When you hear people talk about Vitamin K, they are usually referring to Vitamin K1, the substance that causes blood to clot and is available in the diet by eating leafy green vegetables. However, Vitamin K actually refers to a complex of fat-soluable vitamins. The one you never hear about is Vitamin K2, but it is vitally important that you have enough K2 in your diet.
Vitamin K2 helps move calcium around in the body. It guides calcium to the bones and teeth where we want it to go, and it helps keep the arteries clear of calcium that can build up and cause hardening of hte arteries. We have heard so much about Vitamin D lately but Vitamin D needs K2 in order to be helpful in making strong bones and teeth.
When you take Vitamin D, you are creating an increased need for Vitamin K2. There are K2-dependent proteins which help move the calcium around, and in order for you to have increased bone and heart health, you need both. Studies show that increased calcium intake can cause more heart attacks and strokes without the Vitamin K2.
This also creates a need for magnesium. Magnesium citrate or magnesium threonate are the best kinds of magnesium. Getting magnesium in the diet means eating a lot of vegetables, especially ones with a lot of chlorophyll.
The optimal amounts of Vitamin K2 are just being established, but it appears right not that 180 to 200 mcg per day is needed. Vitamin K2 also subdivides in to several different types. MK-4 is a short chain form of Vitamin K2 (methoquinone-4). It is found in animal products such as butter and egg yolks. Then there is a long chain version called MK-7 which is bacteria-derived from the fermentaiton process. Most of the varieties you find on store shelves right now are synthetic and not recomended. Getting them from a fermented source is mroe desirable because they stay in the body longer, and you can take them conveniently only once per day.
MK-7 is typuically extracted from the natto bean, and that will be just MK-7. Fermented sources, such as Gouda and Brie cheeses, have a whole variety of the MK complex.
Another purpose for K2 is that it activates protein that controls cell growth. So K2 is very important in controling cancer.
For every 1000 units of Vitamin D, you should have at least 100 mcg of K2. Any less, and you are risking having the calcium in your body deposit in inappropriate spots. 1850 to 200 a day is goof for the average person, but if you are taking higher doses of Vitamin D, you need more K2.
The good thing about K2 is, there is no toxicity. Toxicity studies have been done and no toxicity has been found.
Brie and Gouda cheeses contain about 75mcg of K2 per ounce of cheese. Natto, a fermented Japanese food, is the highest source of Vitamin K2. It doesn't matter if the cows that produced the milk were grass fed or not, because the bacteria that make the cheese will produce K2 whether the cows were grass fed or not. But if you are going to try and bget your K2 through butter or eggs, then the animals need to be pasture fed for there to be high amounts of K2.
I hope you will start to supplements your diet with these foods today!
The two big categories of Vitamin K2 that you’ll find are something called MK-4, which is menaquinone-4 and which can be found in butter, egg yolks, and animal-based foods. That’s a short-chain form of vitamin K2.
And then there are longer-chain forms that we find from fermented foods. There’s a variety of these long-chain forms. The most common one that you’ll see is MK-7 or menaquinone-7. This is the one I tend to tell people to look for in supplements, because in a supplement form, the MK4 products that you will find on the shelf are actually synthetic. They are not derived from natural, say, animal-source foods. Those are synthetic, which does create some confusion. Whereas, the MK7 – these long-chain, natural bacterial-derived vitamin K2 – is from a fermentation process. That seems to offer a number of advantages.
The long-chain form MK-7 stays in the body longer. It has a longer half-life, which means you can just take it once a day in very convenient dosing. That’s the form used in the most current clinical trials on bone density and heart health. That long-chain form is really very useful and practical.
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Interview with Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue