November 20, 2017
447 Vitamin K2 Update [20 Nov 2017]
Back in 2012 I wrote a series of columns on vitamin K2 [#148-151] and in June 2015 [#323] showed that taking statin drugs inhibits the synthesis of K2 making supplementation even more critical. It’s time for a review and update.
Vitamins K1 and K2 are different nutrients with entirely different functions. K1 is found in leafy green vegetables and plays a role in blood clotting. K2 is found in fat products (including egg yolks and butter) from grass fed animals. K2 activates two different proteins: osteocalcin to attach to calcium and move it into our bones and teeth; and matrix Gla protein (MGP) to keep calcium out of our arteries, kidneys, heart, breasts and brain.
K2 works with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to promote strong bones and teeth. Studies from Japan and the Netherlands found that K2 supplementation reduced bone fractures by 60-80% and actually reversed bone loss in people with osteoporosis.
Vitamins D and K2 are both needed for MGP which prevents calcium deposits on the lining of our arteries. A 2015 study showed that taking 180mcg of K2 prevented and even reversed hardening of the arteries. A previous 10 year study from the Netherlands found that increased consumption of K2 significantly lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and death from all causes.
Another role of K2 is in activating a protein that controls cell growth and helps protect us from some cancers. Research is also investigating potential roles of K2 in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and MS.
K2 deficiency is very common in Canada as very little is found in our diets and only a small amount is synthesized by our gut bacteria. There is still no readily available lab test for K2 levels but researchers estimate that an “overwhelming majority” of adults in North America get only about 10% of the vitamin K2 needed to prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular heart disease. We don’t need to wait – every adult should be supplementing with 100-200 mcg (I take 200 daily). And it’s non-toxic so we needn’t worry about taking too much – just too little. We certainly shouldn’t be taking calcium and vitamin D supplements without also supplementing K2. One caution – anyone taking a blood thinning drug like warfarin should talk to their doctor before starting K2 as the drug’s dosage will need to be adjusted.
There are two forms of K2 available in supplements: MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 is the one found in animal fats but has a short biological half-life (the length of time it stays active in our bodies) so needs to be taken several times a day. MK-7 is only found in certain (awful-tasting) fermented foods so is best taken as a supplement. It has the advantage of a longer half-life so only needs to be taken once a day. Some of the better calcium-magnesium supplements have added vitamins D3 and K2.
Source: Mercola 13 Nov 2017 Vitamin K2 for Heart Bone Health
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.