97% of Americans are Low In Vitamin K2

While calcium is easily attained from a healthy diet, vitamin K2 is more difficult to find, and many folks run low. Vitamin K2 is a common deficiency that increases with age, putting much of the aging population at risk for heart and bone concerns.

In This Article

Are You at Risk?

lifespa image, dancing skeletons, bone health
Are you deficient in vitamin K2?

In a recent study evaluating 452 healthy adults, 438 out of 452 (or a whopping 97%) were found to be vitamin K2 deficient or insufficient. 

Inadequate vitamin K2 can weaken bones and result in calcium (plaque) accumulation in the arteries, rendering them stiff and eventually brittle. Lucille Ball, star of I Love Lucy, suffered from accumulation of calcium in her arteries, eventually making her arteries stiff, rigid, and brittle. 

While calcium is easily attained from a healthy diet, vitamin K2 is more difficult to find, and many folks run low. Vitamin K2 is a common deficiency that increases with age, putting much of the aging population at risk for heart and bone concerns.1 

What is Vitamin K2?

Vitamin K is one of the four fat soluble vitamins: A,D,E, and K. Most fat-soluble vitamins are designed to store in the body for long periods of time because the dietary availability of these fatty vitamins is seasonal. Vitamin D, for example,  comes primarily from the sun and is designed to last us into the winter months as an immune booster. Vitamin K, however, does not store in the body long-term like the other fat soluble vitamins.  

Because of its inability to store in the body long-term and the fact that the modern diet has been depleted in vitamin K since the 1950s, today we see as many as 97% either deficient of insufficient in perhaps the more important form of vitamin K, called vitamin K2.3

vitamin k

Vitamin K2 can be derived from bacteria in the gut and, in small amounts, is found in meat, dairy, eggs, and fermented foods, such as cheese, yogurt, and natto—a Japanese dish of fermented soybeans.2Vitamin K2 is essential for making new bone and keeping calcium from depositing in the arteries. 

Vitamin K2 can also be made from K1 (needed for blood coagulation) found in vegetables, but this conversion does not deliver the body’s optimal requirements for bone and cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, studies show dietary sources of vitamin K2-making bacteria also do not deliver what we need. In fact many researchers make the case that we need much more K2 than originally thought.1-5 

lifespa-image-liquid-sun-vitamin-d3

Delivery of calcium to bone is a simple process. It starts with vitamin D3 in the intestinal tract, which carries calcium into the bloodstream. Then, vitamin K2 activates matrix GLA proteins (MGP) that block calcium from entering soft tissues, like the arterial wall, while activating bones to let calcium in and lay down new bone.2 

You can see how without vitamin K2, arteries have no protection from excess calcium depositing in unwanted places, like on your teeth or in your arteries as plaque!

The Study: 97% Deficient or Insufficient in Vitamin K2 

“A total of 452 community-dwelling men and women (age range 60–80 y; 421 whites, 14 blacks, 4 Hispanics, 11 Asians, and 2 Native Americans) participated in a randomized controlled trial. These subjects were generally in good health and free from clinical cardiovascular disease and laboratory evidence of kidney or liver disease or osteoporosis. When supplemented with vitamin K, there was a significant reduction in plasma MGP among older adults who received supplementation with vitamin K for three years compared with those who did not receive vitamin K. This data suggests that 97% of subjects may have been vitamin K deficient or insufficient.”1 

Rotterdam Study: 50% Reduction in death From Arterial Calcification 

“The population-based Rotterdam study studied 4807 healthy men and women older than age 55 years, evaluating the relationship between dietary intake of vitamin K and aortic calcification, heart disease, and all-cause mortality. The study revealed that high dietary intake of vitamin K2—at least 32 mcg per day, with no intake of vitamin K1, was associated with a 50% reduction in death from cardiovascular issues related to arterial calcification and a 25% reduction in all-cause mortality.”4 

Vitamin K2 Conclusions 

lifespa image, bone

Studies suggest that if at least 32 mcg of vitamin K2 (MK-7 form), as in LifeSpa’s K2 Max, is present in the diet, then risks for blood-vessel calcification and heart problems significantly lower, and vessel wall elasticity is increased.1,4 

Adding Vitamin D and maintaining vitamin D3 sufficiency (50-80 ng/mL) supports elastic properties of the vessel wall in postmenopausal women. If less vitamin K2 is present in the diet, cardiovascular problems may arise, according to the latest studies.1, 4 

The average Western diet contains insufficient amounts of vitamin K2 to activate matrix GLA proteins, leaving up to 30% of the matrix GLA proteins inactive and therefore unable to protect the arteries and bones from age-related health concerns.4 

Takeaway: At least 32mcg of dietary vitamin K2 per day is needed to significantly lower risks for blood-vessel calcification, heart health concerns, and to maintain a healthy level of arterial wall elasticity. Are you getting enough? 

