Cooking Oils and Vitamin K

Publication Date: 
Tue, 11/08/2011

Vitamin K-rich foods are easily identified because of their dark green coloring, like romaine lettuce, broccoli, and spinach. Other products, however represent less visible forms of vitamin K, including mayonnaise, margarines, and salad dressings. What do these all have in common? They all contain various forms of oils.

Many times we think about cholesterol in oils we consume. Very few people think about the vitamin K in those same oils. Here is a helpful chart summarizing some popular oil choices used for cooking.

Common Cooking Oils

Cooking OilsVitamin KServing Size
Soybean3.41 Tablespoon
Canola10.01 Tablespoon
Olive8.11 Tablespoon
Safflower1.01 Tablespoon
Sesame1.81 Tablespoon
Sunflower0.71 Tablespoon
Corn0.31 Tablespoon
1 Tablespoon
United States Dept. of Agriculture

The table above is a guideline to help patients plan their diet. Vitamin K is an important vitamin for other functions in your body so eliminating it all togetherwould prevent it's important role in bone development and bone maintenance.

The most important aspect of your diet and the role vitamin K plays in it is to communicate any changes in your diet to your doctor.

For those of you passionate for your soybean, canola and vegetable oils - there is good news. Exposure of oils to sunlight or fluorescent light destroys approximately 85% of the vitamin K.1 You must expose them to sunlight or fluorescent light for at least 48 hours. When exposing the oils to sunlight, it is not necessary to expose the oil to open air. A transparent container in the sun will do the trick. 

  1. M.J. Shearer, C. Bolton-Smith. The UK food data-base for vitamin K and why we need it. Food Chemistry. Volume 68, Issue 2, February 2000, Pages 213–218.