Vitamin K2: Everything You Need to Know

Vitamin K2: Everything You Need to Know

What is Vitamin K?

The word “vit” means life and “k2” means two. A person’s body needs vitamin k1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin k2 (niacinamide). Both are essential for normal growth, development, reproduction, immune system function, blood clotting and many other functions. Without these vitamins our bodies would not survive.

Vitamin K1 is found naturally in animal products such as eggs, milk, meat and fish. It helps with blood coagulation. Vitamin K2 is only found in plant-based sources like leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals and some dairy products. These plants contain phytonutrients which are compounds that have anti-cancer properties. They prevent cancer cells from multiplying and also act as antioxidants by removing free radicals.

How Does Vitamin K Help Me?

There are several ways in which vitamin k1 and vitamin k2 help us. Phytochemicals found in certain foods can affect how our bodies absorb nutrients or how well they work properly. For example, the amount of phytoestrogens present in soybeans affects how easily our bodies absorb iron and zinc. Other types of phytoestrogens include those found in garlic, onions, broccoli sprouts and wine grapes.

Vitamin K1 and K2 help our bodies use calcium properly. Without it our bones would not be able to build up necessary minerals to keep them strong.

Vitamin K is necessary for several other bodily functions. For instance, it is used as an antidote for certain types of poison such as those inhaled from gas leaks or carbon monoxide. It reduces internal bleeding by helping blood to clot.

Both types of this vitamin are necessary for maintaining strong bones and good cardiovascular health. They also keep our nervous system performing at peak levels and aid in the repair of any tissue damage.

Vitamin K deficiencies can cause problems with our blood, such as easy bleeding and bruising. Delayed wound healing, excessive menstrual bleeding, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums are other symptoms. Deficiencies have also been linked to heart disease and osteoporosis.

As we age our bodies need more vitamin K to perform at their peak levels. Elderly people are at a greater risk of not getting enough of it. These same people are also more susceptible to developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis.

Where Can I Get Vitamin K?

Good sources include the following foods:

Leafy greens – One serving provides between 75-90% of the recommended daily amount.

Cheese – Hard cheeses like cheddar and swiss are the best sources. One serving contains between 50-80% of the recommended daily amount.

Eggs – One egg contains about 10% of the recommended daily amount.

Meat – Meats such as liver, kidney, and lamb are good sources. These meats contain between 30-50% of the recommended daily amount per serving.

How Much Do I Need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin K is 90 micrograms (μg) per day for adult men and sufficient intake of between 75-90 μg per day for women. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers need higher amounts than this.

Osteocalcin is a protein that your body uses to help build up bones. When you get enough K1 in your diet, your body is able to produce osteocalcin more effectively. You need a certain amount of vitamin K in order for this to happen.

Vitamin K2 works with vitamin D3 and calcium. Together they help move these minerals into the bone after you’ve eaten enough vitamin K1 rich foods.

A sufficient intake for men is between 120-180μg per day and 90-135μg per day for women.

What Are The Side Effects/Risks?

Big doses of K1 can lead to excessive bleeding. This effect is more likely to happen in people who are already taking blood thinners.

If you have a history of prostate cancer, it’s best to avoid large amounts of vitamin K because this can cause the cancer to grow faster.

The current intake recommendations are based on studies that have used fairly high doses for relatively short periods of time. It’s not clear if these guidelines also apply to long-term, lower dose supplementation.

Vitamin K is not likely to cause any negative interactions when taken with other supplements. It is also unlikely to cause any negative effects when taken with medications such as antibiotics.

However, as always, if you are taking any medications you should consult with a medical professional before starting any new supplement.

Summary

Vitamin K is essential for the proper function of certain proteins in your body.

These proteins are crucial for blood clotting, bone growth and artery calcification.

There are two main types of this vitamin: K1 and K2. They are similar but play slightly different roles in the human body. A sufficiency of vitamin K1 can help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin K2 helps to improve the absorption of calcium in the body and reduce arterial calcification. It also helps to prevent osteoporosis in women.

Sources like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oils, cheese, and wheatgerm are good dietary sources of this vitamin.

The RDA for Vitamin K is between 90 and 135 micrograms for adult women and between 120 and 180 micrograms for adult men.

Vitamin K is safe in the amounts found in food. There’s some concern that taking high doses of this supplement may increase the risk of prostate cancer, but this has not been proven.

It’s best to get your nutrients from natural food sources whenever possible.

If you do take a supplement, it’s best to get advice from a medical professional first.

Sources & references used in this article:

Vitamin K2 and the calcium paradox: how a little-known vitamin could save your life by K Rheaume-Bleue – 2011 – books.google.com

Maximal dose-response of vitamin-K2 (menaquinone-4) on undercarboxylated osteocalcin in women with osteoporosis by TK Giri, D Newton, O Chaudhary… – … Journal for Vitamin …, 2019 – econtent.hogrefe.com

Health benefits of vitamin K2: a revolutionary natural treatment for heart disease and bone loss by LM Howard, AG Payne – 2006 – books.google.com