Vitamin K2 — A Essential Ingredient for Coronary heart and Bone Well being

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Vitamin K2 — A Essential Ingredient for Coronary heart and Bone Well being

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Story at-a-glance

  • Vitamin K1 is essential for correct blood clotting. Vitamin K2 works synergistically with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to impart plenty of essential well being advantages
  • Vitamin K2 deficiency produces the signs of vitamin D toxicity, which incorporates inappropriate calcification of sentimental tissues that may result in atherosclerosis
  • Well being advantages of vitamin K2 embody stopping osteoporosis and coronary heart illness, optimizing sexual operate, decreasing your danger of diabetes and most cancers, bettering signs of rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis and extra
  • Analysis discovered taking 180 micrograms per day of MK-7 vitamin K2 for 3 years improved arterial stiffness in postmenopausal girls, particularly those that had a excessive diploma of arterial stiffness
  • Pooled proof present vitamin K2 supplementation can scale back vertebral fractures by 60 p.c and hip and different nonvertebral fractures by 80 p.c

By Dr. Mercola

Vitamin Ok is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s well-known for its function in blood clotting. Nonetheless, there are two completely different sorts of vitamin Ok,1 every offering its personal set of well being advantages. Vitamin K1 is primarily chargeable for blood clotting whereas vitamin K2 works synergistically with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to impart plenty of essential well being advantages, together with however not restricted to:2

Stopping osteoporosisthree

Stopping hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)Four and reducing your coronary heart assault danger5

Directing calcium to your bones, making them stronger, and your tooth to assist stop cavities.

It additionally prevents calcium from going to the fallacious areas, resembling to your kidneys, the place it may result in kidney stones, or your blood vessels, the place it may set off coronary heart illness

Creating insulin to stabilize your blood sugar (maintaining your system delicate to sustaining right quantities), thereby defending towards diabetes and serving to to forestall metabolic issues related to weight problems

Optimizing sexual operate by growing testosterone and fertility in males

Reducing androgens, the male hormones, in girls with polycystic ovarian syndrome

Suppressing genes that may promote most cancers whereas strengthening genes that promote wholesome cells.

The 2010 European Potential Investigation into Most cancers and Vitamin (EPIC) research6 discovered that top consumption of vitamin K2 — not K1 — results in decreased most cancers danger, in addition to a 30 p.c decrease danger of dying from most cancers7

Enhancing your capacity to make the most of power as you train bettering total efficiency.

Serving as a mitochondrial electron provider, vitamin K2 additionally helps keep regular ATP manufacturing in mitochondrial dysfunction, resembling that present in Parkinson’s illnesseight

Defending towards neurological deficiencies, together with dementia

Forestall infectious illnesses resembling pneumonia

Enhancing illness exercise in these with rheumatoid arthritis,9 and, together with vitamin D, bettering osteoarthritis of the knee10,11,12

Lowering the chance of osteoporosis and spontaneous fractures in adults with cerebral palsy13

Supporting wholesome immune operate

Supporting progress and growth of the fetus throughout being pregnant

Larger Vitamin K2 Consumption Related With Improved Coronary heart Well being

Within the video above, Kate Rheaume-Bleue, a naturopathic doctor and creator of “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” discusses the significance of this often-overlooked vitamin, and its synergistic results with different vitamins. Vitamin K2 deficiency is definitely what produces the signs of vitamin D toxicity, which incorporates inappropriate calcification of sentimental tissues that may result in atherosclerosis.

A latest article in Life Extension Journal14 additionally highlights the cardiovascular advantages of vitamin K2. Importantly, a double-blind, placebo-controlled research15 printed in 2015 discovered that taking 180 micrograms (mcg) per day of vitamin K2 (MK-7 type) for 3 years improved arterial stiffness in postmenopausal girls, particularly those that had a excessive diploma of arterial stiffness.

On the finish of the research, the remedy group had a 5.eight p.c decrease stiffness index beta (a parameter of arterial stiffness) and a three.6 p.c decrease carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (a check that measures arterial stiffness). The placebo group, then again, noticed a 1.three and zero.22 p.c improve in these measurements respectively.

