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Vitamin K2 - More Benefits Than You Think

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

When you think about vitamins to supplement, most people think about vitamin D, vitamin C and B vitamins. However, vitamin K2 should earn a spot on that list. It can be an integral part of cardiovascular health and bone health.


Vitamin K actually comes in 2 forms: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 (which can be divided into multiple subtypes). Vitamin K1 is the predominant form in the diet and is most often found in leafy greens, whereas vitamin K2 is found in fermented foods like natto, sauerkraut and cheeses. Historically, vitamin K1 has stolen the show with its association with blood clotting (this is why people on the blood thinner coumadin are supposed to eat a similar amount of leafy greens each day to help control the thinness of their blood). The daily recommended intake for vitamin K is based solely on vitamin K1 (ranges 50-100mcg daily), which is easily achieved from the diet. However, there is no official recommended intake for vitamin K2, and with vitamin K2 only comprising a small portion of the total vitamin K dietary intake, supplementation may be warranted.


Research has shown many health benefits of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is a very potent antioxidant, it helps maintain bone health and reduces fracture risk. It also has been shown to improve cardiovascular health with the prevention of vascular calcification and stiffening, as well as increase in vascular elasticity. Additionally, vitamin K2 can reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity, prevent the growth and metastasis of multiple cancers, support the health of the immune system, liver and kidneys, and protect cells in the brain. Although research continues to explore the many mechanisms of vitamin K2 on the body, this is a very impressive list!




6 Ways to Add Vitamin K2 to Your Life


1. Is K2 found in common bone health supplements? - Vitamin K2 is often found in vitamin D and other bone health supplements. This is a common way to include K2 via supplementation.

2. Can K2 be taken as a standalone supplement? – Vitamin K2 can be taken on its own, but this is not as popular.

3. Is K2 an ingredient in multivitamins? - K2 can occasionally be found in very comprehensive multivitamins. *But check your multivitamin, as most do not have vitamin K2 in them. Here is a link to one of my favorite multivitamins that has vitamin K2.

4. GHEE - Ghee is a clarified butter that is traditionally made from buffalo or cow’s milk. It is also a good source of vitamin K2.

5. FERMENTED FOODS - Sauerkraut contains a good level of K2. Natto is a popular Japanese dish of fermented soy that is touted as the best source of K2 in a food.

6. CHEESE - Cheese, in particular gouda, muenster and camembert offer K2.


Another very important use of K2 is that it aids in the absorption of Vitamin D. Without K2, D is rendered ineffective. In addition, it is so important to have comprehensive blood work and review the results with your integrative physician to ensure you are taking the proper supplements. Just because a vitamin or supplement is popular, does not mean it is best for your particular system.


Vitamin K2 can be taken as a standalone supplement, is often found in vitamin D and bone health supplements and can occasionally be found in very comprehensive multivitamins. *But check your multivitamin, as most do not have vitamin K2 in them. Here is a link to one of my favorite multivitamins that has vitamin K2.


Resources:


Halder M, Petsophonsakul P, Akbulut AC, Pavlic A, Bohan F, Anderson E, Maresz K, Kramann R, Schurgers L. Vitamin K: Double Bonds beyond Coagulation Insights into Differences between Vitamin K1 and K2 in Health and Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 19;20(4):896. doi: 10.3390/ijms20040896. PMID: 30791399; PMCID: PMC6413124.


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