Foods rich in vitamin K

The richest foods in vitamin K are dark leafy greens, fermented foods, chicken, and certain cheeses. As there aren’t too many common foods high in vitamin K2, many people may benefit from taking a vitamin K2 supplement.

How much vitamin K do we need a day?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men.

Actually, there are two types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is mainly found in plant-based foods (dark leafy greens, in particular), while vitamin K2 is naturally present in animal-based foods.

Furthermore, the human body can synthesize some vitamin K2. Good bacteria in the gut can convert the abundant vitamin K1 into vitamin K2.

If you’re following a healthy, well-balanced diet, you shouldn’t worry about your daily vitamin K intake.

Foods rich in vitamin K1

The best dietary sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables.

Foods rich in vitamin K are collards greens, spinach, parsley, coriander leaf, lambs quarters (known as wild spinach), turnip greens, oregano, basil, marjoram, mustard greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, dandelion, cress, kale, stinging nettles, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions, and cabbage.

Vitamin K1
(mcg per 100g)
Basil, dried1,714
Sage, dried1,714
Thyme, dried1,714
Parsley, dried 1,640
Coriander leaf,
Parsley, dried1,359
Amaranth leaves,
Swiss chard830
Dandelion greens778
Collard greens623
Marjoram, dried622
Oregano, dried622
Mustard greens593
Dandelion greens551
Turnip greens519
Stinging Nettles499
Common foods rich in vitamin K1.

Other common plant-based foods containing decent amounts of vitamin K are sweet potato leaves, chicory greens, lettuce, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, arugula, carrots, green beans, pine nuts, seaweeds like kelp, and blueberries.

Additionally, many spices, such as black pepper, red pepper, chili powder, curry powder, paprika, and cayenne are good dietary sources of vitamin K.

Getting high doses of vitamin K either from food or dietary supplements is considered pretty safe. Only people who take certain drugs, such as blood thinners, should be very cautious with consumed vitamin K doses.

Always consult your physician before changing your diet or taking dietary supplements.

Foods rich in vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is found mainly in animal-based or fermented foods.

However, the richest food in vitamin K2 is called natto. Natto is traditional Japanese food. It’s actually fermented soybeans. It contains almost 110 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g![1]

Another plant-based food rich in vitamin K2 is Sauerkraut. It provides 5.5 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g.

Chicken is the richest common food in vitamin K2, though. It contains about 10 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g. Other meat products contain much lower doses of vitamin K.

Fish contains negligible amounts of vitamin K2 as well. Only eel is particularly high in vitamin K2. It contains 63 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g.

Egg yolk and whole-fat dairy products are also poor in vitamin K2.[2]

Only certain types of fermented cheese are particularly rich in vitamin K2. For instance, Pecorino, Münster, Camembert, Emmental, Stilton, Norvegia, and Gamalost contain 40-94 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100g!

Can I get enough Vitamin K2 from diet?

It is possible to get enough vitamin K2 from your diet, but it depends on your dietary choices.

If you regularly consume foods like natto, nattokinase, aged cheeses, or fermented vegetables, you might be getting sufficient amounts.

Also, you should look for foods like grass-fed beef, chicken liver (smaller amounts than beef liver), or egg yolks, which contain some vitamin K2 (significantly less though).

However, for many people, especially those with limited dietary variety or following restrictive diets, reaching recommended daily intake through food alone can be challenging.

Do I need Vitamin K2 Supplements?

Whether you need vitamin K2 supplements depends on your individual needs and health condition. Consulting a doctor or registered dietitian is recommended to determine if supplementation is necessary for you.

Individuals with osteoporosis, at risk of fractures, might need additional K2 support through supplements under medical guidance.

You could take a multivitamin supplement containing vitamin K2. There are dietary supplements containing both vitamin D and K2. These vitamins support cardiovascular and bone health. You’ll find a wide variety on iHerb.

It’s also tricky to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from diet. Vegans, vegetarians, and people who follow a plant-based diet may benefit the most from taking a vitamin D supplement.

For people taking blood thinners, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent intake of vitamin K.

Supplementation with vitamin K2 supplements, particularly those containing the menaquinone-7 (MK-7) form, can help ensure optimal levels of this nutrient in the body. MK-7 has a longer half-life compared to other forms of vitamin K2, allowing for less frequent dosing and potentially greater bioavailability.

What foods should I eat to boost the daily vitamin K intake?

Cheese and other dairy products are high in saturated fatty acids, which can be dangerous for the heart. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 13 g of saturated fats a day. Higher doses significantly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.[3]

So, you better consume a wide variety of vegetables in order to get high doses of vitamin K1.

Furthermore, gut bacteria will convert excess vitamin K1 into vitamin K2. Thus, it’s crucial to follow a fiber-rich diet that keeps balanced microbiota. Also, you could drink kefir, which is the richest common food in probiotics! As a bonus, it supports weight loss and boosts immunity.

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