Vitamin K2 Benefits & Why It’s Essential For Health
If there’s one nutrient that deserves a lot more attention, it’s vitamin K2! Despite how critical this fat- soluble nutrient is to overall health; most people aren’t aware of its importance. Even more concerning, research tells us that nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin K2!
Today you’ll learn why you absolutely need it, the different forms, and how to make sure you’re getting enough.
The Benefits of Vitamin K2 are Far Reaching
Here are the top five ways K2 supports your body:
- Improves heart health
- Strengthens teeth and bones (lowers risk for osteoporosis)
- Increases insulin sensitivity (lowers risk for diabetes)
- Decreases risk for cancer
- Boosts brain function
Vitamin K Has Three Forms
The different forms of vitamin K are easy to identify – they’re known as K1, K2 and K3. Here’s what you should know about each one…
K1 is found naturally in plants and most people get enough of it to support its main role of blood clotting. Vegetables like leafy greens, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are great sources of K1.
Now, K2 is a little more complex because it has two forms, MK-4 and MK-7. The natural form of K2 is MK-7, and this is the type you should consume. When looking at a supplement, the form of K2 should be noted on the label as either MK-4 or MK-7. If the type is not listed, avoid that supplement and opt for one that confirms it is MK-7.
K3 is synthetic and not found in food or used in nutritional supplements. It’s mostly used in laboratories.
So here is the quick recap on vitamin K forms:
- Most people get plenty of K1.
- Focus on getting adequate K2 in the form of MK-7. Always confirm this by checking the supplement label.
- K3 is not a form that you need to be concerned with.
What Does a Vitamin K2 Deficiency Look Like?
Again, most people are not getting enough K2. A deficiency can present itself in various ways – all of which are big health concerns.
Calcification of arteries. Perhaps K2’s most important job is directing calcium to where your body needs it most, like your bones and teeth. Without K2, calcium makes a home in your blood vessels and heart. This creates calcium deposits that deteriorate your cardiovascular health.
Weakened bones. Since K2 is in charge of where calcium ends up, it promotes proper bone mineralization. This greatly reduces your risk of bone fracture. Studies have shown that K2 is so powerful that it can actually reverse bone loss.
Learn more about eating for bone health in my video/blog, “Five Bone Building Foods you Should be Eating.”
Poor brain health. Research suggests that a lack of adequate K2 is a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease. K2 has also been shown to reduce nervous system damage caused by heart disease.
Insulin resistance. You DO NOT want your cells to resist insulin! This is a crucial hormone that you should be very sensitive to. The greater your insulin sensitivity, the better your body will function, and the lower your risk for diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
Cancer protection. Science has concluded that K2 can protect against cancer (particularly lung and prostate) by “positively inhibiting cancer cells.” This is another incredible breakthrough in the examination between nutrition and disease.
Getting K2 from Food Sources & Supplements
K2’s food sources are not ones that are routinely found in the typical American diet. This is why I highly suggest that K2 (in the MK-7 form) be taken as a supplement.
The four major food sources of K2 are:
- Fermented foods
- Pasture raised animal products like meat, eggs and butter. Animals that consume plants are getting K1 that converts to K2 in their bodies.
- Organ meat
- Supplements – Vitamin K2 should always be taken with vitamin D3
What About Vitamin K2 & Blood Thinning Drugs?
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