The Hidden Genius of Vitamin K2

While not as well known as other letter vitamins, K2 is emerging as a power player for bone and arterial health.

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The long wait's over! Today, we're thrilled to re-introduce Vitamin K2 today. Vitamin K is not as well known as many of its other letter-vitamin siblings, but it plays an essential role in bone health, blood clotting and (as emerging research shows) healthy arteries.

Hard to get from diets

The vitamin K family breaks down into a few variations. K1 is found in leafy green vegetables and mainly plays a role in blood coagulation, or ensuring that you stop bleeding from cuts and scrapes.

Gut bacteria can convert K1 into K2, which we believe is worth supplementing as it is very difficult to obtain through diet alone. Vitamin K2 is divided into various forms denoted by 'MK', such as 'MK-4' and 'MK-7'. MK-7 is the form we chose as it has a longer half-life and is better absorbed.

The only prominent sources of vitamin K2 are in fermented foods such as natto, a pungent soybean dish from Japan — definitely an acquired taste. It's also present in unreliable amounts in some animal products such as cheese, but the exact amounts are highly dependent on how much and which bacteria are used.

An emerging power player

Science is still emerging about the role of Vitamin K2, but promising studies have shown that the compound can help support healthy bones and springy, elastic arteries.

It works synergistically with vitamin D and minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Vitamin K supplementation is associated with an increase in bone density and a decrease in bone fractures.

Vitamin K can also reduce hardening of the arteries by preventing excess calcium deposits from accumulating. Stiff arteries contribute to atherosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque and other substances in the artery walls, which is a predictor for cardiovascular disease.
Shea MK, et al Association between circulating vitamin K1 and coronary calcium progression in community-dwelling adults: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr. (2013)
Shea MK, et al Vitamin K supplementation and progression of coronary artery calcium in older men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. (2009)
Kuller LH, et al Incident coronary artery calcium among postmenopausal women. Atherosclerosis. (2008)

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