6 Reasons To Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin K

Ask someone to name a vitamin, and they’ll probably respond with a letter near the beginning of the alphabet: Vitamins A, B, C, and D. These micronutrients are well known, and for a good reason. But there’s one vitamin that’s necessary for both bone health and overall health, and it’s seldom – if ever – mentioned: Vitamin K.

Savers know that Vitamin K is essential for strong and fracture-resistant bones. But today we’ll show you six evidence-backed, seldom-mentioned reasons why Vitamin K is just as important to general well-being. After you read this article, you’ll get a clearer picture of what this fascinating nutrient has to offer and why you need it for more than just your bone health.

Vitamin K In A Nutshell

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an active role in blood clotting, heart health, and the immune system. Vitamin K is also necessary for optimal bone health mainly because it facilitates a process called carboxylation that gives calcium the binding property allowing it to join the bone matrix. Calcium is the most prevalent mineral in bones, but it needs Vitamin K to get there.

There are three primary K vitamins:

  • Vitamin K1 – also called phylloquinone, K1 is most closely involved in blood clotting and liver health.
  • Vitamin K2 – also called menaquinone, this vitamin is more bioaccessible than K1 and is used by the body in soft tissues, heart tissue, and bone production.
  • Vitamin K3 – also called menadione, K3 is the synthetic form of Vitamin K. Generally given as an injection to infants at birth, the safety of this synthetic substitute is a subject of debate. The Save Institute recommends avoiding K3.

The greater bioavailability of K2 means that we absorb it more readily from the foods that we eat. Even though K1 is found in leafy greens (a staple of a plant-based pH balanced diet) only a minimal amount (perhaps as little as 10%) is absorbed by the body.

Vitamin K2 is found naturally in certain fermented foods, like natto – a form of fermented soy native to Japan. While Vitamin K2 is synthesized by intestinal bacteria, it doesn’t get stored in the liver like K1, so it’s important to get enough bio-available K2 on a daily basis. In Western diets, Vitamin K2 is usually lacking, so supplementation is required to reap the rewards of this valuable vitamin.1

Vitamins K1 and K2 are important to different body systems, and while K1 is easier to find in our regular diet, it’s not very bioavailable. K2 is easier to absorb but not as common, making supplementation advisable. Let’s have a look at what this vitamin can do for you, next.

1. Keeps Your Skin Strong And Supple

Vitamin K2 helps reduce excess calcium in the elastin of your skin, making it more elastic and less likely to wrinkle. A relationship between wrinkles and low bone mass is traceable to this connection since the K2 is both benefiting the bones and reducing wrinkles. If you don’t get enough Vitamin K your bones will weaken and your skin will wrinkle.2

2. Protects Your Heart

Vitamin K’s relationship with calcium is essential to its cardiovascular benefits. Calcification of the arteries can occur when the body doesn’t have the appropriate cofactors for utilizing the calcium it contains.

Along with Vitamin D and Magnesium, Vitamin K2 prepares the calcium for use in your bones and ushers it to those critical locations. Without that process, calcium can cause serious health problems. In the arteries, the result is arteriosclerosis, which can lead to angina, heart attack, congestive heart failure, abnormal cardiac rhythms, and stroke.3

3. Supports Oral Health

The same process that makes Vitamin K2 essential for your bones makes it important to oral health. By directing calcium to where it’s needed in the body, Vitamin K-dependent Matrix-GLA proteins are involved in the mineralization of teeth, helping to keep teeth strong and prevent cavities. Additionally, osteocalcin present in dentin matrix is carboxylated or activated by Vitamin K2, helping to prevent and even heal dental cavities.4

4. Keeps Your Brain Sharp

A study published in the Journal of the American Dietic Association found that “patients with early-stage Alzheimers Disease consumed less vitamin K than did cognitively intact control subjects.” After a detailed analysis, researchers found that the main source of vitamin K in both groups was green vegetables and that the participants with Alzheimer’s were eating fewer greens.5

Vitamin K improves your wellbeing by preventing excess calcium from accumulating in the body, in this case avoiding a potentially devastating calcium buildup in the brain.

5. Shrinks Varicose Veins

Vitamin K helps to reduce and often eliminate varicose veins. A study published in the Journal of Vascular Research linked Vitamin K’s activation of the Matrix-GLA protein to a reduction in calcium in the veins. In varicose veins, smooth muscle cells show enhanced matrix mineralization, so it follows logically that decreased calcification resulted in less varicose veins.6

6. Increases Your Lifespan

In studies comparing people’s lifespan to their Vitamin K intake, those with the highest intake were 36% less likely to die from all causes than those with the lowest intake.7

We can trace the link between Vitamin K and mortality back to the way it affects GLA-proteins in the body. The activation of these proteins redirects calcium from the bloodstream where it can cause deadly hardening of the arteries, and into body systems that need the mineral, such as bone.

Vitamin K’s life-extending power could come from improved heart health, reduced arterial hardening, and more dependable bones. Most likely though, it’s the combination of all of the benefits of Vitamin K adding up to a longer, fuller life.

Vitamin K Is More Than OK

Any vitamin with this much positive impact on your well being should be a high priority. Given its power to pull calcium from the bloodstream and redirect it to your bones, every Saver should be taking this industrious nutrient.

You can incorporate Vitamin K1 into your diet through Foundation Foods like spinach, brussel sprouts, green beans, asparagus, and broccoli. In addition, the Save Institute recommends supplementing with 180 mcg of K2 per day.

Without enough Vitamin K, Vitamin D can’t fulfill its potential as a bone-building nutrient. They work together to make calcium available to your body, so if you’re only getting one or the other, you’re not getting the full benefits of either.

