Humans need around 4,000 mg of potassium per day, which will differ depending on age and gender. Some quick ways of incorporating more potassium-rich foods into your diet may include eating more potatoes, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and trying more apricots and fat-free yogurts in your meals, particularly breakfasts.

In general, you won’t find potassium supplements over 100 mg (a very low dosage compared to the daily recommended amount) because taking potassium supplements in high dosages can be dangerous. While it mainly causes upset stomachs, it can aggravate other known or unknown medical conditions.

“K” on the Periodic Table

While Vitamin K and potassium might get confused because of the periodic table, others might also be confused by how potassium actually became “k” on the periodic table. This particular block on the table was named after the Latin word “kalium”, which means “potash”, which basically also means potassium. While simply looking at the “k” on the table might remind us of Vitamin K, the two are not related.

Vitamin K1 Versus K2

Vitamin K is more complex than some of the other dietary vitamins and micronutrients because it is actually split up into two naturally-derived and nontoxic forms, K1 and K2, and then has three other brothers, K3, K4, and K5. The last three are not natural and haven’t been allowed to be sold as supplements or medicine to the general public, although there is a possibility that K4 might be beneficial for those suffering from osteoporosis.

The first two  K’s, Vitamin K1 (which comes from leafy plants) and Vitamin K2 (which can be found in certain dairy and fermented foods), are not dangerous. While Vitamin K1 is the most common supplement and medicine used in the U.S., more and more people are trying K2 to see if it will fill any gaps which K1 does not.

Is Vitamin K Potassium?

For example, A-D-K Essential Trinity is a wonderful vitamin-rich supplement containing Vitamins A, D3, and K2, which is there mainly to help absorb the Vitamin D3. This super-booster of a supplement allows the body to absorb needed nutrients in a quick, simple, all-natural form.

Are Potassium and Vitamin K Linked?

While they are not the same thing, potassium and Vitamin K are linked for those who have blood-thinning or blood-thickening medical needs. If you are taking a blood thinner, avoiding Vitamin K is advisable. Also, if you’re taking Coumadin or another blood thinner but you feel you need to take a potassium supplement, it is likely that this is safe.

However, always consult with your doctor or health provider before beginning to take any new supplements or OTC drugs while you are taking blood thinners. Overall, make sure to maintain a healthy diet and use a high quality multivitamin like Dose of Health.

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