This research has been lauded as vital as a result of whereas earlier research have solely been in a position to present an affiliation, that is the primary to verify that long-term use of vitamin K2 within the type of MK-7 does enhance cardiovascular well being. Previous to this research, it was unclear whether or not taking extra vitamin K2 may really reverse calcification of the arteries that had already occurred. As famous in Life Extension:16

“That is the primary long-term human trial exhibiting enhancements in measures of arterial stiffness in response to long-acting vitamin K2.

Whereas the 5.eight p.c and three.6 p.c enhancements may not seem substantial, when realizing that calcification typically worsens with age, the truth that there was a reversal in arterial stiffness in comparison with placebo is kind of exceptional … This gives us all with a chance to revive younger flexibility to ageing blood vessels and different tender tissues.”

Different Research Additionally Verify Vitamin K2 Helps Scale back Cardiovascular Occasions and Lowers Mortality

Different earlier research have additionally clearly demonstrated vitamin K2’s significance for coronary heart well being and longevity. Within the Rotterdam Research,17 which ran for 10 years, those that consumed the best quantities of K2 had the bottom danger of heart problems and cardiovascular calcification, and the bottom probability of dying from heart problems.

Individuals who consumed 45 mcg of K2 each day lived seven years longer than folks getting 12 mcg per day. This was a profound discovery as a result of such a correlation didn’t exist for K1 consumption. In a subsequent trial referred to as the Prospect Research,18,19 16,00zero folks had been adopted for 10 years. Right here, they discovered that every extra 10 mcg of K2 within the food regimen resulted in 9 p.c fewer cardiac occasions.

Vitamin K2 Is Essential for Osteoporosis Prevention

As talked about, vitamin K2 additionally performs a vital function in bone well being,20 and could also be crucial for the prevention of osteoporosis (brittle bones). Osteocalcin is a protein produced by your osteoblasts (cells chargeable for bone formation), and is utilized throughout the bone as an integral a part of the bone-forming course of. Nonetheless, osteocalcin should be “carboxylated” earlier than it may be efficient. Vitamin Ok features as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes the carboxylation of osteocalcin.

In case you don’t have adequate quantities of vitamin K2, you run the chance of each brittle bones and calcification in your tender tissues. In different phrases, vitamin K2 is critical to maintain your bones robust and your tender tissues pliable. Numerous Japanese trials have proven that vitamin K2 fully reverses bone loss and in some instances even will increase bone mass in folks with osteoporosis.21

The pooled proof of seven Japanese trials additionally present that vitamin K2 supplementation produces a 60 p.c discount in vertebral fractures and an 80 p.c discount in hip and different nonvertebral fractures.22 One Chinese language meta-analysis23 of 19 randomized managed trials discovered that vitamin K2 supplementation considerably improved vertebral bone density in postmenopausal girls and decreased the chance of bone fractures.

One other three-year-long placebo-controlled research24 achieved within the Netherlands discovered that postmenopausal girls taking 180 mcg of MK-7 per day elevated their bone energy and noticed a lower within the fee of age-related bone mineral decline and decreased lack of bone density, in comparison with these taking a placebo. The next graphic, from a 2014 analysis paper25 on vitamin K2, illustrates the twin impact of vitamin Ok on bone and vascular well being.

Supply: Dermato-Endocrinology 2014: 6(1)

The Variations Between Nutritional vitamins K1 and K2, and Why They Are Not Interchangeable

Within the 1980s, it was found that vitamin K2 is required to activate the protein osteocalcin, which is present in your bone. A decade or so later, one other vitamin Ok-dependent protein was found: matrix Gla protein (MGP), present in your vascular system. With out vitamin K2, these and different vitamin K2-dependent proteins stay inactivated, and can’t carry out their organic features.

One other essential discovering was that MGP strongly inhibits calcification. When MGP stays inactivated, you find yourself with severe arterial calcifications, and that is why vitamin K2 is so essential for cardiovascular well being. The distinction between nutritional vitamins K1 and K2 was clearly established within the Rotterdam Research,26 printed in 2004. Quite a lot of meals had been measured for vitamin Ok content material, and vitamin K1 was discovered to be current in excessive quantities in inexperienced leafy greens resembling spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage.

