Vitamin K isn't an ingredient we often hear about in the beauty industry. It's certainly not as wildly known as vitamins C, B, and E, but it is important to the health of our bodies and bones as well as helpful in maintaining our skin and hair. You can take it in supplement form (Amazon has a ton of organic options) or you can eat it as part of your diet. Foods like fresh, leafy greens including kale, spinach, parsley, and romaine, as well as broccoli, seaweed, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, fish, and eggs are all high in vitamin K. Fermented foods also have a high vitamin K content, according to holistic nutritionist and hormone expert Alisa Vitti.
Below, Vitti, as well as Brooke Alpert, RD, author of The Diet Detox ($14), break down some of the benefits of vitamin K and why you should get into it. From nixing under-eye circles and calming rosacea to increasing collagen production, it seems vitamin K is quickly climbing the ranks, right up there with the better-known aforementioned vitamins. Keep scrolling for their science-backed advice.
1. It helps with blood clotting and varicose veins
"Vitamin K helps with blood clotting," says Alpert, though, perhaps not in the way you think. She continues, "Blood clotting may sound like something negative, but we actually need our blood to clot so that we don't bleed excessively from something as minor as a paper cut or knee scrape." This also is shown to have some improvement on stretch marks and varicose veins, Alpert notes. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Vascular Research found a sufficient amount of vitamin K produces a protein that lowers vascular proliferation and mineralization, which can halt the development of varicose veins.
2. It assists with insulin resistance and premature aging
"Vitamin K may also assist with insulin resistance," says Alpert. She notes it's helpful for those who suffer from negative symptoms as a result of a high-sugar and -carbohydrate diet. "The good news here is a healthy blood sugar level can help prevent premature aging and keep collagen and elastin strong in your skin."
3. It improves elasticity in your blood vessels
"Vitamin K is often used in skincare products for stretch marks, rosacea, and more because of its ability to improve the elasticity of blood vessels," explains Alpert. With better elasticity, stretch marks won't happen as frequently or as drastically, and the area will appear less irritated. Then, you can treat it with hydrating, firming ingredients or derma-rolling.
4. It protects the health of your bones and spurs collagen production
"Vitamins K1 and K2 are fat-soluble vitamins that protect your cardiovascular health and improve the health of your bones," says Vitti. With that comes the spur of collagen production, which is helpful in keeping your skin and hair healthy for longer. One study looked at the difference in skin aging in Japanese women who regularly consume seaweed, which is really high in vitamin K, versus Caucasian women who don't. The findings proved the consumption of vitamin K can lead to the maintenance of elasticity and capillary integrity of your skin.
5. It can reduce puffiness and dark circles
In the same way vitamin K can work in your favor for things like rosacea, stretch marks, and varicose veins—because it aids in the elasticity of your blood vessels as well as blood coagulation—it can also help with under-eye puffiness and dark circles. Dark circles happen as a result of pooling of blood under eyes, and it's visible because that skin is so thin and delicate. Vitamin K helps with that visibility. "Some dermatologists use vitamin K in the serums they recommend to their patients," says Vitti, "as it helps with common problems pertaining to your under-eyes."
6. It can help with gnarly periods
"Vitamin K can help minimize menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus and can reduce heavy bleeding," says Vitti. One study even concluded it's especially helpful to try vitamin K acupuncture to relieve serious cramps, as it "aims to enhance and prolong the effect of stimulation of acupuncture points," the study notes. Or you can take you can take them in supplement form, suggests Vitti. "The Flo Balance supplements contain a synergistic blend of omega-3s, D3, K1, and K2 for optimal absorption," she says.