Did you know…that there is a little-known, “forgotten” vitamin that effectively supports bone growth…maintains healthy bone mass…boosts memory…enhances heart health…and even prevents premature aging?
The almost “forgotten” benefits of vitamin K is stepping up the ranks and joining vitamin D3, calcium and magnesium as one of the most important vitamins for bone and heart health. While some countries, such as India, have long recognized its importance—and even regulate its intake—the Western world has ignored this vital nutrient for decades.
Emerging research calls for renewed attention to this vitamin, which helps to…
- Strengthen bones
- Invigorate the vascular (arteries and veins) system
- Enhance heart health
- Prevent premature aging and protect your skin
- Boost memory and cognitive function
- Strengthen your immune system
- Defend cells against oxidative damage
- Support normal blood sugar levels
- Deliver calcium to your bones and bone marrow
That’s quite an impressive list of powerful benefits of vitamin K that was previously considered unimportant!
Unfortunately, 99% of the population may be deficient in this essential nutrient. Because this vitamin is fat-soluble, it requires sufficient fat intake in order to be absorbed. If you eat a restricted diet or a diet low in fat, you are at increased risk for deficiency.
You may also be deficient if you…
- Have Crohn’s, ulcerative, colitis or celiac disease.
- Have a liver condition that may interfere with nutrient absorption.
- Take certain medications, such as antibiotics, cholesterol drugs, or even aspirin, all of which inhibit vitamin absorption.
Currently, there is no test that can accurately measure deficiency in this vitamin. Blood tests remain inconclusive, as you may show appropriate levels of the vitamin in your blood, but still be deficient in your bones.
The benefits of vitamin K is obtained by the body mainly through dark leafy vegetables and greens, such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach. But even if your diet includes the consumption of an ample amount of greens, don’t think you couldn’t possibly be deficient. Our bodies typically only absorb 10-15% of the vitamin, and only one form of benefits of vitamin K at that!
Which Vitamin K is the Best—and Which Should You Avoid?
There are 3 types of Vitamin K, as follows:
Vitamin K1—phylloquinone, also known as phytonadione
• Vitamin K1 makes up 90% of the vitamin K found in the Western diet. Vitamin K1 is a necessary and important contributor to bone growth and overall bone health, but there is an even more potent form of vitamin K…
• Vitamin K2 is a highly potent, natural form of vitamin K that is produced in the body, but unfortunately lacking in the American diet. Ongoing research confirms vitamin K2’s profound effects on the skeletal system, brain, liver and pancreas.
Vitamin K3—menadione synthetic variant
• This synthetic form of vitamin K is NOT for human consumption. It offers no benefits and comes with possibly risky side effects. Unfortunately, many vitamin manufacturers offer vitamin K3 as a supplement, so it is advisable to steer clear of these supplements!
Vitamin K2’s Role in Bone Health
Vitamin K2 plays an influential role in bone growth and bone metabolism. It has a significant effect on osteoblasts, which are the cells that form our bones. Osteoblasts produce a protein called osteocalcin. This protein provides the structural support that affixes calcium to your bones—but without vitamin K2, osteoclacins cannot do their job. Vitamin K2 transforms osteoclacins into their active bone-building form. In the absence of vitamin K2, bone growth is stunted.
Vitamin K2 also suppresses cells known as osteoclasts, which tear down and remove bone and bone tissue. By inhibiting osteoclasts, vitamin K2 helps strengthen and maintain bones.
Many research studies supporting the findings that vitamin K2 helps maintain healthy bone mass and growth have been published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry.
The Best Sources to Get Benefits of Vitamin K 2
Fermented foods—typically not a large part of our diets—contain the highest concentration of vitamin K2. An ancient Japanese food called natto is perhaps the best food source of vitamin K2. It contains 10 times the amount of vitamin K2 that spinach contains of vitamin K1. Unfortunately, the taste and texture is unpleasant, and requires the use of flavor enhancers to be palatable to most people.
If you are unable to tolerate natto, some nutritionists suggest supplementing with raw curd cheese. Although it contains 27 times less K2 than natto, it is still a wonderful source of the vitamin.
If you are looking to supplement in tablet form, it’s best to invest in a product that comes from natto (vitamin K2-7), rather than a synthetic form of vitamin K. A vitamin K2 supplement should be free of allergens and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and manufactured via a stable fermentation process.