Vitamin K2, then again, was solely current in fermented meals. It’s really produced by particular micro organism through the fermentation course of. Sure micro organism in your intestine naturally produce vitamin K2 in your physique as nicely. Curiously, whereas the K1 in greens is poorly absorbed, just about all the K2 in fermented meals is available to your physique. Newer analysis has recognized the meals highest in vitamin K2. I’ll focus on that additional beneath. Vitamin K2 might be additional damaged down into:27

1. MK-Four (menaquinone-Four), a short-chain type of vitamin K2 present in animal-based meals resembling grass fed butter, butter oil and pastured egg yolks. Keep away from dietary supplements containing MK-Four, nonetheless, as dietary supplements solely use an artificial type of MK-Four, usually obtained from tobacco plant extract.

MK-Four additionally has a really brief organic half-life — about one hour — making it a poor candidate as a dietary complement. That mentioned, pure MK-Four from meals is essential for good well being,28 as MK-Four performs a task in gene expression, turning some genes off and others on, and is subsequently essential for most cancers prevention.29

2. MK-7 (menaquinone-7), longer-chain types present in fermented meals. There’s a wide range of these long-chain types however the most typical one is MK-7. That is the one you’ll wish to search for in dietary supplements, as this type is extracted from actual meals, particularly natto, a fermented soy product.

The MK-7, which types within the fermentation course of, has two main benefits. It stays in your physique longer and has an extended half-life, which suggests you may take it simply as soon as a day in very handy dosing. Analysis30 has proven MK-7 helps stop irritation by inhibiting proinflammatory markers produced by white blood cells referred to as monocytes.

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Prime Two MK-7 Vitamin K2 Sources

Once more, vitamin K2 is discovered primarily in animal-based meals (MK-Four) and fermented meals (MK-7). Nonetheless, relating to MK-7, it’s essential to understand that not all micro organism make K2, so solely sure fermented meals will comprise it. Grain fed animals may even produce far decrease quantities of K2, and are greatest prevented for different causes. Solely grass fed animals will develop naturally excessive K2 ranges.

For these causes, most business yogurts are just about devoid of vitamin K2, and whereas sure forms of cheeses, resembling Gouda, brie and Edam are excessive in K2, others will not be. The most effective methods to get loads of vitamin K2 out of your food regimen it’s to often eat home-fermented greens made with a particular starter tradition designed with bacterial strains that produce vitamin K2.

You may stand up to 500 mcg of vitamin K2 in a 2-ounce serving of fermented greens utilizing such a starter tradition, which is a clinically therapeutic dose. That is additionally one in every of your most economical options.

To be taught extra about making your individual fermented greens with a starter tradition, see “The best way to Make Cultured Veggies at Dwelling.” Natto is one other well-known supply of MK-7 vitamin K2. With 11 mcg per gram, it accommodates a few of the highest quantities of MK-7 of any meals.31,32

Different Meals Sources Excessive in Vitamin K2

Testing33 by the Weston A. Worth Basis reveals there are just about no different meals that may cope with natto when it comes to offering MK-7 vitamin K2. Coming in at No. 1 for the richest supply of MK-Four vitamin K2 is emu oil, which accommodates anyplace from three.9 to Four.Four mcg of MK-Four per gram, however solely a near-nonexistent zero.002 mcg/g of MK-7. Whereas not very well-known, emu oil is a conventional fats and purposeful meals from Australia, and is commercially accessible in complement type.

