Vitamin K2: Why You Need To Be All Over This Nutrient
Vitamin K2 is one of the lesser known essential vitamins people often forget. But when crafting the Complement Plus formula, it was a vitamin we knew we couldn’t leave out.
In this post Dr. Joel Kahn, one of the world’s top cardiologists and plant-based expert, shares why Vitamin K2 is so important for your health.
Vitamin A, B, C…all the way to K? Indeed, there is a Vitamin K, even though we skip F-J -- and K is a pretty important vitamin that doesn’t get the same attention as some of the vitamins that fall earlier in the alphabet.
But, if you’re interested in staying healthy as you age, Vitamin K might just become one of your favorites. Vitamin K is made up of several fat-soluble vitamins that come together to form Vitamin K1 (a single molecule) and Vitamin K2 (made of up several molecules).
Research into the health benefits of Vitamin K is a hot topic that you may want to consider for your optimal wellness.
What does it do?
One of the important functions of this vitamin can be found right there in the name: The K comes from the German version of coagulation or clotting of blood (like EKG vs. ECG). So, as you might imagine, Vitamin K1 helps keep our blood clotting work properly. It is the vitamin that inhibits warfarin, which was used first as rat poison and then for decades as a the powerful blood thinner in patients.
While K1 is busy doing that, Vitamin K2 works on activating as many as 17 proteins in the body that keep various systems functioning properly - including ensuring bone regrowth and cardiovascular health by keeping arteries clear from calcium. This action of Vitamin K2 is particularly beneficial, as calcified arteries are a sign of aging we want to avoid.
"One of the important functions of this vitamin can be found right there in the name: The K comes from the German version of coagulation or clotting of blood."
Where do you get it?
Vitamin K1 can be found in plants and algae, and K2 is microbial (which makes it difficult to obtain through diet alone.
The Western diet has been shown to be lacking in Vitamin K2, which is why supplementing becomes important. Luckily, there are dietary supplements that we can take advantage of:
- Synthetic K1
- Synthetic MK-4 (a form of K2)
- Natural and synthetic MK-7 (also a form of K2)
It has been shown that natural MK-7 is more effective than both Vitamin K1 and MK-4. If you’re trying to get as much as you can from dieting, you should know that it’s easiest to find Vitamin K2 in animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, and yogurt).
As a plant-based individual, it’s nice to know, however, that the richest source of Vitamin K2 is plant-based, though not something we see a lot of in the Western diet. Natto, a traditional Japanese dish, supplies an incredible amount of Vitamin K2 as MK-7. This has been proposed as a mechanism for the traditionally low heart disease rates in Japanese populations.
K is a pretty important vitamin that doesn’t get the same attention as some of the vitamins that fall earlier in the alphabet.
Vitamin K2 works on activating as many as 17 proteins in the body that keep various systems functioning properly -- including ensuring bone regrowth and cardiovascular health by keeping arteries clear from calcium.
It is becoming clear that Vitamin K2 in particular is critical for aging healthily.
Why is it so important?
The largest body of research has focused on Vitamin K2’s beneficial influence on bone and cardiovascular health.
A study published in 2013 showed that healthy post-menopausal women taking a Vitamin K2 supplement showed significant protection against bone loss.
In another study, the Rotterdam Study, over 4,800 subjects reported their dietary intake of MK-7 and were followed over 10 years. The higher the MK-7 intake, the lower the rates of heart and all deaths observed.
Calcification of the aorta, the major blood vessel in the body, was lower in those with higher intake of MK-7. Overall the Rotterdam Study supports the notion that Vitamin K2 may be critical for healthy aging.
Are you getting enough K2?
There are many ongoing studies of this fascinating vitamin, and it is becoming clear that Vitamin K2 in particular is critical for aging healthily.
I do routinely recommend this vitamin in my heart clinic. Current daily recommendations for K vitamins are based exclusively on Vitamin K1, even though K2 (even taken at very low doses) has so many health benefits.
To be sure you’re getting enough K2 on a plant based diet, consider supplementing or add natto to your diet. Your body will thank you as you age gracefully.
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