What is vitamin K?Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is involved in the production of proteins that are utilised in blood clotting. It plays a part in bone mineralisation and bone mineral density, as it is needed for the carboxylation (activation) of osteocalcin (the protein that binds calcium) to its active form.
What is the difference between K1 and K2?K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone), have slightly different chemical structures.
- K1 is mainly found in the liver where it is essential for blood clotting, and it has a shorter half-life than K2
- K2 is mainly found in animal foods such as egg yolk, butter, legumes, chesses and meat
There are two types of K2: MK-4 and MK-7:
- MK-4 is mainly found in meat, eggs and liver.
- MK-7 is mainly found in fermented cheeses and in Natto (a traditional Japanese food produced by the fermentation of soy beans by the bacteria Bacillus subtilis)
Can K2 prevent heart disease?One animal study found that K2 significantly decreased cholesterol plaque; it is therefore possible that it could have the same benefits in humans. A Rotterdam study in 2004 containing 4800 participants, conducted over a 7-year period, found that those who had ingested the most amount of K2 had a 57% reduction in death caused by heart disease, than those participants who ingested the least amount of K2
Who needs vitamin K?
- People with a family history of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease
- Dietary requirements are a lot higher in people who eat a typical ‘Western diet”
- Menopausal women due to the high risk of osteoporosis
- Children as they have a higher bone metabolism than adults