Mayo Health Care
Vitamins and Relief Vitamin K for Leg Cramps
Most often, the effects of vitamins and vitamin deficiencies are spread over a period of time. If your body isn’t getting sufficient amounts of a particular vitamin, it may take weeks, months or even years of low levels before the effects are evident. And when you start a vitamin regimen, it may take a significant period of time for your body to begin exhibiting the effects of having sufficient levels. Vitamin K – otherwise known as potassium – is commonly associated with leg cramps. If a Vitamin K deficiency is the cause of your leg cramps, it’s likely that adding the vitamin to your daily routine can give you ease in a relatively short period of time. One of the bigger (but less commonly known) reasons for Vitamin K in the human body has to do with blood clotting.
This vitamin allows blood to coagulate so that it forms clots naturally. This makes it important for anyone taking medications to thin the blood to carefully monitor the amount of Vitamin K they add to their body. If you’re taking an anti-coagulant drug, talk to your doctor before adding any vitamin to your daily routine or changing your diet – especially if those changes involve Vitamin K supplements or foods rich in Vitamin K. One of the biggest myths about Vitamin K is that bananas are rich in Vitamin K and can be used instead of Vitamin K supplements. In fact, bananas are not a particularly good source of Vitamin K.
For example, a half-cup of broccoli contains 200 times the amount of Vitamin K in a banana. Green vegetables are among the highest in Vitamin K content, with kale, turnip greens, broccoli and spinach heading the list. Cabbage, green beans and parsley are also included on the list of foods that are high in Vitamin K. While the green foods are a good source of Vitamin K, they’re not the only source. You’ll also find that strawberries are a moderately high source of Vitamin K, as are dill pickles. Not all the Vitamin K needed by the body is consumed. In fact, this is one of the few vitamins that the body actually helps manufacture. Babies don’t have much Vitamin K present in their bodies when they’re first born, therefore an infant’s blood may not clot as it should. To combat that, many hospitals give a shot of Vitamin K to babies soon after birth to start the body’s natural processing of this important vitamin.
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