Vitamin K2 for Bone and Heart Health

It was once thought that vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 had the same physiological function (primarily blood clotting) and that vitamin K2 intake wasn’t too important due to the fact that the body could convert K1 into K2.  However, new research is revealing that both of these assumptions were false and both types of vitamin K have very different functions in the body.  Further to this, it has also been found that vitamin K2 intake is considerably low in the modern diet.  Here are some very important things you need to know about vitamin K2.

What is the role of vitamin K2 in the body?

Whilst less is known about vitamin K2 than perhaps any other micronutrient, recent research has revealed that it may play a very important role in maintaining strong and healthy bones.  This is primarily due to its role in activating osteocalcin, a hormone that drives bone building. 

Whilst vitamin K2 is essential for bone health by keeping calcium in your bones, it also has various benefits for heart health by keeping calcium out of your arteries.  It is important to realise that the research showing vitamin K2’s positive benefits for both bone and heart health were not shared by that of vitamin K1. 

Food sources of vitamin K2

Vitamin K1 is found abundantly in leafy green vegetables.  Whilst it was originally thought that the body was able to convert enough vitamin K1 to K2, recent research has proved otherwise.  Vitamin K2 is found plentifully in natto (fermented soybean), fish eggs, egg yolk and other animal products.  In saying that, it is important to note that animals fed a diet consisting of predominantly grains produce very little vitamin K2.  Look for butter and cheese from cattle raised on pastures with a rich soil.  The liver and fatty parts of animals fed a similar diet are also often rich in vitamin K2. 

Why supplement with vitamin K2?

Given the food sources above, it is easy to see that the modern Western diet is severely lacking in vitamin K2.  Commercial butters and cheeses are sourced from cattle fed predominantly with grains.  Other sources high in vitamin K2 – like fish eggs and natto – are often delicacies and not readily available to most Australians.  Whilst there is currently no RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for vitamin K2, supplementation may have a positive impact on the markers for both bone and heart health.  Scientists are now even looking into the benefits of vitamin K2 for other diseases such as prostate cancer. 

Suggested Dosage: Take 1 capsule of vitamin K2 with 1000IU of vitamin D3 immediately following your largest meal of the day. 

This is intended as general advice only.  Please see your healthcare practitioner before starting any supplement protocol.