Vitamin K2 is being brought into the public eye more an more, but not enough! Did you know it could take years to see any outright “symptoms” of a particular nutrient deficiency? These symptoms generally involve not feeling as good as you used to, changes in skin quality, low energy, hormonal imbalances, joint pain, digestive issues, and more.
What is interesting about Vitamin K2 is that it was not until 1997 that researchers figured out the important role it plays in the human body. While many people are familiar with Vitamin K1 (present in leafy greens such as kale and spinach and plays a role in blood clotting) most have never heard of Vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 plays a critical role in directing calcium where it belongs and away from where it doesn’t belong. If it goes where it doesn’t belong, it becomes plaque build up in the arteries. It does this through it’s interaction with a few other nutrients, namely Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
- So why is K2 so important?
Vitamin K2 is involved in numerous functions in the human body but is especially important for women. Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, says:
“For the prevention of everything from wrinkles to cancer, Vitamin K2 is the missing nutrient for women’s health. Most women don’t need a calcium supplement, but Vitamin K2 will channel dietary calcium to the right places. Everyone is taking Vitamin D, but without K2 we’re not getting all the benefits of Vitamin D, and even risking harm from it.”
- Bone Health – While most associate calcium with bone health the fact of the matter is that calcium (particularly supplemental calcium) plays a very insignificant role in ensuring adequate bone density and Vitamin K2 plays a very strong role. Vitamin K2 does this via its relationship with two other key nutrients, Vitamin A (Retinol not Beta-Carotene) and Vitamin D.
- Dental Health – Dr. Weston A. Price’s research showed that dental decay, tooth sensitivity and other issues simply by adding K2 into the diet. He found remarkable dental health (and overall health) in indigenous tribes throughout the world. These peoples had straight, cavity free teeth and rarely brushed. Their diet was very high in K2 and the other fat soluble nutrients (A and D).
- Cardiovascular Health – For years we believed that clogged arteries were the results of saturated fat. We now know that this is not true. While there are many layers to cardiovascular disease the real culprit might be a lack of Vitamin K2 in the diet. Those blockages in your arteries are mostly calcium. Vitamin K2 keeps calcium out of your arteries and in your bones, where it belongs.
- Wrinkles – Consider regions of the world that have a high vitamin K2 intake and you will find people who look considerably young for their age (i.e. Tokyo – where Natto, the richest food source of Vitamin K2 is consumed regularly). There is also a strong correlation between early signs of aging (wrinkles, loose skin) and low bone density.
- Healthy Veins – Varicose veins are technically a disease of the cardiovascular system and like the related section above, involve calcium being deposited where it doesn’t belong. This can lead to veins that have lost their integrity and are more susceptible to bulging.
- Where to get it?
Food sources are always best, however it can be a challenge with Vitamin K2 since the foods with the highest concentrations are rather obscure and not commonly consumed (see list below). That being said you can supplement with Vitamin K2. It should be included in your supplement routine (with Magnesium a close second). There are some nuances in supplementing with Vitamin K2, for more details on the topic check out source 1 below. ****If you take a supplement, as I do, opt for 100 mg. Vitamin K2 for every 1,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 that you take. So if you take 2,000 I.U. of your D, then take 2 of the 100 mg. tablets with it.
The foods highest in Vitamin K2:
• Natto (fermented soybeans)
• Goose Liver (and other liver)
• Dairy products from animals that are eating fast growing spring grass (milk, butter, ghee).
• Cheeses – Gouda and Brie have the highest concentration but any cheese from a grass-fed animal will have Vitamin K2. Consider having some fruit and cheese as a snack.
• Egg yolks from a pasture raised chicken also contain K2. Eat 2-3 egg yolks a day.
- Why is deficiency so common?
• It is a nutrient that is not present in high concentrations in many commonly consumed foods.
• The increased consumption of processed foods and a departure away from eating traditional foods (which are notoriously nutrient dense – nose to tail eating, grass-fed dairy, fermented foods, animal fats, etc.).Info found in Natural Standard Magazine/Steven Macari