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HomeHealthy LivingVitamin K2 — A Essential Ingredient for Coronary heart and Bone Well...

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

Editor’s Word: This text is a reprint. It was initially printed November 13, 2017.

Vitamin Ok is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s well-known for its position in blood clotting. Nevertheless, 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 quite a lot of vital well being advantages, together with however not restricted to:2

Stopping osteoporosis3

Stopping hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)4 and decreasing your coronary heart assault danger5

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

It additionally prevents calcium from going to the improper areas, equivalent to 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 appropriate quantities), thereby defending in opposition to diabetes and serving to to forestall metabolic issues related to weight problems

Optimizing sexual operate by rising testosterone and fertility in males

Lowering 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 Diet (EPIC) research6 discovered that prime consumption of vitamin K2 — not K1 — results in lowered most cancers danger, in addition to a 30% decrease danger of dying from most cancers7

Enhancing your capacity to make the most of vitality as you train bettering general efficiency.

Serving as a mitochondrial electron provider, vitamin K2 additionally helps keep regular ATP manufacturing in mitochondrial dysfunction, equivalent to that present in Parkinson’s illness8

Defending in opposition to neurological deficiencies, together with dementia

Stop infectious ailments equivalent to pneumonia

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

Lowering the danger of osteoporosis and spontaneous fractures in adults with cerebral palsy12

Supporting wholesome immune operate

Supporting progress and growth of the fetus throughout being pregnant

Increased 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 soppy tissues that may result in atherosclerosis.

An article in Life Extension Journal13 additionally highlights the cardiovascular advantages of vitamin K2. Importantly, a double-blind, placebo-controlled research14 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 therapy group had a 5.8% decrease stiffness index beta (a parameter of arterial stiffness) and a 3.6% decrease carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (a take a look at that measures arterial stiffness). The placebo group, alternatively, noticed a 1.3% and 0.22% 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 substantiate 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 truly reverse calcification of the arteries that had already occurred. As famous in Life Extension:15

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

Whereas the 5.8% and three.6% enhancements won’t seem substantial, when realizing that calcification usually worsens with age, the truth that there was a reversal in arterial stiffness in comparison with placebo is sort of exceptional … This offers us all with a chance to revive younger flexibility to getting older blood vessels and different comfortable 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,16 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 likelihood of dying from heart problems.

Individuals who consumed 45 mcg of K2 day by day lived seven years longer than individuals 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,17,18 16,000 individuals have been adopted for 10 years. Right here, they discovered that every extra 10 mcg of K2 within the weight loss program resulted in 9% fewer cardiac occasions.

Vitamin K2 Is Essential for Osteoporosis Prevention

As talked about, vitamin K2 additionally performs an important position in bone well being,19 and could also be important for the prevention of osteoporosis (brittle bones). Osteocalcin is a protein produced by your osteoblasts (cells chargeable for bone formation), and is utilized inside the bone as an integral a part of the bone-forming course of. Nevertheless, osteocalcin have to be “carboxylated” earlier than it may be efficient. Vitamin Ok capabilities as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes the carboxylation of osteocalcin.

For those who wouldn’t have ample quantities of vitamin K2, you run the danger of each brittle bones and calcification in your comfortable tissues. In different phrases, vitamin K2 is important to maintain your bones robust and your comfortable tissues pliable. A variety of Japanese trials have proven that vitamin K2 fully reverses bone loss and in some circumstances even will increase bone mass in individuals with osteoporosis.20

The pooled proof of seven Japanese trials additionally present that vitamin K2 supplementation produces a 60% discount in vertebral fractures and an 80% discount in hip and different nonvertebral fractures.21 One Chinese language meta-analysis22 of 19 randomized managed trials discovered that vitamin K2 supplementation considerably improved vertebral bone density in postmenopausal girls and lowered the danger of bone fractures.

One other three-year-long placebo-controlled research23 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 charge of age-related bone mineral decline and lowered lack of bone density, in comparison with these taking a placebo. The next graphic, from a 2014 analysis paper24 on vitamin K2, illustrates the twin impact of vitamin Ok on bone and vascular well being.

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

Within the Nineteen Eighties, 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 capabilities.