To be taught extra about this oil, together with what to search for in a high-quality complement, see this weblog publish by registered nurse Kayla Grossmann.34 As talked about, MK-Four does have essential well being advantages, however it doesn’t seem like as spectacular as MK-7. Right here’s a sampling of different meals that comprise greater quantities of vitamin K2 (MK-Four and MK-7).35 For full outcomes, obtain the check findings from

Meals supplyMcg/g of MK-FourMcg/g of MK-7




Emu oil

three.9 to Four.Four





Wild shrimp



Rooster liver (farmed)



Rooster liver (typical)



Inexperienced Pastures butter oil



Cabot additional sharp aged cheddar



Nature’s Promise natural sharp cheddar



PA Bowen Farmstead reserve cheddar



PA Bowen Farmstead uncooked blue cheese



Lard (pastured)



How A lot Vitamin K2 Do You Want?

As for a clinically helpful dosage of vitamin K2, some research — together with the Rotterdam research37 — have proven as little as 45 mcg per day is adequate. As a basic guideline, I like to recommend getting round 150 mcg of vitamin K2 per day. Others suggest barely greater quantities; upward of 180 to 200 mcg.

You may receive wholesome quantities of K2 by consuming 15 grams (half an oz.) of natto every day, or fermented greens. In case you fermented them utilizing a starter tradition designed with vitamin K2-producing micro organism, 1 ounce provides you with about 200 to 250 mcgs.

If you’re taking an oral vitamin D3 complement, you may additionally want extra vitamin K2, with a view to keep a wholesome ratio. Whereas the perfect or optimum ratios between vitamin D and vitamin K2 have but to be elucidated, Rheaume-Bleue (see featured video) suggests taking 100 mcg of vitamin K2 for each 1,00zero IUs of vitamin D you are taking.

In case you go for a vitamin K2 complement, be certain that it’s MK-7. Additionally keep in mind to take it with fats because it’s fat-soluble and gained’t be absorbed in any other case. Thankfully, you don’t want to fret about overdosing on K2, because it seems to be fully unhazardous. Individuals have been given a thousandfold “overdose” over the course of three years, exhibiting no opposed reactions (i.e., no elevated clotting tendencies).

Take into account that vitamin K2 might not essentially make you “really feel higher” per se. Its inner workings are such that you simply’re not prone to really feel the distinction bodily. Compliance can subsequently be an issue, as persons are extra prone to take one thing that has a noticeable impact. So, keep in mind, the very fact you don’t really feel a distinction doesn’t imply it’s not doing something.


Whereas unhazardous, people who find themselves taking vitamin Ok antagonists, i.e., medicine that scale back blood clotting by decreasing the motion of vitamin Ok, are suggested to keep away from MK-7 dietary supplements.38 Additionally, in case you are pregnant or nursing, keep away from vitamin K2 supplementation greater than the RDA (65 mcg) until particularly beneficial and monitored by your doctor.

In case you or your loved ones has a historical past of osteoporosis or coronary heart illness, I strongly advise including vitamin K2 to your food regimen. Taking a bit additional vitamin K2 every single day is a straightforward manner to make sure your blood vessels don’t calcify. Nonetheless, when you’ve got skilled stroke, cardiac arrest, or are susceptible to blood clotting, you shouldn’t take vitamin K2 with out first consulting your doctor.

Indicators and Signs of Vitamin Ok Deficiency

The next situations might put you at an elevated danger of vitamin Ok deficiency:

  • Consuming a poor or restricted food regimen
  • Crohn’s illness, ulcerative colitis, celiac illness and different situations that intrude with nutrient absorption
  • Liver illness that interferes with vitamin Ok storage
  • Taking medicine resembling broad-spectrum antibiotics, ldl cholesterol medicine and aspirin

A number of the indicators and signs of a vitamin Ok deficiency embody:39

  • Blood thinning, poor clot formation, simple bruising and extreme bleeding from wounds, punctures or injections
  • Heavy menstrual intervals
  • Anemia (wanting drained and pale; feeling weak and listless)
  • Bleeding out of your gastrointestinal tract; blood in urine and/or stool
  • Frequent nostril bleeds

When Supplementing, Steadiness Vitamin K2 With Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin D

One of many main advantages of getting your vitamins from a diversified entire meals food regimen is that you simply’re much less prone to find yourself with lopsided nutrient ratios. Meals basically comprise all of the cofactors and wanted co-nutrients within the correct ratios for optimum well being. Basically, the knowledge of Mom Nature eliminates the guesswork. While you depend on dietary supplements, you want to pay nearer consideration to how vitamins affect and work together with one another with a view to keep away from getting your self into bother.

