What is Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in various physiological functions. It is one of the two main forms of Vitamin K, the other being Vitamin K1. While Vitamin K1 is primarily involved in blood clotting, K2 has a wider range of applications including supporting bone health, regulating calcium metabolism, and possibly benefiting cardiovascular health.
Vitamin K2 is naturally found in certain foods like fermented dairy products (cheese, yoghurt), natto (a fermented soy product popular in Japan), and some animal products like liver and egg yolks. It can also be taken as a supplement, usually in the form of MK-7 (menaquinone-7) or MK-4 (menaquinone-4).
One of the most important functions of Vitamin K2 is its role in directing calcium to the right places in the body. For instance, it helps in the deposition of calcium into bones and teeth, which contributes to their strength and density. At the same time, it prevents the accumulation of calcium in arteries and soft tissues, where it can be harmful.
Because of its role in calcium metabolism, Vitamin K2 has attracted attention for its potential benefits in cardiovascular health. It is believed that adequate levels of K2 can help prevent or even reverse arterial calcification, a condition where calcium deposits build up in the arterial walls, increasing the risk of heart diseases.
How to Take Vitamin K2
The optimal dosage for vitamin K2 can vary depending on individual needs and medical advice. However, commonly recommended dosages range from 45 to 180 micrograms per day for adults. It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Vitamin K2 is available in various forms, including MK-4 and MK-7. MK-7 is generally considered more effective as it stays longer in the body. It can be found in supplement form or naturally in foods like natto, a Japanese fermented soybean dish.
Taking vitamin K2 with a meal that includes fats may improve absorption, as it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
With Other Supplements:
Vitamin K2 works synergistically with vitamin D and calcium. Some people choose to take a combination supplement to ensure balanced absorption and effectiveness.
How Much is Effective?
The effectiveness of the dosage may depend on several factors including age, lifestyle, and existing health conditions. Clinical studies often use dosages ranging from 90 to 360 micrograms of MK-7 per day, but the most effective dose for you should be determined in consultation with a healthcare provider.
Does it Reverse Artery Calcification?
There is promising, albeit inconclusive, evidence that vitamin K2 could play a role in reducing artery calcification and improving heart health. Studies have shown that vitamin K2 can help direct calcium to the bones and teeth where it is needed, and away from the arteries and soft tissues where it can be harmful.
However, while some research suggests potential benefits in reducing arterial calcification, no study conclusively proves that vitamin K2 can reverse arterial calcification entirely. Most medical professionals consider it a supplement that can support arterial health when combined with other healthy lifestyle changes but not a stand-alone cure.
Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, especially if you are currently taking medications, including blood thinners, or have other health conditions.
- Beulens, J. W., et al. (2009). High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Atherosclerosis, 203(2), 489-493.
- Kurnatowska, I., et al. (2015). Effect of vitamin K2 on progression of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in nondialyzed patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3-5. Polish Archives of Internal Medicine, 125(9), 631-640.
Note: This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.