Have you heard of vitamin K2? If not, you are not alone because it is one of the lesser-known vitamins, but despite this, it is a powerful nutrient that is essential for good health. In fact, it’s suspected that vitamin K2 could be the missing link between poor diet and specific chronic diseases.
What is vitamin K2?
Originally, vitamin K was discovered in 1929 and was found to be essential for blood clotting. Initially, the discovery was reported in a scientific journal in Germany, and it was called koagulationsvitamin, which is why it is now known as vitamin K. Weston Price, a dentist who travelled the world in the early part of the last century also discovered vitamin K by looking at the relationship between diet and disease in different populations. Price noticed that certain diets contained an unknown nutrient which apparently offered protection against chronic disease and tooth decay. It’s now believed this mystery nutrient was vitamin K2.
Vitamin K is found in two different forms, which are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. However, some scientists think that vitamins K1 and K2 should be classified as entirely different nutrients. Studies in people have shown that whereas vitamin K2 supplements can help improve heart and bone health, vitamin K1 might not provide any significant benefits.
How Does Vitamin K2 Work?
Vitamin K2 is essential for calcium metabolism and for heart health, as well as for blood clotting. One of the most important functions of this vitamin is to regulate the way calcium is deposited, preventing blood vessels and kidneys from becoming calcified while promoting the calcification of bones.
One of the most important functions of this vitamin is to regulate the way calcium is deposited, preventing blood vessels and kidneys from becoming calcified while promoting the calcification of bones.
Vitamin K2 May Help Prevent Heart Disease
One of the biggest factors for heart disease is calcium buildup in the arteries so anything that can prevent this buildup could help promote better heart health. Vitamin K2 is thought to help prevent heart disease by preventing calcium deposits in the arteries.
May Improve Bone Health
Osteoporosis is a serious condition that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures. It tends to be more prevalent in women past menopause. Vitamin K2 helps to metabolize calcium which is the primary mineral found in bones and in teeth.
May Improve Dental Health
There has been speculation that vitamin K2 could positively impact dental health, but this is based on animal studies. Given the role of vitamin K2 in bone metabolism, the assumption that it can positively impact dental health seems reasonable. This is because one of the main proteins in dental health is osteocalcin, the same protein that is critical for bone metabolism and it is activated by vitamin K2. The protein helps to trigger a mechanism stimulating the growth of new dentin. Dentin is found just below the dental enamel of a tooth forming a significant part of its structure.
Several studies have suggested that vitamin K2 could help to fight liver cancer, increasing survival times. Another observational study linked a high intake of vitamin K2 with a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, but far more studies are needed before any claims such as these can be verified.
Where to Obtain Vitamin K2?
The body is partially able to convert vitamin K1 into K2, as the average diet contains far more vitamin K1. Leafy greens are a good source of vitamin K1, whereas vitamin K2 is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and in animal products such as high-fat dairy products, egg yolks, and liver and organ meats. Because it is fat-soluble, low-fat and lean animal products contain lower levels of vitamin K2. Your gut bacteria in your large intestines can also produce vitamin K2, but it is possible taking broad-spectrum antibiotics reduces this capacity.
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