As talked about, we all know that vitamin K2 acts synergistically with magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, so it’s essential to think about all of those ratios. Sadly, we don’t but know the exact perfect ratios between all of those vitamins. Some basic tips and issues embody the next:

Magnesium will assist hold calcium in your cells to allow them to do their job higher. The best ratio between magnesium and calcium is presently considered 1-to-1. Take into account that because you’re possible getting way more calcium out of your food regimen than you’re magnesium, your want for supplemental magnesium could also be two to 3 occasions better than calcium.

Magnesium and vitamin K2 additionally complement one another, as magnesium helps decrease blood strain, which is a vital element of coronary heart illness.

Vitamin K2 has two essential features: cardiovascular well being and bone restoration. By eradicating calcium from the liner of the blood vessels and shuttling it into your bone matrix, vitamin K2 helps stop occlusions from atherosclerosis. In the meantime, vitamin D helps optimize calcium absorption.

Nutritional vitamins D and K2 additionally work collectively to supply and activate Matrix GLA Protein (MGP), which congregates across the elastic fibers of your arterial lining, thereby guarding your arteries towards calcium crystal formation.

As for the way a lot vitamin D you want, I strongly suggest getting your vitamin D stage examined twice a yr (summer season and winter) to assist decide your private dosage. Wise solar publicity is the perfect method to optimize your ranges, however if you happen to go for a complement, your “perfect dosage” is one that may put you into the therapeutic vary of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter.

+ Sources and References
  • 1&nbspNurtured Bones Might 19, 2017
  • 2& October 27, 2017
  • three,&nbspFour&nbspAssociation for the Development of Restorative Medication 2016
  • 5&nbspCardient, Rotterdam Research 2004
  • 6&nbspAm J Clin Nutr March 24, 2010
  • 7&
  • eight&nbspScience 2012 Jun eight;336(6086):1306-10.
  • 9&nbspModern Rheumatology 2012 Nov 6. [Epub ahead of print]
  • 10&nbspArthritis Care and Analysis October 17, 2017 [Epub ahead of print]
  • 11&nbspMedpage Right now October 27, 2017
  • 12&nbspOsteoarthritis Cartilage March 2015; 23(three): 370-378
  • 13&nbspBrain and Improvement November 2017; 39(10): 846-850
  • 14,&nbsp16&nbspLife Extension November 2017
  • 15&nbspThrombosis and Haemostasis 2015 Might;113(5):1135-44
  • 17,&nbsp26,&nbsp37&nbspJournal of Vitamin November 2004: 134; 3100-3105 (The Rotterdam Research)
  • 18&nbspNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Illnesses 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10 (PDF)
  • 19& February 12, 2009
  • 20&nbspNutritional Outlook September 24, 2015
  • 21&nbspEuropean Journal of Vitamin December 2004;43(6):325-335
  • 22&nbspArchives of Inner Medication 2006; 166: 1256-1261
  • 23&nbspOsteoporosis Worldwide March 2015: 26(three): 1175–1186
  • 24&nbspOsteoporosis Worldwide September 2013: 24(9); 2499–2507
  • 25,&nbsp38&nbspDermo-Endocrinology 2014: 6(1)
  • 27&nbspThe Wholesome Dwelling Economist, November 1, 2017
  • 28&nbspJournal of Agricultural and Meals Chemistry 2006; 54: 483-468 (PDF)
  • 29&nbspChris Masterjohn, The Final Vitamin K2 Useful resource
  • 30&nbspNattoPharma 2013
  • 31&nbspWeston A. Worth, February 14, 2008
  • 32,&nbsp35& Might Four, 2017
  • 33,&nbsp36&, VitaK Check Outcomes November 24, 2015
  • 34&nbspRadiant Life Weblog, The best way to Use Emu Oil
  • 39&nbspLab Assessments On-line, Vitamin Ok Deficiency

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