The 2 Essential Vitamins You’re Probably Missing (& It’s Damaging Your Health)
In this nutrition bite, we review two vital vitamins your body needs to thrive that most vegetarians and vegans are lacking in (and how to change that!)…
Without these two essential vitamins, you can experience health issues that range from excessive bleeding to IBS, and have a higher risk of worrying conditions, such as heart disease or cancer.
What are these two vitamins that are so vital to health, but many are deficient in?
Vitamin D and Vitamin K. Let’s look more closely at each one, individually.
You probably already know that your skin converts sunlight to Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is very important for proper bone formation, growth, and integrity. It also helps protect adults from osteoporosis, regulates immune function and cell growth (including helping in killing cancer cells), and reduces inflammation. 
Surprisingly very few foods contain Vitamin D, and your skin becomes less efficient at creating Vitamin D as you age. 
Recent studies have found that at least 41.6% of Americans are deficient,  and worldwide, it’s estimated 1 billion people are deficient in Vitamin D! 
Conditions that may indicate Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Broken (or weak) bones
- Chronic fatigue
- Inflammation (or swelling)
- Insulin resistance (or Type 2 Diabetes)
- Sleeping issues
- Weakened immune system
Deficiency in Vitamin D poses increased risk of hypertension, asthma, cancer, autoimmune diseases and impaired mental function.
Vitamin D2 or D3?
The two kinds of Vitamin D you can buy are D2 or D3. Our bodies naturally make D3 (cholecalciferol), so a supplement of this type is the closest to the real thing. However, D3 is almost never vegan. To ensure you are consuming a vegan supplement, seek out D2.
Vitamin K is responsible for crucial processes in your body, including heart, brain, and bone health.
For a long time the medical profession thought Vitamin K deficiency was “rare”, partly because symptoms can be non-existent, subtle, or disguised by other more serious conditions that make them seem unconnected. 
However, newer research estimates that as many as 80% of Americans are deficient. 
As Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting, the most serious symptoms involve excessive bleeding and bruising due to the blood not clotting properly. [7 and 8]
Heavy menstrual periods and pain (menorrhagia), as well as blood in your stool, can also be signs you are deficient. 
The Many Benefits of Vitamin K: What Your Body Needs
There are two main types of vitamin K; K1 and K2.
K1 (phylloquinone) comes from plants, while K2 (menaquinone) is produced in your intestinal tract. [Note: there is a synthetic form of Vitamin K called K3 – it should be avoided.]
Sources of Vitamin K
There are a lot of food sources for Vitamin K – fermented dairy, leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, soybeans, green tea and more. 
Benefits of getting sufficient Vitamin K include improved brain function, healthy blood pressure, reduced menstrual issues, increased insulin sensitivity, protection from cancer and heart disease, proper blood clotting and bone health, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
The Absorption Remedy
The challenge with getting enough Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 is absorption. You can be eating all the kale and taking all the supplements you can and want but…
If you are taking the wrong kind of vitamins, or not absorbing it, you may as well save your money.
The best way to promote absorption of Vitamin K and Vitamin D is to consume them together! Something to keep in mind as you move forward in making sure you get enough of these supremely important nutrients.