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Vitamin K2’s importance for bone health underlined by new study

Vitamin K2’s importance for bone health underlined by new studyVitamin K2 clears calcium from the bloodstream and embeds it in bone tissue. Therefore, vitamin K2 is of vital importance to bone building and the prevention of atherosclerosis. Medical News Bulletin has placed even more focus on vitamin K2’s role in maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of a fracture. The question is, how much vitamin K2 do we really need for optimal bone health, and why is it important to know the difference between vitamin K1 and vitamin K2?

Vitamin K1 is the most known form of vitamin K and supports coagulation processes in the blood. It is strictly found in vegetables such as parsley, spinach, cabbage, and beans, and we humans only absorb around 10% from our food. People with a healthy intestinal flora are able to synthesize vitamin K2 from vitamin K1, but the amounts are often too limited to help maintain optimal health.

Vitamin K2 is only found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, soft cheese like brie, and the Japanese soy product called Natto, where bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis produce the vitamin as part of the fermentation process. It is easy to increase your vitamin K2 intake by consuming such foods, and it is best to ferment them yourself, as pasteurized foods contain very little vitamin K2

We used to get more vitamin K2 from our diet

This was because it was common practice to ferment foods to enable them to keep longer. Now, it is more common to use pasteurization, preservatives, refrigeration, and deep-freezing.

Vitamin K2 and its vital role in bone health

Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 by Henrik Dam, a Danish biochemist. In 1943, Henrik Dam and an American biochemist named Edward Adelbert were awarded the Nobel Prize for mapping out the chemical structure of vitamin K.
Medical News Bulletin recently published a study that places more focus on vitamin K2’s important role in bone health by looking at the vitamin’s role in bone density. Actually, science discovered in the 1980s that vitamin K2 is involved in the activation of osteocalcin, a protein that is responsible for depositing calcium salts in bone tissue. Vitamin K2, helped by calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, supports the building and maintenance of strong bone tissue. The majority of supplements for bone health only contain calcium and vitamin D and cannot guarantee that the calcium effectively reaches the bone tissue.

There is a connection between strong bones and healthy blood vessels

Later, the researchers discovered that vitamin K2 activates another protein called matrix GLA protein (MGP), which we primarily have in our blood vessels. When vitamin K2 activates MGP, it binds to calcium ions, which means that vitamin K2 has a powerful role in preventing atherosclerosis. MGP also plays a role in bone building and is found together with osteocalcin. If a person lacks vitamin K2 or tends to inactivate MGP, he may end up with serious plaque formation in the arteries, and the bone tissue will also be affected because too little calcium is channeled into the bones. That is why vitamin K2 is so important for the cardiovascular system and bones. Vitamin D increases the actual production of MGP.

Vitamin K2’s most important function

  1. Activation of MGP that binds calcium and prevents atherosclerosis
  2. Activation of osteocalcin that deposits calcium in the bones

Widespread deficiency and poor utilization

Although vitamin K deficiencies as such are rare, recent research suggests that vitamin K2 deficiencies are widespread. These deficiencies occur not only among people with dietary shortcomings but are also seen in babies and in individuals after prolonged use of antibiotic drugs, antacids, acetylsalicylic acid preparations, cholesterol-lowering statins, and preparations with warfarin and dicoumarol that are vitamin K antagonist used to prevent blood clots.

Vitamin K2 content

  • 100 grams of Natto: About 1,000 micrograms
  • 60 grams of fermented vegetables: About 500 micrograms
  • 30 grams of Gauda or Brie cheese: About 70 micrograms

How much vitamin K do we need?

Health authorities state that adults need around 75 micrograms of vitamin K1 each day. International guidelines for vitamin K2 intake call for 150-180 micrograms (supplementation) if osteoporosis or atherosclerosis are suspected. Half that dose (75-90 micrograms/day) is recommended for the prevention of these conditions.
Vitamin K2 initiates biochemical reactions that benefit the cardiovascular system and strengthen bones. However, it takes at least one year for the results to show in an analysis.
According to Henrik Hey, chief physician at Vejle Sygehus in Denmark, 80 percent of the (Danish) population may benefit from taking vitamin K2, either as prevention or as therapy. It is important for patients who take blood-thinning medication not to take vitamin K2.

Remember that bones are in particular need of

Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin D2, and exercise


Nutrition insight. Role of Vitamin K in Bone Health Underlined in New Study. Jun 2017

Henrik Hey. K2 vitamin anbefalinger og advarsler. 2016

Shane Peterson, Søren Ejlersen & Ditte Ingemann. Fermentering. People´s Press 2015

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