vitamin k foods sources vegan
Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT


Vitamin K is another fat-soluble vitamin essential for body functions. It comes in 2 forms: phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2). [2]

Vitamin K1 is the main dietary form of vitamin K and is present abundantly in plant sources, whereas K2 is available through fermented foods and animal sources, but only in small quantities. [2]

Vitamin K helps to make various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones. [2]

Vitamin K is found throughout the body including the liver, brain, heart, pancreas, and bone. It is broken down very quickly and hence rarely reaches toxicity level. [2]

Compared to the other fat-soluble vitamins, very small amounts of vitamin K circulate in the blood. [1]

  • Vitamin K is absorbed in the small intestine. The body retains only about 30% to 40% of a vitamin k oral physiological dose, while about 20% is excreted in the urine and 40% to 50% in the faeces via bile. [1]
  • The absorption rate from vegetables is enhanced by the presence of dietary fats.  [3]
  • This rapid metabolism is responsible for low vitamin K levels in the blood and tissue stores. [5]
  • Vitamin K is found throughout the body including the liver, brain, heart, pancreas, and bone. [1]
  • Human liver stores normally comprise about 90% menaquinones and 10% phylloquinone and in case of severe dietary depletion, liver concentration can possibly reduce to 25% of their initial levels within 3 days, [5]
  • Like other fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K is absorbed in the intestine and transported to the liver which then repackages it to low-density lipoproteins. [1]
  • Vitamin K is excreted primarily in the bile, but also, to a lesser extent, in the urine. [3]
  • Vitamin K is rapidly metabolised and broken down in the body very quickly, hence it rarely reaches toxic levels even with high intakes. [1]
  • Therefore, about 60-70% of vitamin K1 absorbed through meals might be lost through excretion. [5]

Body Functions

Recommended Daily Intake

how much vitamin k is recommended daily

Deficiency Symptoms

Symptomatic vitamin K deficiency and impairment of normal haemostatic control in healthy adults may take more than 2–3 weeks to develop at ‘low’ phylloquinone intake (i.e. < 10 mcg/day). [8]

Vitamin K Food Sources

foods high in vitamin k vegan

Excessive Intake/ Toxicity Side Effects

Vitamin K toxicity is uncommon overall but is more prevalent in formula-fed infants. Hence, no Upper tolerable limits have been established for vitamin K because of its low toxicity potential. [3]

Groups At Risk of Vitamin K Deficiency

Vitamin K Interaction With Other Nutrients

  • Vitamin E – Elevated intakes of vitamin E may antagonize the action of vitamin K. [3]
  • FatsConsuming fats while eating vitamin K enriched veggies increases the absorption rate. [1]

Nutrient Profiles For Food Groups

Fruits ( i )

Raw or frozen – 3.18 mcg
Canned – 2.82 mcg
Juice – 2.67 mcg
Dried 2.67 mcg

Legumes ( i )

Flour – 12.59 mcg
Raw – 3.33 mcg

Nuts & Seeds ( i )

Nuts – 3.43 mcg
Seeds – 2.86 mcg

Veggies ( i )

Raw or Frozen – 51.13 mcg
Cooked – 52.14 mcg
Canned – 46.02 mcg
Dried – 24.68 mcg

Cereal grains & Flour ( i )

Flour – 1.29 mcg
Raw grains – 0.67 mcg

Oils ( i )

Industrial oils – 54 mcg
Cooking oils – 22.42 mcg


Medically reviewed by Sara Osman,RD,PT

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