We recommend "Vitamin K Deficiency Compromises Bone + Arterial Health": https://lifespa.com/the-missing-vitamin-for-bone-health/

Will Vitamin K2 interfere with Blood Thinners? Learn More Here.

References

  1. https://www.jscimedcentral.com/Nutrition/nutrition-4-1077.pdf 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/ 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15877910 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/ 
  5. https://innovixlabs.com/blogs/insights/vitamin-k2-deficiency 

 

8 thoughts on “97% of Americans are Low In Vitamin K2”

  1. I am curious about K2’s role in clotting blood. I tend to develop dental plague quite quickly, so I would be interested in supplementing with K2. However, I had a problem with blood clots forming when I was putting kale in my smoothies in the morning. I discovered this when they had to stop a blood donation because of the number of small clots in my blood. I learned from the Red Cross tech that my blood type (A+) was most prone to clotting and was told to be careful of the amount of Vitamin K I was getting. I stopped the kale and have never had a problem donating since. Will supplementing with Vitamin K2 increase my risk for blood clots?

    Reply
    • Hi Alecia,

      Based on your experience with clots it is hard to say whether or not you would tolerate K2. Check with your MD to be sure.

      Best,
      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply
  2. I’m disappointed that this post doesn’t offer any self-help beyond buy-the-product. Surely there are some other things people can do to increase their K2.

    Reply
  3. A few years ago I read “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” by Kate Rheaume-Bleue, and it changed my life. She explained the signs of prenatal K2 deficiency, which my mother and I both had. Narrow faces, premature wrinkling of the skin, teeth crowded together because the frontal bones never completed forming properly. You may notice narrow faces are becoming the norm. This leads to mouth breathing, because you can’t easily nose breathe, and also apparently inhibits proper glymphatic drainage.

    At the time I had developed some cardiac symptoms (I’m in my 60s). I began to take the fermented cod liver oil/concentrated butter oil she suggested, which is based on extensive work by Dr. Weston Price in the 30s. It reversed my symptoms completely. I continue to take it, because there’s no way my diet is going to have enough K2 otherwise. FYI, my mother was K deficient, as was I. She was a bleeder, and I never got my tonsils out (thank God) because my blood wouldn’t clot fast enough.

    The author explains why you can’t just supplement one fat-soluble vitamin. You need the D/A/K ratios just right for them to do their jobs. I have always been against supplementing just one mineral or vitamin unless that single deficiency is all you have, because everything is connected, and you can end up with another imbalance. I also agree with Dr. John that food and whole food supplements are best. So this fermented cod liver oil/concentrated butter oil supplement is something I will continue to take. It’s food. It helps me get balance in the fat-soluble vitamins.

    An interesting side note. When I began to take it, within a matter of three days or so (!), I noticed I had much better vision in dark conditions. I would never have said I was vitamin A deficient or night blind, but probably I was. My mother was always turning on lights, even in the day, when it was shadowy. I find I don’t need to do that anymore.

    I think getting the fat-soluble vitamins balanced would dramatically reduce a lot of diseases we are seeing now. This website is such a great resource, and Dr. John’s suggestions have really made a difference in my life. My husband and I are currently doing the lymphatic cleanse with his products and seeing great results. Lymphatic congestion was another big issue I never realized I had, because allopathic doctors know nothing about it. I remember as a kid of about 9 years old, asking the doctor why I had a golf-ball-sized knot at the base of my skull on one side. He said, ‘oh, that’s just a lymph gland’, and dismissed it. I’ve had congestion forever. Thank heaven I found Dr. John.

    Reply
  4. Natto was mentioned in the article as a source of K2. Natto is available at Japanese and Asian grocery stores. It is slimy. I make a nori roll with it. I lay it on the nori and put amla powder on it. The slimy and astringent powders cancel each other out with textural problems, and they’re both exceedingly healthy. Then I add walnuts, craisins, a bit of high quality plain yogurt, and top it with green leafies. Then I add sauces like they do in Japan: mustard, my homemade WOrcestershire instead of soy, pepper for the turmeric in the mustard, and chile. Seal it and eat. It’s the only way I’ve found that I can actually eat Natto and enjoy it.

    Reply
    • Hi Dana,

      The dates for the Fall cleanse have not yet been released. Please keep an eye out for those dates to be released. I believe mid-October is when the cleanse will start.

      Best,
      LifeSpa Staff

      Reply

Leave a Comment