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Ask Dr. Gourmet

How much Vitamin K is in microgreens?

Do any of your publications contain the mcg/serving of Vitamin K in microgreens for those of us taking Coumadin®? I'm familiar with your shortlist used by my cardiologist. If not, it would be an enhancement for those of us that have the good fortune of having a quality microgreens gardener at our local farmer's market that has been growing these fabulous vegetables for years.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a variety of microgreens in a farmers' market display

Our Vitamin K information comes from the USDA database, the gold standard for nutrition information and the basis for nearly all nutrition information calculators, including those used by registered dietitians.

I checked the database, and while there are microgreens listed in the database, these are all entries provided by manufacturers, not entries derived by the USDA itself from their extremely detailed process of assessing nutrition information in foods.

What that means is that the nutrition data for these branded microgreens is incomplete and does not include Vitamin K information.

For example, here is a link to the USDA's nutrition information for Micro Arugula sold by Fresh Origins, LLC:

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45077655

Compare this to the USDA listing for raw Kale (NOT kale micro greens) - click on the "Full Report" link above the table to see all nutrients:

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11233

"All nutrients" includes sucrose, fructose, various minerals, and of course the Vitamin K content.

For branded products, companies only provide the federal government with the nutrition information that they are required to provide on their Nutrition Facts labels. So far as I know from contacting food manufacturers on this very subject, this means that food manufacturers do not even test for Vitamin K content, as they are not required to provide that information to the public.

In short, we can't be sure how much Vitamin K might be in those greens. It might be the same as in the full-grown version of the greens, or it might not. Worse yet, some packaged microgreens are a blend of more than one type of green, so even assuming that the microgreens contain the same amount of Vitamin K as the adult greens would be foiled by not knowing the precise amount of each type of green you're consuming from those blends. 

That said, consuming microgreens might be safe for Coumadin users provided that you consume a single type of microgreen in about the same amount every day. It's essential that your overall level of Vitamin K intake be stable, and consuming the same amount each day will help keep it that way - provided that the amount of Vitamin K you consume from elsewhere in your diet is also stable. 

If that sounds complicated, for some folks it is. For those people I recommend that they avoid consuming anything that they don't know the Vitamin K content of - which would include microgreens.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet