Vitamin K2: Know the Importance of Missing Nutrient for Your Health

Vitamin K2
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

A huge number of people as well as conventional doctors are starting to appreciate the value of vitamin D. There are few, however, who identify the value of Vitamin K2, which is as vital as Vitamin D.

Vitamin K2 has two important functions: First is for cardiovascular health and second is for bone restoration.

It also has a lot of other vital functions; by helping eliminate* calcium from the blood vessel lining, vitamin K2 helps inhibit obstructions due to atherosclerosis.

Vitamin K Basics

Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2 are of the same family. However, they have varying activity and function. Vitamin K1, which can be found in green leafy veggies, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is part of the coagulation factor production, which is vital for inhibiting bleeding.

So when someone is taking blood thinners like warfarin; they are advised to be cautious about taking too much Vitamin K1 for it will counter the effect of the medicine. Vitamin K2, however, is different. There is an intricate chemical reaction that transpires with K2, which involves two enzymes:

  • Matrix Gla-protein (MGP)
  • Osteocalcin

“Gla” is another term for glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is transported to the wall of the cells of your arteries, where it adheres to calcium and gets rid of it from the blood vessels linings.

After its removal from the lining of the blood vessel, Vitamin K2 then assists in the incorporation of calcium to the bone matrix through transporting it to the osteocalcin. Osteocalcin then aids hold the calcium in place.

Vitamin K2 stimulates the two proteins. Without it, the process of transferring calcium from the arteries to the bone will not happen, which increases* the chances of getting arterial calcification.

Sources of Vitamin K2

Sources of Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is created from particular bacteria, so the main source of food for Vitamin K2 is fermented foods like natto. Natto is fermented soy that is found in Asian grocery stores. Another good source of vitamin K2 is fermented vegetables only if you ferment them using specially-designed starter culture.

Remember that not each strain of bacteria creates vitamin K2, so in general, not all fermented foods have it. Example, many yogurts has almost no vitamin K2 content. Particular kinds of cheeses like Brie, Edam, and Gouda, are rich in vitamin K2 while other cheeses aren’t. It greatly depends on the particular bacteria. Still, it’s a bit hard to obtain vitamin K2 merely from diet alone – especially if you are not eating fermented foods rich in vitamin K2 – so taking vitamin K2 supplement is a good move.

Vitamin K2 Deficiency

The biggest problem with vitamin K2 that everyone generally encounters is testing its amount in the body because there isn’t an easy way to test or screen Vitamin K2 sufficiency. Presently, Vitamin K2 cannot be directly measured, so it’s indirectly assessed through under carboxylated osteocalcin. However, this type is the test is not commercially available.
Without proper testing, we are left with identifying certain lifestyle factors that may lead you to deficiency. So as a general rule, if you are experiencing any of the health conditions listed below, then it’s likely that you have vitamin K2 deficiency:

Vitamin K2 Deficiency

It is believed that many people are vitamin K2 deficient these days and would profit from more vitamin K2. One specific reason for this is that only a few (Americans to be specific) do not eat enough foods rich in Vitamin K2. So, if you are not among the many who are experiencing any of the above-listed health conditions and are not regularly eating the following foods then it’s likely that you chances of being vitamin K2 deficient is high:

  • Certain fermented foods such as natto or vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria
  • Certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda (these two are particularly high in K2, containing about 75 mcg per ounce)
  • Grass-fed organic animal products (i.e. egg yolks, butter, dairy)

Vitamin K2 Overdosage

Vitamin K2 is not toxic, so overdosing is not an issue. But always remember that vitamin K2 may not really “liven you up” per se. How it normally works will not make you feel any difference physically. Compliance is the problem in the intake of vitamin K2 supplements, for people tend to take supplements that will have visible effects. This is not possible with vitamin K2; however it doesn’t mean that it has no effect! And lastly, keep in mind to take vitamin K supplement along with fat for its fat soluble and will not be absorbed without it.

Conclusion

The Vitamin K2 understanding needs exploration to establish possibilities of this sensational and unappreciated nutrient. With the fascinating science that’s behind vitamin K2, great benefits of supplementation may be realized soon for both arterial and bone health.

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Author

Expert Author : Jessica Ann Barazon (Consumer Health Digest)

Jessica Ann Barazon is a renowned health writer and enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement, ADHD, parenting, mental health, fitness and weight loss. She is especially interested in feminist ethics and psychology. Aside from writing she also loves food, dogs, fashion and travel.