Vitamin K2 is a boon for bone and heart health! Know all its benefits


Vitamin K2 has a lot of benefits such as anti-cancer properties as well as stronger bones and dental health. Read on to know more.

Vitamin K2 is essential for our body, especially for our bone health. When our body tries to break down the calcium, vitamin K2 helps to bind it to our bones, by activating a protein. Therefore, vitamin K2 contributes to stronger bones and fewer fractures. Besides this, it comes with a host of other health benefits as well, which we will learn about in this article.

Vitamin K2 can be easily consumed through our diet if one makes sure to eat meat, cheese, and eggs, while vitamin K is also found in green leafy vegetables. However, for those who are facing a deficiency, there are vitamin K2 supplements that can be to fill the gap. Read on to learn more about this vitamin and its benefits.

What is vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is a vitamin that can be found in animal-based foods such as liver, cheese as well as beef. It helps to keep chronic diseases at bay and also helps with bone health and density. โ€œVitamin K is also very good for gut health,โ€ explains dietician Jasleen Kaur. Vitamin K is what is the secret behind blood coagulation or clotting, and vitamin K2 is one of the forms of vitamin K. The other form is Vitamin K1. Also known as menaquinone, vitamin K2 is also produced by gut bacteria. There are many times of vitamin K2 such as MK4, MK7, MK8, and MK9. Out of these MK4 and MK7 are the most important ones, states a study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Health benefits of vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is essential for our body and it has multiple uses. Some of these are as follows:

1. Improves bone health

Vitamin K2 activates the production of two kinds of proteins โ€“ matrix GLA protein and osteocalcin โ€“ and these two help in making our bones stronger, by facilitating calcium absorption. Not only this, vitamin K2 is also essential for good bone health. A study published in the journal Frontiers in Public Healthย states that vitamin K2 is good for bone mineralization and bone strength in menopausal women. However, there is still more research needed in this area to conclude on how exactly vitamin K2 helps bones.

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2. Helps with heart disease

When it comes to heart disease, calcium buildup should be avoided. Vitamin K2 is very good in avoiding calcium deposits in the body. This study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, links a reduced risk of coronary heart disease with patients who were given an increased dietary intake of vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. It was seen vitamin K1 worked better than vitamin K2. Most of the vitamin K1 was transformed into vitamin K2 in the body.

3. Helps with dental health

Be it stronger teeth or preventing tooth loss, vitamin K2 has a lot to contribute. This study, published in BMC Oral Health, saw that when elderly subjects were given vitamin K supplements regularly as well as fiber, it helped prevent periodontal disease and tooth loss. Vitamin K2 also helps in bone metabolism as it contains osteocalcin, a protein required to do the same.

4. Helps prevent cancer

While there are a few studies that show that vitamin K2 helps with cancer prevention, especially liver cancer, there is still more research needed. A study, published in Frontiers in Oncology, states that vitamin K2 stopped the growth of liver cancer cells. However, its impact on the reoccurrence rates and survival rates still needs to be researched.

An egg yolk
Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin K2. Image courtesy: Freepik

Sources of vitamin K2

One of the sources of vitamin K2 is that our bodies also convert vitamin K1 into vitamin K2. So as sources of vitamin K1 are more than vitamin K2, this point becomes valid. According to a study published in Nutrients, vitamin K1 is found nine times more in diets than vitamin K2. Your gut bacteria also produce vitamin K2.

As far as diet goes, animal products and fermented foods contain vitamin K2. These foods include:

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  • Chicken breast
  • Sauerkraut
  • Blue cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Chicken liver

If these foods are not available, you can also take vitamin K2 supplements. However, it is important to consult a doctor before starting supplementation. This study, published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, states that vitamin K2, when combined with vitamin D, is absorbed more.

Risks of taking vitamin K2 supplementation

There are some risks of vitamin K2 supplementation that need to be taken care of. While taking oral supplements, make sure to go by the prescribed dosage. In some people, it can result in an upset stomach. So make sure to check for the right dosage.

A physically strong woman
Vitamin K2 is great for bone health. Image courtesy: Freepik

Also, if you suffer from kidney disease and are undergoing dialysis, it is important to avoid vitamin K. Also, if you have liver disease, then taking vitamin K can be very dangerous.

What is the vitamin K2 dosage that is required?

According to National Institute of Health, men who are over 19 years of age need 120 mcg of vitamin K, while women need 90 mcg daily. If you are pregnant or are lactating, the required amount would be 75 mcg.

FAQs

What are the symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency?

There are a few symptoms to catch a vitamin K2 deficiency. Being more prone to bleeding is one of the biggest symptoms. Bruising will happen more than normal. Also, you will have heavier periods. Vitamin K2 deficiency can happen due to cystic fibrosis, fat malabsorption, blocked bile ducts, and taking antibiotics for a long time.

Is vitamin K safe?

Yes, vitamin K is safe and can be taken every day. You can get vitamin K naturally through a balanced diet, or through supplements. Taking less than one mg of vitamin K every day is considered safe.

How much vitamin k2 do you take with calcium?

If you limit your calcium intake through supplements to 500 mg per day, then you need to take 300 mcg of vitamin K2. This can be MK-7. It is very good to take the two together as it vitamin K helps in the absorption of calcium in the body.

Does vitamin K interact with any medications?

Yes, it can have serious complications if mixed with anticoagulants, medicines that help prevent blood clots. Also, it should not be mixed with vitamin E.

Summary

Vitamin K2 is essential for the body and helps in bone health as well as blood clotting. Vitamin K can be found naturally in spinach, asparagus, and broccoli, as well as eggs, and meat. However, vitamin K supplements should be taken after advice from the doctor.

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