Micronutrients: Vitamin E and K

Micronutrients: Vitamin E and K

This week we will look at the other fat soluble vitamins, vitamin E and K.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is not a single compound, but a collection of 8 related molecules called tocopherols and tototrienols. Vitamin E is an antioxidant; these are substances that guard against oxidative damage from free radicals. These highly unstable molecules are formed during normal cell metabolism, which can have the ability to damage cell membranes, proteins and DNA. Left unchecked, free radicals can promote inflammation that may be a contributing factor in some cancers, cardiovascular disease and some other diseases.

Vitamin E plays a major role in preventing this oxidative damage by scavenging free radicals. By protecting cell membranes, vitamin E helps to maintain healthy skin, eyes and a strong immune system.

Sources:Vitamin E Sources

  • Plant oils such as soya and olive oil 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wheat germ in cereals and cereal products


Recommend intake per day:

4mg for men

3mg for women


Vitamin K

The main role of vitamin K is its involvement in the blood clotting process. Its name is actually taken from the Danish word “Koagulation” (clotting).

Important for bone health, sufficient vitamin K status is associated with improved bone circumference and diameter. It is also necessary for cardiovascular health, reducing calcification and stiffening of the arteries therefore reducing the risk of cardiovascular related mortality.

Some people have cardiac conditions that require the prevention of clots within the circulatory system; this is known as ‘thinning’ the blood. One of the most well known medicines for this is Warfarin, which interferes with the clot promoting action of vitamin K. It is important if you are on blood thinning medication that you talk to your GP before you think about increasing intake or supplementing with vitamin K.


Sources:Vitamin K - kale

  • Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach
  • Vegetable oils
  • Cereal grains
  • Small amounts are found in meat and dairy foods



Adults need around 0.001mg per day per kg of bodyweight. Example: a 70kg adult would require 0.070mg per day. You should be able to meet your daily requirement by eating a varied and balanced diet with lots of green leafy vegetables.


More Information

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Liam Leech, BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, MSc. ANutr.

Liam Leech

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science, MSc. ANutr.




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