Everything You Want (And Need) To Know About Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is the most important vitamin you’ve never heard of. Why? Because while science continues to reveal its benefits in study after study, particularly around bone and heart health… it’s not a part of the typical Western diet. Therefore, unfortunately, it gets very little airtime. But it’s worth learning more about, and going to the extra effort of making sure this vitamin is given a chance to work its magic in your body. This is everything you want to know about vitamin K2, and where to get it.
What is Vitamin K?
Discovered in 1929 and reported in a German scientific journal as “Koagulationsvitamin”, vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation, as the name suggests. Originally it was thought that vitamin K only served this one very important function, but later scientists discovered variants of vitamin K, like K2. Now vitamin K is divided into two types:
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): involved in blood coagulation, found in leafy greens.
- Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): supports bone and heart health, found in animal foods and fermented foods.
- Vitamin K2 is further divided into several subtypes, the most important (and studied) ones are MK-4 and MK-7.
Vitamin K2 Benefits
Vitamin K2 may help Prevent Heart Disease
One study revealed that people with a high amount of K2 in their diet were 52% less likely to develop artery calcification. As well, they experienced a 57% lower risk of heart disease-related death. (1)
Another study involving more than 16,000 women concluded that for every 10 mcg of K2 they consumed each day, their risk of heart disease was diminished by 9%.
Interestingly, though we can now see a very clear correlation between a higher intake of vitamin K2 and a reduced risk of heart disease, vitamin K1 doesn’t appear to have the same effect.
Vitamin K2 may help Improve Bone Health
As great as K2 seems to be for heart health, it appears to be equally fantastic for bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Throughout 7 different trials observing the effect of vitamin K2 on fractures, researchers found that increased intake of vitamin K2 reduced hip fractures by 77%, spinal fractures by 60%, and non-spinal fractures by a whopping 81%. (1)
One study of 244 postmenopausal women over a 3-year time period, concluded that women taking vitamin K2 supplements had noticeably slower decreases in age-related bone mineral density.
In Japan, long-term studies on women taking high doses of vitamin K2 have observed similar benefits. Out of the 13 studies so far performed, only one did not show significant improvement.
Inspired by these findings, and more like them from around the globe, in Japan they’ve made vitamin K supplements an official recommendation for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. (1)
Vitamin K2 may Improve Dental Health
Because it’s such a boon for bone health, it follows that K2 would be a key player in dental health too. While that’s certainly a widely accepted theory… a large swath of medical practitioners do believe that vitamin K2 plays a critical role in dental health… human studies in this area have yet to be completed, so at this time there is no clinical data to quantify its effect. (1)
Vitamin K2 may help Fight Cancer
More studies are needed, but there is exciting news around vitamin K2 and cancer. Two clinical studies in liver cancer patients point to vitamin K2 supplementation and a reduction in cancer recurrence, plus increased survival in patients as well.
Foods That Have Vitamin K2
Vitamin K wasn’t only discovered in Germany. A dentist named Weston Price used to travel the world in the early 20th century, studying how diet affected disease in various societies. What he noticed was that “nonindustrial diets” were high in an important nutrient that seemed to keep tooth decay and chronic disease both at bay. Researchers now believe that was vitamin K2. (2)
Where vitamin K1 is readily available in a wide variety of foods, K2 is not as easy to find. The good news is that our bodies can convert some of the K1 we consume, over to K2. But the bad news is that a lot of the research we’re seeing these days suggests that the conversion process is not efficient at all. Therefore, it’s best to get it through foods and supplementation if necessary.
Vitamin K2 is mainly found in fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut, and in animal foods like high-fat dairy products, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Since fermented foods aren’t part of the typical Western diet, and things like egg yolks and animal foods that are high in fat are often a “no-no” in Western diet culture, it’s easy to see why this vitamin can slip into “deficient” status. Vitamin K is fat-soluble, so you won’t find much of it in low-fat and lean animal products, which is, again, where the typical Western diet is at. (1)
So it’s important to intentionally put this vitamin in your body, but if it’s not possible to do it through diet, supplementation is just as good.
In fact, the effects of K2 can be enhanced when combined with a vitamin D supplement. These two vitamins have a synergistic effect, meaning they can work together to make each other more effective by allowing your body to more easily assimilate them. (1)
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How Much Vitamin K2 Do You Need Each Day?
As with most supplements, dosage partly depends on your needs. Those with certain medical conditions may require more (or less) as recommended by their healthcare practitioner. As a baseline, for adults, the recommended amount of K2 per day is between 100 and 300 micrograms. For children under 12, it’s just 45 micrograms per day.
There are no known side effects of taking too much vitamin K2. All the same, it is wise to stick to the recommended dosage unless you’re working with a professional who can monitor your results. (2)
Is K2 What’s Missing From Your Diet?
There are many ways that vitamin K2 works to support your health, but because the typical Western diet is lacking in this nutrient, your body could really be missing out on a much-needed boost.
Pure Vitamin D3+K2 from Purity Labs is everything that’s needed to lock down the benefits of vitamin K2, and amplify them with the addition of D3, which works synergistically with the K2, to put your whole health in balance. Buy Pure Vitamin D3+K2 from Purity Labs here