Every vitamin has certain benefits to our health. Dr. Dennis Goodman wrote a book Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient for Heart and Bone Health in which he clarifies why vitamin K2 is as significant as vitamin D.
According to Goodman, prevention is the most important in preserving our health. Chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, and obesity are preventable by lifestyles changes.
Two vital functions of vitamin K2 are in cardiovascular health and in bone restoration.
Both Vitamin K1 and K2 belong to the same family, but have different functions. Function of vitamin K1 is the production of coagulation factors in order to stop the bleeding process and can be found in green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 involves two enzymes Matrix Gla-protein (MGP) and Osteocalcin.
When glutamic acid binds to calcium and removes it from the lining of your blood vessels, vitamin K2 then enables incorporation of that calcium into your bone matrix by passing it over to osteocalcin which reinforces the calcium in place.
Without vitamin K2 the transfer of calcium from the arteries to bones cannot happen.
Dr. Goodman made a connection between osteoporosis and an increased incidence of heart disease, stating that the actual reason of these illnesses is a vitamin K2-deficiency.
His suggestion to all his patients is to get vitamin K2 when they take vitamin D, and calcium, and magnesium.
Level of K2 can be inhibited and reduced by statin drugs. As one in four adults in the US over the age of 40 is on a statin drug, they should take additional vitamin K2 to avoid cardiovascular damage.
Sources of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 can be found in natto, which is a fermented soy product, and in fermented vegetables. However, not all fermented food is a source of vitamin K2. Yogurt has almost no vitamin K2, while cheeses like Gouda, Brie, and Edam are high in K2. The level of K2 depends on the specific bacteria. It is recommended to take K2 supplement because it is difficult to get enough of vitamin K2 from your diet.
The K2 sufficiency is measured through an indirect assessment of undercarboxylated osteocalcin and it is not commercially available. Without this test it is not easy to assess the optimum level of K2, so if you have osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes, you’re likely deficient in vitamin K2. Even though you don’t have these illnesses you should still eat foods with high amounts of vitamin K2 (vegetables fermented using a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria, certain cheeses such as Brie and Gouda and egg yolks, butter, dairy which came from grass-fed organic animal).
As a supplement, vitamin K2 comes in different forms. The recommended product is MK-7 which stays in your body longer and comes from bacteria derived fermentation process. MK-7 is known to stop inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammatory markers produced by white blood cells called monocytes.
The recommended dosage is 45 micrograms per day, while Dr. Goodman recommends taking 180 micrograms of the K2 per day in the form of MK-7. But bear in mind that the effects of vitamin K2 are internal, so you won’t see any noticeable effect.
Dr. Goodman also recommends magnesium as another vital nutrient. In his other publication Magnificent Magnesium: Your Essential Key to a Healthy Heart & More, he emphasizes that calcium, vitamin D, K2, and magnesium all work together synergistically. Therefore, these four should be taken together. People with renal failure should be careful with magnesium, while others have nothing to worry about. Recommended types of magnesium are threonate, glycinate, citrate, and dimalate.