2. There are also synthetic forms of vitamin K, known as K3, K4, and K5. But I’m not into synthetics (my collection of leisure suits to the contrary), so we’re doing to ignore them.
3. K1 comes from plants; K2 is created from bacteria in the large intestine. When most people talk about vitamin K (as they do constantly at smart cocktail parties, political rallies and college keggers), they’re talking about K1 – and so shall we from this point forward.
4. Henrik Dam, a Danish scientist, discovered vitamin K in 1929 while he was doing studies on cholesterol. His 1943 Nobel Prize was awarded partially for his vitamin K discovery.
5. You want good clotting in your blood? Vitamin K is your guy, supplying 4 of the 13 proteins that help with clotting.
6. Bones your thing? Vitamin K plays a role in bone development and maintenance, too. (It seems that K2 – which I know I said I wasn’t going to mention again, but I lied – maybe be more effective in reducing fracturing risk or reversing bone loss.)
7. Applied topically, it can help fight spider veins, post-operative bruising and (perhaps) circles under the eyes. (There’s no amount of K cream that could tackle my baggy under-eyes.)
8. The big K also is an antidote for some types of rat poison.
9. “Golly, Pete, where can I get me some of this vitamin K?” you’re probably asking (especially if you’ve just accidentally ingested some Rat-B-Gone). Lots of places, such as kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chard, parsley, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts. (Want some of that K2 – yes, I know, I mentioned it again – then try meat, eggs, dairy or Natto, a fermented Japanese breakfast food.) Some recipes involving some of these vegetables can be found here, here, here and here.
10. There is no known toxicity associated with K1 or K2; K3, however, is another story (and one I’m not going to tell you).