Vitamin K is one of the most neglected vitamins—you will not hear about it often in the fitness and wellbeing industry.
Despite this low profile, vitamin K has one of the most important jobs in the body as a lynchpin of cardiovascular health.
Today, we will look at what vitamin K is, how it works, and why it’s one of the most important vitamins for your eyesight.
Stick with us to keep your eyes safe, healthy, and maybe even improve your whole-body health with vitamin K!
Risks To Eyes—Aging, Decay, And Loss
To start with, why care about risks to your eyes?
Even if they work now, your eyes are one of the most vulnerable places to aging and decline.
Conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration affect a significant number of people from as early as the 30s, and conditions like dry macular degeneration are untreatable. They can’t be cured.
We need to take care of our eyes, and fortunately, they respond to our lifestyle. Things like vitamin intake play a significant role in eye health. This means you have to take responsibility and be proactive in reducing your risk and keeping your eyes healthy.
Vision loss is progressive and a real risk, both for your quality of life and your independent mobility—as it damages balance over time. So, get ahead of aging and take care of your eyes!
Vitamin K2 - An Overview
Vitamin K’s main roles in the body are regulation of blood clotting and vascular health.
These are useful for maintaining blood health and combatting a number of the most common causes of death like cardiovascular disease, stroke (especially hemorrhagic), and many of the natural health-damaging processes of “unsuccessful” aging.
Vitamin K is important for its role in calcium regulation, too, where it signals for both calcium release and binding in other cells—like the bones.
Vitamin K2, specifically, is called menaquinone. It is less common in the diet but also provides the best form of dietary K for human consumption at higher levels, as K3 (for example) has been known to have adverse side effects.
K2 is also especially protective elsewhere in the body, as well as the eyes, with bone mineral density protection and synergy with vitamin D. This makes it a great compound for general health, even without considering eyesight.
Vitamin K also seems to have some interesting effects on the breakdown of—and protection from—vascular plaque. This, along with reduced clotting risk, makes Vitamin K an incredible way of maintaining blood and vascular health.
As we are about to see, this is a huge deal for your eyes, where vascular wellbeing and calcium control are key to longevity…
How Vitamin K Affects Eyesight
Vitamin K’s effect on capillary plaque is important.
This protective effect—reducing the risk of plaque build-up and helping to clear existing obstructions—helps prevent processes such as hemorrhaging, cell death, and retinal artery occlusion.
It’s also responsible for the maintenance of healthy blood flow and overall vascular wellbeing.
These are all dangerous in their own right, but when they stem from vitamin K deficiency or sub-optimal levels, they have the added risk of occurring together. These are a significant risk for overall sight loss and poor eye health.
Vitamin K’s regulation of blood flow and normality is crucial. Many eye conditions are sensitive to blood flow and the damage associated with aging to that process.
Vitamin K—and its ability to reduce both clot risk and reduction of arterial plaque helps control blood flow and maintain healthy return.
Macular degeneration, for example, is closely related to the loss of circulation in the retinal cells, which can accelerate sight loss, distortion, or discomfort.
At the very least, blood flow is a significant way of maintaining the health and longevity of eye cells. At best, it’s a direct contributor to fighting off the risk factors of common eye problems and maintaining both function and long-term wellbeing in the eyes.
K And MGP Mediated Blood Pressure
One of the most important and interesting roles of vitamin K is in its regulation of calcium-binding.
This is usually prized for bone health, where it helps prevent osteoporosis. However, calcium-binding also controls a system of “matrix Gla proteins” (MGP) in the eye that controls things like capillary action and blood pressure.
This is a huge deal, because excessive blood pressure in the eyes is not only related to discomfort and tension, but also the accelerated degeneration of eyesight. This contributes to many of the conditions we have already mentioned—macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal arterial occlusion, and hemorrhage risks.
Controlling your calcium with vitamin K is a relatively new, but promising area of research.
Where Should You Get Vitamin K From?
Reassuringly, the deficiency that many people suffer from surrounding vitamin K is easily defeated by dietary choices and high-quality supplementation for optimal levels. Dietary sources are common—but not used often enough.
Vitamin K is primarily found in dark leafy vegetables, which should be part of all our diets anyway:
- Collard Greens
- Pak choi
- Fermented soybean
These are only some of the valuable K-rich foods you should have in your diet. Basically, eat your greens—they are the real health food for eyes, not just carrots.
You can also get vitamin K2, specifically, from fermented foods like fermented soybean, cheese and other cultured dairy, and various animal products. Focus on hard cheeses, organ meats, high-quality seafood, and high-quality eggs.
Vitamin K is a powerful regulator of blood, bones, and the vascular system. In case you did not already know it, these are some of the most at-risk parts of the body in our aging process and with our current “normal” lifestyle.
Vitamin K, and K2 specifically—help maintain the eyes through controlling these channels. The research is only just starting to explore some of the more delicate systems that it interacts with, and it is going to be interesting to see if vitamin K finally starts getting the attention it deserves!
Put vitamin K higher on your priority list, either from food choices or supplementation—and your eyes will thank you. They are a sensitive area and a little dietary awareness goes a long way!
- Vitamin K and its functions: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141217
- Vitamin K, MGP, and vascular health: https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.12412
- Vitamin K combatting atherosclerosis: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1538-7836.2004.00968.x
- Vitamin K potential for diabetic cataract risk: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exer.2014.09.007
- Vitamin K is an important CV health regulator: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-017-0208-8
- Vitamin K as a potential player in glaucoma-protection: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030359