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The boom of the K vitamins

The boom of the K vitamins

Right now there’s a buzz surrounding the elusive vitamins K and K2.

Aside from new born babies having to receive a jab of Vitamin K, it’s a pretty little-about about vitamin. We don’t need much of it in our bodies, but there’s been a suggestion that Vitamins K, and especially K2 can help with bone health and have other benefits. As such, the supplements are now flying off the shelves.

Globally food, drink, vitamin and supplement product launches containing vitamin K2 have gone up 183 per cent between 2008 and 2012.

Its better known relation – K1, had a healthy but slower growth of 96 per cent over that period.

According to the NHS, Vitamin K prevents blood clotting and there is increasing evidence to suggest it is needed to build strong bones.

Despite the rush, fully grown adults only need approximately 0.001mg a day of Vitamin K for each kilogram of their body weight, which is a pretty small amount.

And for all our over-excitability about buying supplements of the Vitamin, there are also concerns that too much could do more harm than good. And there is also the feeling amongst some that taking supplements sends out the wrong message – is taking a tablet just an easier way to eat a balanced diet?

The NHS says that this amount of Vitamin K can be achieved by simply eating a varied and balanced diet. You can find it in green leafy veg such as broccoli, spinach and also cereals. There are also small amounts found in meat, chicken and also dairy so we don’t really need to go pill popping to get all the nutrients we need.

Perhaps the huge rise in stocking up on the vitamin is a sign that we would much rather have a quick fix, than actually fixing ourselves something healthy and nutritious at meal times. Vitamins and supplements have a huge following, but many of us can rely too much on the tablets, rather than concentrating on eating a balanced diet.

Omega-3 fish oils, zinc, iron, Vitamins D, C and A are all readily available to take in pill-form, thereby seemingly giving us the okay to skip oily fish, green leafy vegetables and fruit from our diets.

We’ll always be fascinated by taking supplements and vitamins and the latest run on the K duo seems to be due to recent research by Mintel, who reveal that Vitamin K2 has greater health benefits than were originally thought – with a longer half-life than Vitamin K1 –of up to 72 hours, it is being seen as a bone health ingredient which means it remains biologically active in the body for longer.

The European Food Safety Authority has backed the health claims that stating that “Vitamin K contributes to maintenance of normal bone," and "Vitamin K contributes to normal blood coagulation".

An interest in bone health with an ageing population more concerned about osteoporosis has helped with the spike of K vitamin sales and the amount of new products with bone health claims having grown 44 per cent since 2009, according to Mintel.

Calcium and Vitamin D are currently the most popular vitamins on the shelves, but who knows – maybe K will take over.

If you’d rather get your Vitamin K from food, check out these handy recipes:

Greek sautéed kale


  • 2 tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 large handfuls chopped kale leaves
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. feta cheese 

In a pan, combine onion, oil, oregano, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until softened, for around 3 minutes. Add the kale and stir to coat with seasoning. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until wilted. Stir in pepper flakes. Sprinkle with feta and serve.

Roasted Pepper and Parsley Tabbouleh


NOTE: Ingredients for a changed serving size are based on a calculation and are not reviewed by the author or tested. Please also consider scaling up or down cooking containers as needed.

  • 4 oz. medium-grain bulgur wheat
  • 1 pint boiling water
  • 3 large tomatoes (12 ounces total), chopped, 1 1/2 cups
  • 8 oz. packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 oz. drained canned chickpeas
  • 6 oz. chopped hothouse cucumber
  • 4 oz.  chopped, jarred, roasted red peppers, blotted dry
  • 4 oz. cup sliced fresh spring onion
  • 4 oz. cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and let stand for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain through a fine-mesh colander. Pour the bulgur onto a muslin cloth and strain over a bowl. Wrap the towel over the bulgur and twist the ends in opposite directions to get out all of the water. Transfer the bulgur to a large bowl. Fluff it with a fork or break up any clumps with your fingers.


Add the tomatoes, parsley, chickpeas, cucumber, roasted peppers, spring onions, mint, lemon juice, oil, salt, and black pepper. Stir to mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.