Vitamins C and D are widely recognized, but what about vitamin K2? How familiar are you with it?
Although it may not be as well-known as other vitamins, vitamin K2 is essential for human health. In the following sentences, we will discuss vitamin K2 and answer some frequently asked questions.
What are the benefits of vitamin K2? Is excessive intake of vitamin K2 harmful? Which foods are rich in vitamin K?
Are you ready? Keep scrolling!
Which vitamin is K2?
There are two primary types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 can be found in fermented foods and animal products. It can further be classified into various subtypes, including MK-4 to MK-13. Among these, the most notable ones are MK-4 and MK-7.
MK-4 is derived from animal products and is the only subtype not produced by bacteria. It can be found in foods such as liver, butter, and egg yolks.
MK-7, on the other hand, is commonly obtained through a natural bacterial fermentation process. It is particularly abundant in a traditional Japanese dish called natto. A typical daily dosage of MK-7 is approximately one teaspoon of natto.
What is the benefit of vitamin K2?
Let’s delve into the basics!
Vitamin K plays several key roles in the body, including promoting calcium metabolism, supporting heart health, and aiding in blood clotting. One of its vital functions is regulating calcium deposition. In simpler terms, it helps prevent calcification in the kidneys and blood vessels while enhancing bone calcification. However, the functions of vitamin K1 and K2 differ. Vitamin K1 primarily facilitates the clotting process, while vitamin K2 specifically promotes bone and heart health.
We all understand the importance of calcium in bone formation. However, excessive calcium present in arteries and blood vessels can have adverse effects on health.
Some studies suggest that vitamin K2 helps remove calcium from the lining of blood vessels and redistributes it to the bones. This process may be compromised if you don’t have enough vitamin K2, increasing the risk of heart and bone issues. To ensure effective calcium transport to the bones, many medical experts recommend taking vitamin K2 supplements alongside bone-healthy vitamins like vitamin D and magnesium.
Moreover, research indicates that higher levels of vitamin K2 in the body contribute to increased overall bone density and a reduced risk of fractures.
In addition to its role in bone and heart health, vitamin K2 supplementation has shown benefits in the following areas:
- Blood Sugar Control: Vitamin K2 may help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially reducing the risk of anxiety and depression.
- Anti-cancer Properties: Foods rich in vitamin K2 have been associated with anti-cancer benefits. Some studies suggest that K2 can inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cells, including those associated with liver and prostate cancer.
- Kidney Stone Prevention: Vitamin K2 aids in the activation of matrix Gla protein, which helps remove calcium and prevents the formation of kidney stones.
- Insulin Sensitivity: Vitamin K-dependent osteocalcin, released after bone reabsorption, acts as a hormone on various tissues, potentially increasing insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen or making significant changes to your diet.
What signs might point to a vitamin K2 deficiency?
Consuming foods rich in vitamin K2 may help prevent various diseases, including diabetes, bile duct obstruction, digestive problems, cystic fibrosis, and chronic kidney disease, provided we pay attention to our dietary choices.
The following are signs that may indicate a deficiency of vitamin K2:
- Excessive bleeding or increased vulnerability to bruises.
- Blood clotting under the nails.
- Severe menstrual cycles.
- Weak teeth and bones.
- Digestive system issues.
- Inflammatory colitis.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.
Is vitamin K2 harmful in excess?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin K2 for adults is typically between 100 to 300 micrograms. Children under the age of 12 require approximately 45 micrograms per day. However, individuals with specific medical conditions may require higher amounts as recommended by their healthcare provider.
Currently, there are no documented severe negative effects associated with excessive intake of vitamin K2. Nevertheless, it is advisable to follow the recommended daily intake guidelines to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
Please note that individual needs may vary, and it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice based on your specific health condition and dietary requirements.
What food sources are there for vitamin K2?
According to the National Health Service (NHS), incorporating the following food sources into a healthy, balanced diet will help ensure an adequate intake of vitamin K2:
Natto, a popular Japanese food made from fermented soybeans, is the richest source of vitamin K2. One spoonful of natto contains 150 micrograms of vitamin K2.
Eels offer a seafood option for obtaining vitamin K2. They provide 63 micrograms per 100 grams, which meets the daily requirement.
Beef liver contains 11 micrograms of vitamin K2 per 100 grams. It is also rich in minerals such as copper, vitamin A, folate, and riboflavin.
If you’re not a fan of liver, you can opt for chicken as a source of vitamin K2. Chicken contains 10 micrograms per 100 grams, which is 5–10 times more than pork or beef.
A single egg yolk contains between 67 and 192 micrograms of vitamin K2. However, the quantity may vary based on the hen’s diet. Chickens fed with vitamin K-fortified diets are likely to produce eggs with higher vitamin K2 content.
Cheese is a great source of vitamin K2, along with other minerals like protein, calcium, and vitamin A. However, it is important to consume cheese in moderation due to its high calorie and saturated fat content. The vitamin K2 level in different types of cheese varies. For example, cheddar contains 12 micrograms, aged Gouda and Edam have 32 micrograms, Camembert contains 34 micrograms, and Munster contains 50 micrograms of vitamin K2.
Consuming 1 tablespoon of butter can provide approximately 2.1 micrograms of vitamin K2. However, it is advisable to include other K2-rich foods in your diet due to the high fat content in butter.
Similar to natto, sauerkraut offers various health benefits, including immune support and gut health. It contains 2.75 micrograms of vitamin K2 per half cup.
If these food sources are not easily accessible, supplements can serve as a good alternative. Combining vitamin K2 with a vitamin D supplement can enhance their benefits due to their synergistic effects when taken together.
Now, let’s find out which vitamin K2 source you prefer. Have you noticed any improvements in your health since including it in your diet? Please feel free to ask any questions in the space below.
- Related post: Does Weight Lifting make you grow taller?