We often hear about the importance of Vitamin C, E, and D, but rarely K; you might even be reading about it for the first time. Although Vitamin K is a little less well-known in the world of essential vitamins and mineral, it’s becoming more popular for its potential benefits in bone health.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about Vitamin K2, as well as the appropriate Vitamin K2 dosage so that you can decide if it’s the essential vitamin to add to your daily health regimen.
What Is Vitamin K?
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Before we can discuss a proper Vitamin K2 dosage, it’s important to talk about Vitamin K, in general. Many people, when learning about Vitamin K2, get confused about Vitamin K and K2.
What’s The difference? Is There A Difference?
Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. The vitamin, or its role in blood coagulation,wasn’t discovered until nearly 1930. At the time of its discovery, Vitamin K was published in a German journal as Koagulationsvitamin (hence the name, Vitamin K). The vitamin was also discovered by a dentist, who was traveling the world during the early 20th century studying the correlation between disease and diet.
He believed that the missing nutrient (Vitamin K) was the key to healthy teeth and a preventative against chronic disease. One of the reasons as to why many people get confused about Vitamin K is that it is broken down into to forms, Vitamin K1 and K2. K1 is naturally occurring in food like leafy greens, and
K2 is in animal proteins and fermented foods. Vitamin K2 is broken down even further, and the most beneficial subtypes are MK-4 and MK-7.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin K2
Since Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood clotting and research has shown it is important for bone health, let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of Vitamin K2.
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Children are less likely to have calcium deficiencies, but as we age issues related to the lack of calcium, such as osteoporosis, are more common in adults (particularly postmenopausal women). Bone is constantly formed and reabsorbed throughout like and Vitamin K2 can help keep bones healthy and strong.
One study reveals that Japanese post menopausal women who consumed natto, a fermented soybean, had less bone loss. Subsequent studies reveal that individuals who consumed Vitamin K2 supplements had fewer bone loss than subjects who had the placebo. While the supplements had promising results, fermented foods had higher results.
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Vitamin K2’s presence in the brain is focused around the areas near the myelin sheath, where K1 is randomly distributed throughout the brain. The presence of Vitamin K2 in the brain is strongly connected to the amount of sulfatides. Sulfatides levels play an integral role in brain health, particularly when it comes to Alzheimer’s patients.
Sulfatide deficiency is common in individuals with memory loss, and Vitamin K2 may help to prevent or reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Reducing Cancer Risks
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals may help in preventing or reducing the risks of certain cancers and Vitamin K2 may also be beneficial. Studies reveal that men, who consumed Vitamin K2, had lower risks and incidences of prostate or lung cancer.A regular consumption of Vitamin K2, specifically through diet, may help to lower the overall risk of cancer (not only prostate or lung).
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Some individuals are more prone to kidney stones; if you are, you may have a Vitamin K2 deficiency. Healthy kidneys have high-levels of K2, which removes calcium and prevents kidney stones from developing in the first place.
Studies suggest that individuals with Vitamin K deficiencies, who consumed more Vitamin K, spent less time on dialysis and had a better rate of survival than those who did not take Vitamin K supplements.
Prevent Heart Disease
Similar to the calcium buildup in your kidneys, calcium deposits in your arteries can lead to potentially fatal diseases like heart disease. Since Vitamin K can help keep calcium from building up, K2 plays a role in reducing heart disease. In a ten year study, the risk of calcification in the arteries and dying from heart disease was reduced by over 50 percent.
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Even though the importance of Vitamin K2 was discovered by a dentist during his travels and various studies, there’s limited evidence showing the correlation between dental health and K2 consumption.
Since we know that Vitamin K2 may benefit bone health and prevent osteoporosis, it may be safe to assume that it has dental benefits as well. K2 may help grow new dentin, which is tissue underneath the enamel of your teeth (and helps protect the enamel).
Does Everyone Benefit From Vitamin K2?
Nearly everyone benefits from a healthy intake of vitamins, but many may wonder how important it is to get a daily dose of K2. Like all vitamins, some individuals may reap the benefits more than others. While everyone may benefit from K2, people who are vitamin K deficient are likely to benefit more.
Vitamin K deficiency is common in individuals who are/have:.
- Crohn’s or celiac disease
- Take medications that interfere with Vitamin K absorption
How Much Should You Take?
Whether you are healthy or have some existing health conditions, it’s important to talk to your doctor about taking Vitamin K2 to ensure that you get a proper and safe dosage. Since K2 is considered to be a relatively newer vitamin, the research is limited, and a supplement might not be ideal for everyone.
Here is the recommended Vitamin K2 dosage for healthy individuals:
- Children 0 to 6 months: 2 micrograms/day
- Children 7 to 12 months: 2.5 micrograms/day
- Children 1 to 3 years old: 30 micrograms/day
- Children 4 to 8 years old: 55 micrograms/day
- Children 9 to 13 years old: 60 micrograms/day
- Girls and Boys 14 to 18 years old: 75 micrograms/day
- Women 19 and up: 90 micrograms/day
- Men 19 and up: 120 micrograms/day
While there are few adverse effects associated with taking K2, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor if you take any medications, such as blood thinners or as part of a cancer treatment. To avoid any possible side effects, it’s best to take only the recommended dose and pay attention to any negative side effects.
Vitamin K2 Supplements
K2 supplements are becoming more readily available in health food or drug stores. Since other vitamins and minerals are essential, you may want to find a multi-vitamin that contains Vitamin K2. Since Vitamin K is fat-soluble, it’s best to take a supplement with a healthy fat for optimal absorption.
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Eating Your Vitamin K2
If you don’t feel like taking a supplement or want to try to incorporate more Vitamin K2 into your diet, you may have success in eating foods like darker meats like dark chicken meat or goose liver. Eat eggs, but only try to eat egg whites?
The yolks contain a good source of Vitamin K, so don’t let those yolks go to waste. Dairy products like cheese and butter contain Vitamin K2, and if you eat dairy from grass-fed dairy cows, the vitamin content is even higher.
Fermented foods aren’t for everyone, but if you like the taste of natto or even sauerkraut, you can reap the benefits of K2. Since animal meat and dairy is often a good source of Vitamin K, it can be challenging for vegetarian
Final Thoughts On Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is an essential vitamin that few people know about and if you have health issues that cause a Vitamin K deficiency, supplements and dietary changes can improve your symptoms and be part of your treatment plan.
While research suggests that K2 can benefit everyone, the studies are limited. As with every supplement, it’s important to discuss the benefits and potential side effects with your doctor.
K2 is relatively safe, but to ensure your safety (and effectiveness), only take the recommended dose. If you have an existing health issue or are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with a medical professional or nutritionist to make sure the dose you are taking is ideal for you.