Vitamin K: Is it Potassium?

Vitamin K and potassium are important micronutrients that the body requires to properly grow and function. Few aspects the two have in common, but they're not the same.

Everyone has a specific set of characteristics and purposes. Potassium, unlike vitamin K, is not a vitamin. Instead it's a mineral.

The chemical symbol for potassium on the periodic table is the letter K. Thus, people confuse potassium with vitamin K often.

Comparison To complete basic tasks, your body requires vital nutrients. The body is unable to produce potassium on its own and can only produce limited quantities of vitamin K. As a consequence, consuming these nutrients via food is necessary. Although both vitamin K and potassium are essential, they are not the same kind of compound. Characteristics

Compound type Vitamin K: vitamin Potassium: mineral

Chemical structure Vitamin K: quinone lipid Potassium: soft metal

Daily Value (DV) Vitamin K: 120 mcg Potassium: 4,700 mg Forms

Vitamin K: food, supplements, and small amounts produced in the gut Potassium: food, supplements, and in some foods as an additive Bioavailability

Vitamin K: vitamin K2 may be more bioavailable than K1 Potassium: still unclear which forms the body absorbs best

Uses Vitamin K: blood clotting and bone metabolism Potassium: an electrolyte that helps cells complete basic functions

Benefits Vitamin K: may support bone and heart health and prevent infant bleeding Potassium: may support bone health and benefit blood pressure

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that the body requires to, among other functions, produce proteins for blood clotting and bone formation.

Healthcare providers often give infants vitamin K1 supplements just after birth to prevent bleeding from vitamin K deficiency (VKDB). VKDB is a condition that happens when the body doesn't have enough vitamin K to help form blood clots.

K1 and K2 are the most common types of vitamin K.

The type that is commonly present in leafy green vegetables is vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone. In the human diet, it is also the most common type of vitamin K. The group of compounds known as menaquinones is vitamin K2. In animal products and fermented foods, they are often present.

Menaquinones are also produced by gut bacteria in small amounts.

Nonetheless, the amount of vitamin K2 the gut generates varies. In addition, scientists need to do more research to investigate how gut-produced vitamin K2 can affect health.


Within the human body, potassium is a mineral that functions as an electrolyte. For the completion of basic functions, virtually every cell and tissue in the human body needs electrolytes.

Potassium helps maintain:

  • blood pH

  • blood pressure

  • communication between neurons

  • muscle movement

  • regular heartbeat

  • water balance

Therefore, for maintaining optimal health, having blood potassium levels within normal limits is important.

To Sum It Up

The body requires vitamin K and potassium for the micronutrient to continue functioning properly.

While people often confuse them with each other, they're not the same. Potassium is a mineral, not a vitamin, and the two nutrients function differently in the human body.

They both lead to enhanced bone and heart health, among other benefits.

Consuming foods rich in vitamin K and potassium is an essential part of a healthy diet.

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