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)
K2 is predominantly used to deposit calcium in bones, teeth and soft tissue, whilst at the same time preventing calcium deposits in blood vessels, and it has a significantly longer half-life than K1.
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
What is the correct dosage?
In adults optimal blood levels of vitamin K can be reached in 3 months by dosing 180mcg per day.
But be sure to ‘ask a Naturopath’ if Vitamin K is suitable for you
Are there any contraindications?
Vitamin K2 should not be used with when taking Warfarin.
Naturopath and Nutritionist Teresa Adouni
Teresa is passionate about nutrition and cooking. She believes that good health lies in balance and her aim is to help you find that balance using supplements where necessary, herbal medicine, and food as medicine.