We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Structure of Vitamin K?

By E.A. Sanker
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that the body uses in the process of blood clotting, and the structure of vitamin K depends on its chemical form. Three main forms of this vitamin exist, known as vitamins K1, K2, and K3. K1 and K2 occur naturally and can be found in foods such as spinach, while K3 is a synthetic form. All three of these forms contain a structural component known as menadione, an organic compound containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

The basic structure of vitamin K consists of a menadione complex bound to a string of atoms known as a side chain. The side chain is composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms and varies in length and shape based on the type of vitamin K. Variations in the side chain cause the different forms of vitamin K to behave in different ways, but all forms of the vitamin use the same basic mechanism in assisting proteins in forming blood clots. Menadione, not the side chain, is the functional group, or the part of the chemical structure of vitamin K that determines its properties.

The menadione component of the structure of vitamin K can be visualized as two closed rings of carbon atoms linked to one another. On the outside of the rings, the carbon atoms are bonded to hydrogen atoms along with one external carbon/hydrogen group. Two oxygen atoms are bonded to opposite carbon atoms in one of the rings. The structure contains, overall, 11 carbon atoms, eight hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. In vitamins K1 and K2, one end of the entire complex is linked to the side chain.

Vitamin K1 can be found in leafy vegetables and other foods such as beans and some types of meat. Chemically, it is also known as phylloquinone. Bacteria in the intestine modify the structure of vitamin K1 into K2, or menaquinone. The main difference between the two forms is in the structure of the side chain.

Vitamin K3 does not include a side chain but exists only as menadione. As it is an essential component of the structure of vitamin K, menadione, or K3, can be used as a precursor to other forms of the vitamin. For example, the human body is able to convert K3 into K2. Despite this, the use of vitamin K3 as a dietary supplement is banned in some countries due to its potentially toxic effects.

If you want to learn more about the importance of vitamin K and its role in blood clotting, it's a good idea to perform a simple search online for "dietitians near me." These nutrition experts can provide valuable insights into how to incorporate vitamin K-rich foods like spinach and other leafy vegetables into your diet.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.