If you are suffering osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, any degenerative neurological condition or kidney stones, also if you are pregnant or trying to conceive then this is important information for you!
Vitamins K1 and K2 are commonly mistaken as being the same nutrient, but they are in fact quite distinct, this confusion has led to the importance of K2 being overlooked until relatively recently.
Vitamin K1 is readily available in the diet from green vegetables and it’s role is solely associated with blood clotting.
Vitamin K2 however comes from different dietary sources and is an essential nutrient in a number of different ways.
One of the most important roles of K2 is correct calcium placement in the body – in other words making sure it ends up in our bones and teeth rather than our arteries, joint and other soft tissue. In this role it is an essential partner to vitamin D which aids calcium absorption.
When we take vitamin D, we stimulate the production of K2 dependent proteins that move calcium around and even remove it from arterial plaques. Yes vitamin K2 can actually stimulate the unfurring of your arteries!
This partnership between vitamin D and vitamin K2 makes them both essential nutrients in the treatment of any bone and heart disease.
Vitamin K2 is also important for certain cancers because it activates the protein GAS6 which slows cancer cell proliferation.
Vitamin K2 has also been shown to be beneﬁcial in neurological disorders such as Parkinson\’s, Alzheimer\’s and MS, as it has the ability similar to Ubiquinone (from CoQ10) to regulate dysfunctional mitochondria.
K2 also increases insulin sensitivity so important for diabetics.
For couples trying to conceive K2 is important, especially for the man. During pregnancy and when breast feeding vitamin K2 is essential to ensure correct formation of teeth and bone. A baby has an especially high demand for it during the ﬁnal trimester of pregnancy, so it is a good idea to ramp up intake in this time.
Vitamin K2 is available to a certain extent from grass fed dairy foods and eggs. Healthy gut bacteria will produce some K2. However it is most abundantly available in foods cultured/fermented by certain bacteria. The cheeses Brie and Gouda are particularly good sources containing about 75mcg per ounce. Fermented vegetables can be a good source if the right bacteria are used. It is also available in signiﬁcant amounts in goose liver paté. Another excellent source is the Japanese soybean ferment Natto – the extract of which is what to look for if you want to take a supplemental form. Look for Vit K2 menoquinone-7 (MK-7).
There is no toxicity associated with supplemental vitamin K2 (MK-7), so no concern about overdosing. The optimum dose required for an adult is between 45 and 150mcg (ug) per day. If pregnant, trying to conceive or suffering any of the conditions mentioned you can double or triple this dose. If you are taking vitamin D as part of a treatment for the conditions mentioned then it is advised that for every 1000iu of D you take 100mcg of K2.
In north America 80% of people are K2 deﬁcient. The UK is probably similar!