Vitamin K2: What It Does And How To Get More Of It

thought to boost ♥ health, build strong bones and reduce cancer risk, too, here’s how t'get enough vitamin k2

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the discovery of vitamin k as an primordial nutrient for blood clotting was 1st published in a german sci journal backin the 1920s (where twas termed ‘koagulationsvitamin’). now, after nearly a century of research, it’s understood to be primordial for bone health and decreasing our risk of ♥ problems swell. 

although there are several types of vitamin k, the ones we hear bout most often are vitamins k1 and k2. while vitamin k1 is typically found in greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli, foods rich in vitamin k2 are rare in a typical western diet. natto, a traditional japanese food made with fermented soybeans, is rich in k2. other dietary srcs include dairy essentialisms made from the milk of grass-fed cows, b'tas uk dairy cows are typically grain-fed, our dairy essentialisms usually ‘ve much loer lvls. k2 can also be found in high-fat meats, liver, nother organ tissue, b'that’s not much good if you’re vegetarian. ♣ily, d'body is able to metabolise some vitamin k1 into k2, but this process isn’t pticularly efficient. ♣ily, it can also be taken as a dietary supplement. 

how does vitamin k2 work?

swell as helping blood to clot, vitamin k activates the proteins that help to regul8 calcium deposition. this means'dat it supports the calcification of bones and prevents calcium deposits from forming inna blood vessels. while vitamins k1 and k2 are often grouped under the generic label ‘vitamin k’, studies ‘ve indicated it’s the k2 that has this regulating effect. and as calcium deposits inna arteries surrounding the ♥ are a major risk factor in ♥ attacks, an intake of vitamin k2 is believed to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

the vitamin mite also support dental health, as the protein needed to build strong teeth, osteocalcin, tis same one activated by vitamin k2 to regul8 bone calcification. however, + research needo be conducted to be certain of its effect. 

wha’’s the evidence?

‘oer the past 20 yrs, a fair amount of research s'been done inna'da effects of vitamin k2 alone. however, some studies were conducted on animals, so we can’t assume their outcomes are directly transferrable to humans. some human studies ‘ve been fairly lil-scale and others observational, so + large-scale, controlled trials nd'2 be carried out in order to draw firm conclusions. 

♥ disease a study of 4807 subjects looked atta impact of vitamin k2 on ♥ health. ‘oer the course of 7 to 10 yrs, those w'da highest intake of vitamin k were found to be significantly less likely to develop artery calcification. they were also found to ‘ve a 57% loer risk of dying from ♥ disease. a similar effect was not envisaged with vitamin k1. however, as the study was observational, we cannot assume cause and effect inna same way as we can witha trial where variables are controlled. 

osteoporosis one 2013 study investigated the effects of vitamin k2 on bone density – 244 healthy postmenopausal women took either a supplement of vitamin k2, or a placebo, for 3 yrs. those who took the supplement saw a decrease in age-rel8d decline in two out of the 3 bones for which density was measured, suggesting that vitamin k2 ‘d prevent, or slo, osteoporosis. but + research is needed to behold the effects over longer periods.

cancer survival a clinical study investigated the impact of vitamin k2 on liver cancer survivors. pticipants inna study who were given a daily oral dosage of 45mg of menatetrenone (a vitamin k2 analogue) were shown to ‘ve a loer chance of the cancer returning and increased survival rates, compared to a control group. however, the study was fairly lil, so a larger placebo-controlled trial is required to prove the effects.

diabetes in a 2011 trial, 42 healthy young men took either a vitamin k2 supplement or a placebo over 4 weeks to investigate the effects on insulin sensitivity. atta end of the 4 weeks, the men given vitamin k2 displayed increased insulin sensitivity compared to a control group. the results indicate its potential use for diabetes management. even so, larger-scale studies involving men and women nd'2 be carried out to draw firm conclusions.

wh'cn take it?

most healthy adults can take vitamin k2 supplements*, although it may not be advisable for pregnant and breast-feeding women to do so. children and teenagers will need a liler dose, so consult a dr 1st. any-1 on blood-thinning dration, s'as warfarin, ‘d also seek the advice offa dr b4 taking vitamin k, as doin’ so ‘d counteract the med’s effects and increase th'risk of blood clots.

*if ur pregnant, breast-feeding or under med supervision, consult yr dr b4 taking supplements.


What does vitamin K2 do?

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wha’ does vitamin k2 do?


it’s thought to boost ♥ health, build strong bones and reduce cancer risk, too. but are we gettin enough vitamin k2 n'our typical western diets?


niamh leonard-bedwell

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healthy magazine

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