Protect Your Heart and Build Strong Bones with Vitamin K
It’s well-known that vitamin C is necessary for your immune health, and vitamin D is important in building and maintaining strong bones. But there is one vital nutrient we don’t hear nearly enough about: Vitamin K.
For a long time vitamin K was almost solely recognized for its role in blood clotting. But our bodies already have a built in mechanism for that, so it’s not something that was originally widely reported on. But today, we know better.
What most people don’t realize is that there are two forms if vitamin K. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is found in green leafy vegetables. Since it is readily available in our diet, most people don’t need to worry about becoming deficient.
There is also vitamin K2 (menaquinone). You can get it from organ meats, fermented products like cheese and natto, and some dairy products. This means vitamin K2 is a little more difficult to come by. But unlike K1, it has several health advantages that go well beyond blood clotting activities.
Protect Your Heart with Vitamin K2
One of the most remarkable benefits of vitamin K2 is its ability to reduce coronary calcification. This is the build up of calcium deposits that harden and narrow the arteries, which reduces blood flow and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Not long ago a team of researchers compared the different effects of vitamin K1 and K2 on coronary calcification (CAC). In a group of 564 postmenopausal women, K1 intake did not reduce the risk of CAC. However, K2 intake was associated with a 20% reduction in the risk.
Another study compared the effects of both K1 and K2 intake on coronary heart disease. Interestingly, every 10 mcg increase in vitamin K2 daily was associated with a 9% lower incidence of heart disease. No such association was seen with K1 intake.
But heart health isn’t the only place that vitamin K2 shines…
Vitamin K2 Builds Stronger Bones, Cuts Fracture Risk
Did you know that vitamin K is essential for bone health? This vitamin regulates bone remodeling by removing old or damaged bone via osteoclasts and replacing it with new bone formed by osteoblasts. This is a tightly regulated process. When it gets out of balance, it results in a net bone loss that leads to developing osteoporosis.
People who have this condition have bones that are weak, thin and easily fractured. But vitamin K2 can help prevent that.
For example, when researchers performed a meta-analysis on seven studies reporting on the association of vitamin K2 and bone fractures, the results were astonishing. The research team found that vitamin K2 supplementation…
- Reduced the odds of vertebral fracture by 60%
- Cut the odds of hip fracture by 77%
- Slashed the odds of all nonvertebral fractures by 81%
Given that vitamin K2’s most important functions are the prevention of coronary calcification and building stronger bones, it is believed that K2 basically corrects calcium balance within the body — moving it into the skeletal system where it belongs.
This being said, keep in mind that vitamin K2 doesn’t work alone when it comes to bone health…
The Perfect Trio to Prevent Osteoporosis
Research suggests that sufficient amounts of vitamins K2, along with vitamin D3 and calcium work together to suppress the rate of decrease in bone mass. This, in turn, can help prevent bone fractures caused by osteoporosis.
In a nutshell, calcium is essential to bone health. Vitamin D3 makes sure we’re able to absorb that calcium. Then, vitamin K2 makes sure the calcium gets deposited into our skeletal system — our bones — where it’s need to create new bone cells. Just one caveat…
Before deciding to supplement with vitamin K2, it is important to note that it may be contraindicated for people who take blood thinning medicines or are at risk for blood clots. Anyone who has experienced a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event should consult with their physician prior before increasing their vitamin K2 intake.
Beulens JW, et al. High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Atherosclerosis. 2009 Apr;203(2):489-93. Epub 2008 Jul 19.
Gast GC, et al. A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10. Epub 2009 Jan 28.
Myneni VD, et al. Regulation of bone remodeling by vitamin K2. Oral Dis. 2017 Nov;23(8):1021-1028.
Cockayne S, et al. Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jun 26;166(12):1256-61.
Maresz K. Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Feb; 14(1): 34–39.
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”