Whenever I talk about Vitamin D on social media, I am always met with the question "what about K2". So here is a little overview of this important nutrient. Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for bone health, blood clotting, and cardiovascular health. Vitamin K2 is found in animal-based foods like meat, cheese, and egg yolks, as well as in fermented foods like natto and sauerkraut.
One of the primary roles of vitamin K2 is in the activation of proteins that are involved in bone health. Vitamin K2 helps to activate osteocalcin, a protein that is involved in the mineralization of bones. Studies have shown that increased intake of vitamin K2 is associated with increased bone density and reduced risk of fractures, particularly in postmenopausal women.
Vitamin K2 also plays a role in blood clotting. The vitamin helps to activate a protein called prothrombin, which is involved in the formation of blood clots. Deficiencies in vitamin K2 can lead to excessive bleeding and bruising.
In addition to bone health and blood clotting, vitamin K2 has also been shown to play a role in cardiovascular health. The vitamin helps to activate a protein called matrix Gla protein (MGP), which helps to prevent the buildup of calcium in the arteries. Studies have shown that increased intake of vitamin K2 is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
While vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, vitamin K2 is found in animal-based and fermented foods. Natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soybean dish, is an especially good source of vitamin K2. However, many people do not consume adequate amounts of vitamin K2 in their diets.
Supplementation with vitamin K2 may be beneficial for those who are not able to consume adequate amounts through their diet. Vitamin K2 supplements are available in a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, and liquid drops.
It's important to mention that high doses of vitamin K2 can interfere with blood-thinning medications like warfarin. So if in doubt, chat to your GP.
In conclusion, vitamin K2 plays an important role in bone health, blood clotting, and cardiovascular health. Consuming a diet that includes adequate amounts of vitamin K2 through animal-based and fermented foods can support overall health, while supplementation may be beneficial for those who are not able to consume adequate amounts through their diet.