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The interconnectedness of Vitamins D and K is a great example of the complexity and interdependency of the systems in our body. Fortunately, you can manage this complexity with proper nutrition, natural supplements, exercise, and easy lifestyle changes, without ever having to take osteoporosis drugs.

Till next time,

References:

1 Katarzyna Maresz, PhD. “Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. ” Integr Med (Encinitas). 2015 Feb; 14(1): 34–39. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/

2 Cranenburg EC1, Schurgers LJ, Vermeer C.. “Vitamin K: the coagulation vitamin that became omnipotent.” Thromb Haemost. 2007 Jul;98(1):120-5. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17598002

3 A. J. van Ballegooijen, J. W. Beulens. “The Role of Vitamin K Status in Cardiovascular Health: Evidence from Observational and Clinical Studies.” Curr Nutr Rep. 2017; 6(3): 197–205. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585988/

4 Hauschka PV, Wians FH Jr. “Osteocalcin-Hydroxyapatite Interaction in the Extracellular Organic Matrix of Bone.” Anat Rec. 1989 Jun;224(2):180-8. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2549810

5 Presse N, Shatenstein B, Kergoat MJ, Ferland G. “Low vitamin K intakes in community-dwelling elders at an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.” J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Dec;108(12):2095-9. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19027415

6 Cario-Toumaniantz C., et al. “Identification of Differentially Expressed Genes in Human Varicose Veins: Involvement of Matrix Gla Protein in Extracellular Matrix Remodeling.” J Vasc Res 2007;44:444–459. Web. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/106189

7 Juanola-Falgarona M, et al. “Dietary intake of vitamin K is inversely associated with mortality risk.” J Nutr. 2014 May;144(5):743-50. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24647393

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14 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. bea June 16, 2018, 5:01 am

    vivian i have a-fib and my doctor put me on a blood thinner can i still take a blood thin i ner can i still take vit k i have a grapefruit every morning isnt that vitiam k bea

  2. Sue June 9, 2018, 8:30 pm

    What is your opinion on K2 mk-7 from natto for someone taking thyroid medication?

  3. Brenda campbell May 26, 2018, 6:53 pm

    What is the best supplement to support bones?

  4. pei May 20, 2018, 10:54 am

    Quite a while ago, i have heard that vitamin k is also good for clotting when the body is injured so eating dark greens is important for everyone.

  5. Karen May 20, 2018, 10:52 am

    Since using K2 MK 7 supplement daily I have seen a very noticeable reduction in calcium deposits which used to collect behind my front bottom teeth – even my dentist was surprised !
    K2 mk7 can be found in France however I have not been able to find K2 MK4 …
    If anyone can advise a natural supplier or food form for Mk4 I would be grateful.

  6. Rosalind Reine May 18, 2018, 4:13 pm

    How may I order Vitamin K?

  7. Rob May 16, 2018, 8:01 pm

    As I remember calcium and Vitamins D used to be the Saver”s most important approach to bone disease. Has the emphasis changed?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 18, 2018, 2:24 pm

      Hi Rob,

      We like to highlight particular nutrients now and then so as to explain their role in bone health, but many nutrients are required to reverse bone loss. Calcium and Vitamin D are very important, but they are by no means the only supplements you need to overcome osteoporosis.

  8. Helen May 16, 2018, 3:09 pm

    My doctor is putting me on warfarin and I am taking TrueOsteo. How do you take both without having problems since they counteract. I take my INR every week. True Osteo has vitamin K7 I think I don’t want to take Eliquis.

  9. Marcia Hartgrove May 16, 2018, 12:19 pm

    Just wanted to say Thanks for yet another wonderful informative article!! I take Osteo Cal and Magnesium, etc. but not K for my Osteoporosis (along with following the Bone Saver program). I will definitely start with consuming more K and take a supplement.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

      You’re welcome, Marcia!

  10. alexa May 16, 2018, 4:40 am

    In which form do you recommend the K2? I understand there are two possibilities for supplementation – m4 and m7?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA May 16, 2018, 8:25 am

      Hi Alexa,

      Great question! K2 can be subdivided into menaquinone-4 through -14. The number represents the length of the side chain attached to the napthoquinone ring.

      MK-4 is synthesized in small quantities by mammals (including humans, of course) from plant-made K1 (phylloquinone).

      MK-7 has exhibited a larger half life in human plasma than MK-4, but researchers were not able to determine if this had an effect on bone health. However, a study on rats published in the Journal of Nutrition measured the exact same half-life for both.

      When it comes down to what form is recommended at the Save Institute, we look at the two basic types of Vitamin K: K1 and K2. Phylloquinones (K1) is made by plants and menaquinones (K2) is synthesized by intestinal bacteria.

      It is really easy for you to get enough vitamin K1 when you follow a pH-balanced diet, but for maximum bone-building benefits, we recommend at least 50 micrograms of K2 daily, preferably in the form of Japanese natto, to supplement your dietary intake. Natto actually comes in capsule form. 🙂

      • Kristy May 16, 2018, 10:40 am

        Thanks so much for this info. on k2. About three years ago, I started consuming a K1 and K2 supplement. I was mainly interested in the K1 in an attempt to stuff multiple bruising on my legs in summer. It helped with that. I have osteoporosis. When I went in for my bone scan last October, I wasn’t given a reading for one area-either hips or spine. I questioned the doctor and she said that score was thrown out because it was an error. The machine was probably not functioning properly. I asked her to talk to the dead technician, which she did. The score was thrown out because it showed too much improvement. As it stands now, I no longer have osteoporosis. I did not consume calcium nor did I exercise during this 3 year period. The only change was consuming K1 and K2. I take 2 capsules daily of LifeExtension Super K from amazon. It has K1 and K2 informs M-4 and M-7.

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