Vitamin K2 is a little-known vitamin that is essential for strong, healthy bones and a healthy cardiovascular system.
The little-known vitamin with big benefits
Vitamin K2 might not be as well known as vitamins C or D, but it’s no less important. In fact, in recent years, researchers have revealed just how essential vitamin K2 is for the health of our bones, teeth, and arteries.
Vitamin K2 and the “Calcium Paradox”
Vitamin K2 is now known to play a key role in the “calcium paradox” – a phenomenon where a lack of calcium in the bones (osteoporosis) occurs even when there is an excess of calcium in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This is, in part, because vitamin K2 stimulates the production of a protein called osteocalcin which builds bones and helps them retain calcium.1
Vitamin K2 also inhibits the activity of cells that break down bone. In clinical studies, vitamin K2 has been seen to help maintain bone density in the lumbar spine and decrease the incidence of osteoporotic fractures in patients with age-related osteoporosis or glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.2
Vitamin K2 and heart disease
In addition to supporting bone health, vitamin K2 helps prevent, and can even reverse, arterial calcification, a process where arteries become hardened and inelastic. It does this by activating matrix GLA protein (MGP) which helps clear calcium from the arteries.
In The Rotterdam Heart Study, involving almost 5,000 people aged 55 and older, those with the highest dietary intake of vitamin K2 had a 57% lower risk of death from heart disease than people with the lowest intake of the nutrient.3 The same was not true of vitamin K1 intake, so what’s the difference between these types of vitamin K?
The most powerful source of vitamin K2
There are three types of vitamin K: K1, K2, and K3 (synthetic vitamin K). Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is made by plants and is found in foods such as green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is found in the fermented soybean food, natto, egg yolk, and dairy products from animals fed primarily on grass.
Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) is a highly bioavailable and bioactive form of vitamin K2 derived from natto, and seems to play a key role in the Calcium Paradox. Only K2 as MK-7 offers 24-hour protection with a single daily dose, helping to direct calcium away from the arteries and into bones and teeth.
Studies in human volunteers taking either MK-7 or vitamin K1 show that over a 24-hour period the level of MK-7 present in the blood was two and a half times higher than for K1. Over a four-day period, MK-7 levels were six-fold higher than K1.1
Vitamin K2 as MK-7 has a much longer half-life than lower menaquinones, meaning that it stays in the bloodstream for longer. MK-7 has also been shown to be three times more effective than vitamin K1 at promoting activated osteocalcin, suggesting more significant benefits for bone health.1
Are you getting enough?
For many people, diet alone does not provide sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 to support optimal health of the cardiovascular system and bones. Daily supplementation with Natural Factors Vitamin K2 makes it easy to obtain optimum levels of this important nutrient.
Natural Factors Vitamin K2 is an ideal one-a-day supplement for supporting strong, healthy bones while also promoting cardiovascular health. This vegetarian-friendly vitamin K supplement is gluten free, dairy free, and non-GMO – and it contains no artificial colours, preservatives, or sweeteners.
If you are taking blood thinners, consult a health care practitioner prior to using products containing vitamin K.