One other vital discovering was that MGP strongly inhibits calcification. When MGP stays inactivated, you find yourself with severe arterial calcifications, and because of this vitamin K2 is so essential for cardiovascular well being.

The distinction between nutritional vitamins K1 and K2 was clearly established within the Rotterdam Research,25 printed in 2004. A wide range of meals have been measured for vitamin Ok content material, and vitamin K1 was discovered to be current in excessive quantities in inexperienced leafy greens equivalent to spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage.

Vitamin K2, alternatively, was solely current in fermented meals. It is truly produced by particular micro organism through the fermentation course of. Sure micro organism in your intestine naturally produce vitamin K2 in your physique as properly.

Apparently, whereas the K1 in greens is poorly absorbed, just about all the K2 in fermented meals is available to your physique. More moderen analysis has recognized the meals highest in vitamin K2. I will focus on that additional under. Vitamin K2 might be additional damaged down into:26

1. MK-4 (menaquinone-4), a short-chain type of vitamin K2 present in animal-based meals equivalent to grass fed butter, butter oil and pastured egg yolks. Keep away from dietary supplements containing MK-4, nonetheless, as dietary supplements solely use an artificial type of MK-4, sometimes obtained from tobacco plant extract.

MK-4 additionally has a really brief organic half-life — about one hour — making it a poor candidate as a dietary complement. That stated, pure MK-4 from meals is vital for good well being,27 as MK-4 performs a task in gene expression, turning some genes off and others on, and is subsequently vital for most cancers prevention.28

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

The MK-7, which kinds within the fermentation course of, has two main benefits. It stays in your physique longer and has an extended half-life, which implies you may take it simply as soon as a day in very handy dosing. Analysis29 has proven MK-7 helps forestall irritation by inhibiting proinflammatory markers produced by white blood cells referred to as monocytes.

10 Reasons to Supplement Daily with Vitamin K2 infographic Preview

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Prime Two MK-7 Vitamin K2 Sources

Once more, vitamin K2 is discovered primarily in animal-based meals (MK-4) and fermented meals (MK-7). Nevertheless, relating to MK-7, it is vital to understand that not all micro organism make K2, so solely sure fermented meals will comprise it. Grain fed animals will even produce far decrease quantities of K2, and are greatest averted for different causes. Solely grass fed animals will develop naturally excessive K2 ranges.

For these causes, most industrial yogurts are just about devoid of vitamin K2, and whereas sure kinds of cheeses, equivalent to Gouda, brie and Edam are excessive in K2, others aren’t. Probably the greatest methods to get loads of vitamin K2 out of your weight loss program it’s to frequently eat home-fermented greens made with a particular starter tradition designed with bacterial strains that produce vitamin K2.

You possibly can rise 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 all your most economical options.

Natto is one other well-known supply of MK-7 vitamin K2. With 11 mcg per gram, it comprises among the highest quantities of MK-7 of any meals.30,31

Different Meals Sources Excessive in Vitamin K2

Testing32 by the Weston A. Worth Basis reveals there are just about no different meals that may take care of natto when it comes to offering MK-7 vitamin K2. Coming in at No. 1 for the richest supply of MK-4 vitamin K2 is emu oil, which comprises wherever from 3.9 to 4.4 mcg of MK-4 per gram, however solely a near-nonexistent 0.002 mcg/g of MK-7. Whereas not very well-known, emu oil is a conventional fats and useful meals from Australia, and is commercially accessible in complement type.

To study extra about this oil, together with what to search for in a high-quality complement, see this weblog submit by registered nurse Kayla Grossmann.33 As talked about, MK-4 does have vital well being advantages, but it surely doesn’t seem like as spectacular as MK-7. Here is a sampling of different meals that comprise greater quantities of vitamin K2 (MK-4 and MK-7).34 For full outcomes, obtain the take a look at findings from

Meals Supply Mcg/g of MK-4 Mcg/g of MK-7
Natto 0 11
Emu oil 3.9 to 4.4 0.002
Oysters 0.001 0.002
Wild shrimp 0.0002 0.01
Hen liver (farmed) 0.1 0.0008
Hen liver (standard) 0.04 0.01
Inexperienced Pastures butter oil 0.8 0
Cabot additional sharp aged cheddar 0.1 0.01
Nature’s Promise natural sharp cheddar 0.09 0.007
PA Bowen Farmstead reserve cheddar 0.08 0.01
PA Bowen Farmstead uncooked blue cheese 0.04 0.01
Lard (pastured) 0.2 0

How A lot Vitamin K2 Do You Want?

