Vitamin K, along with A, D, and E, is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins. While it is best-known for its role in clotting the blood, vitamin K has a host of other important roles including the protection of the heart and keeping bones strong.
Sometimes called “the forgotten vitamin” for its oft-overlooked significance, vitamin K is an important ally to vitamin D, and a deficiency of one will result in the sub-optimal performance of both vitamins in the body.
Vitamin K comes in three forms, called K1, K2, and K3. For various reasons, K2 is considered the best form for supplementation – as K1 is widely available in green vegetables, and K3 is a synthetic form that has been shown to cause toxicity.
K2 is produced in some quantity by the bacteria in the gut, and is also present in small amounts in cheese, natto, egg yolks, butter, and meat. This is also the form that has been shown to work synergistically with vitamin D.
Arterial Protection: One of the most important roles of vitamin K2 is its tropism for helping the arteries stay supple, and supporting the body in preventing the buildup of calcium along the arterial wall, which can cause hardening of the arteries. Supple arteries are one of the most important attributes of a healthy cardiovascular system, and are wonderful support for a healthy heart.
While it is not news that eating fresh vegetables plays a major role in cardiovascular health through their K1 content, what may surprise you is that the K2 found in eggs yolks, dairy products and organ meats may not only protect the arteries from hardening, but may reverse arterial calcification as well (1).
In another study, high levels of Vitamin K in the blood reduced arterial calcification by 50%. The same study found that rats who were put at risk for arterial plaque were supplemented with Vitamin K-1 and K-2. Those taking vitamin K-2 had zero arterial plaque formation compared to those taking only K-1. 100% of the rats taking only Vitamin K-1 had the development of calcium plaque in the carotid arteries (2).
Maintaining Healthy Bone: Obtaining a plethora of minerals from your diet is key in maintaining strong bones, but vitamin K2 is the driving force that delivers those vitamins to your bones and helps them do their job in building and preserving the bone matrix.
Other Benefits of K2: Studies suggest that K2 may help to protect brain health, insulin sensitivity, and promote natural antioxidant activity.
Don’t Forget the Fat: Being a fat-soluble vitamin, K2 requires fat for proper absorption. If you choose to supplement with vitamin K2, don’t forget to include a little healthy fat in your diet along with it. Remember that healthy fats are also key in the absorption of vitamin D, and play an important role in protecting the brain, nervous and endocrine systems.
1. Schurgers LJ , Spronk HM , Soute BA, Schiffers PM, DeMey JG, Vermeer C . Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats. Blood. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):2823-31.
2. Schurgers LJ , Spronk HM , Soute BA, Schiffers PM, DeMey JG, Vermeer C . Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats. Blood. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):2823-31.
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K2 Max: K2 Max is derived from non-GMO soybeans fermented by Bacillus subtilis natto. K2 Max uses the MK-7 form, which is the longest lasting, most bioavailable and bioactive form of supplemental vitamin K2 available. Historical use and numerous studies have confirmed safety and efficacy for bone and vascular health.