Imagine a vitamin that has the potential to optimize heart, bone, and oral health. One would think this essential vitamin is a part of everyone’s diet, right? But so few people have actually heard of it. Therefore, they may not be eating foods rich in this nutrient.
What is the difference between vitamin K1 vs. K2?
Most people have heard of vitamin K but don’t realize that there are two related but distinct forms of this vitamin, K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in many foods, especially greens but also in meats, dairy, and some fruits. Some bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract also make K1 that we then absorb. Vitamin K2, however, is not found in very many foods. The main sources of vitamin K2 are pasture-raised animal products, some cheeses such as gouda, edam, brie and jarlsberg, and certain fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, and natto (a Japanese food made up of fermented soy). There may also be some contribution from gut bacteria to create K2, but the science is inconclusive. Animal products, however, also contain large amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat, and should only be eaten in moderation.
The discovery of vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 was originally discovered by a dentist Dr. Weston Price who studied the relationship between nutrition and dental health in various cultures in the 1930s. Dr. Price discovered that some groups without the benefit of modern conveniences such as toothbrushes and toothpaste still had a lack of cavities as well as sturdy jaws, healthy cheeks and teeth, without the need for braces. Dr. Weston attributed the findings to some element in their diet, which has now been identified as vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 deficiency
Whereas vitamin K1 deficiency in adults is rare, suboptimal Vitamin K2 levels have been found to be common, especially in people over the age of 40. In addition to assisting vitamin K1 in activating blood clotting factors, vitamin K2 activates a protein called Matrix Gla-protein (MGP) that directs calcium into the bones and teeth rather than blood vessels and other soft tissues. In 2004, a large study published in the Journal of Nutrition placed 4,807 people into three categories based on their estimated vitamin K2 intake from their diet. Compared to the group with the lowest intake, the subjects in the high intake group had a 50% risk reduction of heart disease as well as 25% reduced rate of death from all causes. (1) Another study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, demonstrated a 9% reduction in heart disease for every 10 micrograms of vitamin K2 intake among a sample size of 16,057 women. (2) Vitamin K1 had no effect.
Vitamin K2 + vitamin D + calcium
Vitamin K2 (along with vitamin D) helps bone-building cells called osteoblasts make a vital bone-building protein called osteocalcin. K2 also helps transform the osteocalcin into a form that is able to capture calcium (in a form called hydroxyapatite) and harden the bones. Most studies concerning vitamin K2 and osteoporosis have shown to support bone quality and reduction in fracture risk especially in conjunction with vitamin D(2).
Dr. Rheaume-Bleue author of, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life, emphasizes the importance of the relationship between vitamin K2, vitamin D, and calcium. Rheaume-Bleue states that vitamin D supplementation creates more vitamin K2-dependent proteins to move calcium around the body. Without the help of K2 these mechanisms don’t work properly and may pose a danger to one’s health. In other words, vitamin D and K2 work together to strengthen bones and improve heart health, while K2 moves calcium where it needs to be (3).
Scientists are discovering that vitamin K2 plays a role in osteoporosis, vascular calcification, osteoarthritis, cancer, and cognition (4). While vitamin K2 use may be new in the United States, Japan has used this nutrient for more than 15 years without serious adverse effects and is often the recommended standard of care (4,5). The benefits of bone protection from K2 are proving to be extremely positive when combined with calcium and vitamin D. One study shows that vitamin K2 and calcium helped maintain bone density in osteoporotic patients, whereas patients taking calcium alone lost 2.5% of their lumbar bone density over a 24-month period (4). In addition, the K2 treatment group had 65% fewer fractures. Another study showed that the lifetime risk of a fracture is reduced by 25% with daily supplementation of vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin K2 in certain doses. A systematic review in Japanese patients discovered that vitamin K2 prevents fractures in vertebra by 60%, hip fractures by 77%, and nonvertebral fractures by 81%. Lastly, vitamin K2 has shown to be a key player in bone mineralization and also promotes cell death of osteoclasts (cells that eat bone) (5).
Vitamin K2 From Vitamin Packs
Have you ever wondered about the benefits of Vitamin K2? Here’s a quick and straightforward breakdown of the health benefits that Vitamin K2 offers the body.
- Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble nutrient.
- Vitamin K is helpful in preventing and treating osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.
- Vitamin K is helpful in lessening the symptoms of Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and cystic fibrosis.
- Vitamin K and K2 strengthen the heart.
- Vitamin K and K2 increase bone density.
- Vitamin K and K2 channel calcium out of the arteries and into the bones.
- Vitamin K and K2 increase blood clotting.
- Vitamin K and K2 are found in dietary sources such as fruits, greens, meat, egg yolk, dairy, and soy.
- Vitamin K2 is also produced as a product of the conversion of Vitamin K in the body.
- Vitamin K2 is the version of Vitamin K that can most readily be used by the body.
- Vitamin K2 is available through Vitamin Packs and is of exceptional quality and grade.
- Vitamin K2 purchased through Vitamin Packs is composed of biologically active menaquinone-7 Vitamin K-2.
- Menaquinone – 7 slowly metabolizes in your Liver allowing for a continual supply of Vitamin K-2 to be dispersed and absorbed throughout your body’s systems. This form of Vitamin K is safe, effective and supportive to your bone health needs.
Dietary supplement benefits
Very few multivitamins on store shelves contain vitamin K2. But Persona’s multivitamin contains the MK-7 (menaquinone-7) form of vitamin K2 which is one of the most potent and long-acting forms of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin K2 supplementation should only be taken under a physician’s careful guidance in all patients, especially those the blood thinner Warfarin (Coumadin) as it can block the effects of this blood thinner. Otherwise, it has no known toxicity even in high doses.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.
J Nutr.2004 Nov;134(11):3100-Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study.
Gast GC, De roos NM, Sluijs I, et al. A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009;19(7):504-10.
What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium. Mercola. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx*. Published December 16, 2012. Accessed December 9, 2017.*
Schwalfenberg GK. Vitamins K1 and K2: The Emerging Group of Vitamins Required for Human Health. J Nutr Metab. 2017;2017:6254836.
Ebina K, Shi K, Hashimoto J, et al. Vitamin K2 administration is associated with decreased disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Modern Rheumatology [serial online]. September 2013;23(5):1001-1007. Accessed December 8, 2017.
search icon START ASSESSMENT Vitamin K2: the essential vitamin no one is talking about June 25, 2018By Barry Lance, MD personanutrition.com/blog/essential-vitamin-k2/