Are You at Risk?
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 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.2 Vitamin 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
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
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?