Vitamin K2 Health Benefits: Vitamin K2 is a nutrient that few people know about, causing this compound to be deficient in more than 50% of the population.
What is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2, along with K1 and K3, is one of the three main forms of vitamin K. Previously known as menaquinone, vitamin K2 is found in far fewer foods than vitamin K1, but is considered to be much more bioavailable and has a variety of health effects. Contrary to what some people believe, vitamin K1, which is primarily found in leafy vegetables, cannot be converted to vitamin K2 by the body, although this conversion is possible in some other animal species. As a result, many people are deficient in this nutrient without even knowing it, as it is one of the most overlooked nutrients in our daily diet.
Vitamin K2 has not been extensively studied until recently, and while the research is relatively new, there has been confirmation of vitamin K2’s effects on bone health and blood pressure, among other things. There are also nine different forms of vitamin K2, ranging from short-chain menaquinones to long-chain menaquinones. Since the food sources of this vitamin are not always found around the world or in everyone’s diet, it is recommended that you include K2 supplements in your diet for maximum health .
Vitamin K2 Food Sources:
If you’re looking to increase your intake of vitamin K2, some of the best foods to choose from are fermented foods, such as natto, a popular form of fermented soybean widely found and consumed in Japan. This vitamin is produced as a by-product of the bacteria or yeast that do the fermentation, as a result of which a large amount of this vitamin is included in the diet.
There are also some animal sources of vitamin K2, including the Following:
- Pork meat
- Beef liver
When it comes to eggs and dairy products, these are also good sources of vitamins, especially different types of cheese such as Swiss, Blauer, and Gruyere.
Vitamin K2 Health Benefits:
Let’s discuss the benefits in detail below!
- Heart Disease: By regulating the amount of calcium in the blood, vitamin K2 can help protect the arteries from calcification. Numerous studies have shown that maintaining adequate calcium levels in the blood can prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Bone Strength: If there is a lack of calcium in the blood, the necessary vitamins can be depleted from the bones, which leads to faster progression of osteoporosis , even if the blood tests tell otherwise. Vitamin K can help regulate these levels and keep the minerals in your body where you need them most.
- Dental Health: Research has closely linked vitamin K2 deficiency to poor dental health, likely due to the vitamin’s regulatory activities on calcium and other minerals.
- Cancer: Studies have shown both a reduction in the spread of liver cancer cells and a lower initial risk of cancer in those who regularly consume foods containing vitamin K2. A study published in the Oncology Letters Journal shows that vitamin K2 can inhibit the spread of cancer cells. The study summarized the positive results of the colon, ovarian, pancreatic and lung cancer studies.
- Brain Function: Similar to how this vitamin can affect the calcification of arteries and blood vessels in the heart, it can also protect the delicate vessels in the brain. This reduces the risk of oxidative stress and damage to our most important organ.
- Vitamin K2 Deficiency: If you’re vitamin K2 deficient, a basic laboratory blood test can be easy, although many people don’t get this type of test without a worrying symptom. Due to the effect of vitamin K on blood clotting, a lack of bleeding from a wound or, in women, an unusually light menstrual cycle may indicate that you should see a doctor and have a vitamin K deficiency checked.
Vitamin K2 Side Effects:
Despite its excellent overall health effects , there are a few aspects that should be kept in mind to avoid side effects such as dangerous blood thinning and allergic reactions.
- Blood Thinning: Due to the blood thinning effects of Vitamin K, which is great for heart health and arterial integrity, it can cause problems for those with bleeding problems, or for those who are already taking medication to thin their blood. Be sure to talk to a doctor before starting treatment with vitamin K2 supplements.
- Allergies: Unlike many other vitamins, you may experience an allergy or sensitivity to vitamin K2, which can make it harder to make sure your body is getting enough of it. However, the allergic reactions are usually mild and harmless and there is no risk of toxicity. This is different from vitamin K3 (menadione), which is known to be highly toxic.