Facts About Vitamin K

To address the controversy of synthetic vitamin K not being good in sugar glider diets....

Most of these claims are made by those that are uneducated about nutrition, or those that simply repeat the information they read from a facebook group or pet enthusiasts websites. Not all information passed on is accurate. The truth is, synthetic vitamin K3 is necessary in the diets and is non-toxic. Vitamin K3 is, by definition, any of several compounds that are based on 2-methyl-1,4-napthoquinone (also known as menadione) that express anti-hemorrhagic properties (Suttie, 2007).

Dietary vitamin K can be provided naturally through green leafy plants and vegetable oils, or through stable gut fermentation (supplying vitamin K2). Unfortunately, the inconsistancy in these sources, effects from processing, and gut health of the animal, make them unreliable as a viable source of vitamin K. This is why pet food manufacturers will supplement with K3 in their diets.

Commercial sources of vitamin K3 are produced through industrial synthetic chemistry. The AAFCO Official Publication (2007) lists only vitamin K3 sources as approved for use. They include menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite (MDPB), menadione nicotinamide bisulfite (MNBS) and menadione sodium bisulfite complex (MSBC). There are no forms of vitamin K1 or K2 approved as feed ingredients. K3, water soluble, stabilized menadione (MSBC), is the only approved form.
According to the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats (NRC, 2006) and the Vitamin Tolerances of Animals(1987) texts, which are authoritative reviews on the topic, state that toxicity of menadione by nutritional routes is in excess of 1,000 times the requirement. Clearly pet food manufacturers are not putting in 1,000 times the amount needed. Vitamin K3 has been fed to many animals for over 50 years, including swine, poultry, and companion animals without incident. Further, it has been fed to sugar gliders for over 15 years without incident.

Since small amounts of vitamin K are required in the diet which, theoretically could be provided by whole ingredients or healthy gut fermentation, the unreliability of these sources is why pet foods are supplemented with K3.

Bottom line, K3 is needed in the diet and is non-toxic to our sugar gliders.

(written by Shelly Sterk- Owner of Glider Nursery)