Vitamin K2

Background

Vitamin K2, also known as Menaquinone, is a fat soluble vitamin of the group of K vitamins involved in calcium metabolism. Actually, Vitamin K1 is the kind of vitamin K found in leafy vegetables, and vitamin K2 is the kind found in grass-fed animal products. There are two available forms of vitamin K2: the synthetic menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and the natural or nature-identical synthesized menaquinone-7 (MK-7). Vitamin K2 is required to activate osteocalcin, an important protein secreted by osteoblasts, the body’s bone-building cells.[1] It is an approved treatment for osteoporosis in Japan where studies support its benefit in the prevention of further decline in bone mineral density. Vitamin K2 treatment in osteoporosis has been shown to inhibit the occurrence of new bone fractures and to maintain BMD.[2] It is also very effective to relieve of cardiovascular disease.[3]

Benefits

Vitamin K2 is an essential and very effective vitamin that many people never hear of until they have their first child and the nurse administers a Vitamin K injection. Yes, it has many health benefits not just for newborn babies or pregnant moms. It is well-known that K2 benefits the bones and controls proper utilization of calcium. Vitamin K2 has nootropic qualities and is also effective for brain health.
Being a fat soluble vitamin, Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and that contributes to a healthy heart, bones and immune system. Besides these benefits, Vitamin K2 can be beneficial for more health problems such as [7] –

  • Acts as an antioxidant [11]
  • Strengthens bones and reduces fractures [4]
  • Improves heart health [12]
  • Relieves cavities and improves oral health [13]
  • Reduces varicose veins [14]
  • Reduces different types of cancer risks [15]
  • Increases testosterone levels and helps in erectile dysfunction[5]
  • Protects the brain against Alzheimer’s and other diseases [6]
  • Improves overall health and increases longevity [16]
  • Protects skin health [17]
  • Acts as an anti-aging [18]

One of Vitamin K2’s biggest functions is to foil the accumulation of calcium deposits in your arteries. Vitamin K2 Excess calcium is deposited in arteries, leading to calcification and decreased vascular function. This is why vitamin K2 could play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is essential for strong, healthy teeth and bones.
Vitamin K2 also acts as a powerful antioxidant, and as such can relieve you of a range of health problems, including cancer and obesity. The antioxidants in vitamin K2 can help foil free radical damage inside your body, to slow the signs of aging.[8]

How it works

The mechanism of action of vitamin K2 is quite similar to vitamin K1. Conventionally, K vitamins were recognized as the factor required for coagulation, but the functions performed by this vitamin group were revealed to be much more complex.
Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone) is largely synthesized by human intestinal microbiota, but can also be found in fermented products (e.g., kefir, natto) and animal products. The brain is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin K2 in the entire body. There, the fat-soluble vitamin acts as an antioxidant, helping to avert free radical-mediated damage and contributes to the production the myelin sheath, the protective covering surrounding the axonal bodies of all neurons. The myelin sheath acts as an insulating material, helping propel signal transduction and neuronal communication. [9]
Vitamin K2 has promising potential to be used as relief for the development of vascular calcification especially in at risk patient groups with high incidence of calcification or vitamin K deficiency. Through its peripheral distribution in low density lipoproteins, Vitamin K2 exercises its effect by activating various vitamin K dependent proteins (VKDPs) including the soft-tissue calcification inhibitor Matrix Gla Protein (MGP). Clinical trials looking into the effect of Vitamin K2 on vascular calcification and its beneficial cardiovascular effects will help elucidate its potential role as a therapeutic strategy.[10]

Considerations

Vitamin K-2 supplements are generally safe and nontoxic. However, there may be possible of an allergic reaction. Blood-thinning medications such as warfarin work by inhibiting vitamin K. Because of their close relationship, the most significant side effect from vitamin K-2 is its ability to interfere with these medications.

Recommendations

The recommended daily dosage for total vitamin K from all sources is 90 micrograms daily for women and 120 micrograms daily for men. While taking antibiotics or medications to relieve you of an irregular heartbeat, be aware that they can interfere with the production of vitamin K-2 in your large intestine, reports the Linus Pauling Institute. You may have trouble absorbing vitamin K-2 if you take cholesterol-lowering medications or fat substitutes such as olestra. Consult your physician about your need for vitamin K-2.

Sources