As for a clinically helpful dosage of vitamin K2, some research — together with the Rotterdam research36 — have proven as little as 45 mcg per day is ample. As a normal 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 possibly can acquire wholesome quantities of K2 by consuming 15 grams (half an oz) of natto every day, or fermented greens. For those who fermented them utilizing a starter tradition designed with vitamin K2-producing micro organism, 1 ounce offers you about 200 to 250 mcgs.

If you’re taking an oral vitamin D3 complement, you might also want extra vitamin K2, as a way to keep a wholesome ratio. Whereas the best 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 1,000 IUs of vitamin D you are taking.

For those who go for a vitamin K2 complement, make certain it is MK-7. Additionally keep in mind to take it with fats because it’s fat-soluble and will not be absorbed in any other case. Luckily, you need not fear about overdosing on K2, because it seems to be fully unhazardous. Folks have been given a thousandfold “overdose” over the course of three years, exhibiting no opposed reactions (i.e., no elevated clotting tendencies).

Needless to say vitamin K2 could not essentially make you “really feel higher” per se. Its inner workings are such that you just’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 do not really feel a distinction doesn’t imply it is not doing something.


Whereas unhazardous, people who find themselves taking vitamin Ok antagonists, i.e., medicine that cut back blood clotting by decreasing the motion of vitamin Ok, are suggested to keep away from MK-7 dietary supplements.37 Additionally, in case you are pregnant or nursing, keep away from vitamin K2 supplementation greater than the RDA (65 mcg) except particularly really helpful and monitored by your doctor.

For those who or your loved ones has a historical past of osteoporosis or coronary heart illness, I strongly advise including vitamin K2 to your weight loss program. Taking somewhat additional vitamin K2 each day is an easy approach to make sure your blood vessels do not calcify. Nevertheless, in case you have skilled stroke, cardiac arrest, or are liable to blood clotting, you shouldn’t take vitamin K2 with out first consulting your doctor.

Indicators and Signs of Vitamin Ok Deficiency

The next circumstances could put you at an elevated danger of vitamin Ok deficiency:

  • Consuming a poor or restricted weight loss program
  • Crohn’s illness, ulcerative colitis, celiac illness and different circumstances that intervene with nutrient absorption
  • Liver illness that interferes with vitamin Ok storage
  • Taking medicine equivalent to broad-spectrum antibiotics, ldl cholesterol medicine and aspirin

A number of the indicators and signs of a vitamin Ok deficiency embrace:38

  • Blood thinning, poor clot formation, simple bruising and extreme bleeding from wounds, punctures or injections
  • Heavy menstrual durations
  • Anemia (trying 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 assorted entire meals weight loss program is that you just’re much less prone to find yourself with lopsided nutrient ratios. Meals generally 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, it’s good to pay nearer consideration to how vitamins affect and work together with one another as a way to keep away from getting your self into hassle.

As talked about, we all know that vitamin K2 acts synergistically with magnesium, calcium and vitamin D, so it is vital to contemplate all of those ratios. Sadly, we do not but know the exact splendid ratios between all of those vitamins. Some normal tips and issues embrace the next:

Magnesium will assist maintain calcium in your cells to allow them to do their job higher. The best ratio between magnesium and calcium is presently regarded as 1-to-1. Needless to say because you’re probably getting way more calcium out of your weight loss program than you might be magnesium, your want for supplemental magnesium could also be two to a few occasions larger than calcium.

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

Vitamin K2 has two essential capabilities: 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 forestall occlusions from atherosclerosis. In the meantime, vitamin D helps optimize calcium absorption.

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

As for the way a lot vitamin D you want, I strongly suggest getting your vitamin D stage examined twice a 12 months (summer season and winter) to assist decide your private dosage. Wise solar publicity is the best solution to optimize your ranges, however when you go for a complement, your “splendid dosage” is one that may put you into the therapeutic vary of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter.



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