What is Vitamin K2 and why is it important?
Have you ever heard of K2? I’ll admit that I hadn’t before I started using Vivo Life’s D3 liquid supplement!
It turns out that quite a lot of folks haven’t heard of it either, which is strange because it’s quite the key player in our body, and contributes to many aspects of our wellness. It’s a bit like the supporting cast member in a film who has all the good ideas, but no one ever really pays attention to them because they’re too focused on the star. Which in this case would be D3!
I’m getting far too carried away with this analogy now - I should probably stop and tell you more about the importance of K2, what it does, why you need it, and how to get it!
What is K2?
There are 2 types of Vitamin K. Unsurprisingly, these are known as K1 and K2. K1, phylloquinone, is most often found in leafy greens and other plant foods whilst K2, menaquinone, is found more in animal foods and fermented foods.
Vitamin K was first discovered as a nutrient involved in the process of coagulation, or blood clotting, which is one of its primary roles in the body. It does this by stimulating certain proteins in the body which are responsible for blood clotting, metabolising calcium, and heart health. It is often paired with Vitamin D3 as they work synergistically to maintain the health of our bones, and make sure that calcium is easily absorbed and deposited correctly.
What does Vitamin K2 do in the body?
May help to prevent heart disease: One of the biggest risk factors in heart disease is the buildup of calcium deposits around the heart and inside the arteries. Preventing this buildup can reduce this risk. One of the most important roles of Vitamin K2 is to help the body regulate where to deposit the calcium we get from our diets and make sure it promotes calcium deposits in the bones rather than inside blood vessels, arteries and our kidneys. Vitamin K2 also binds to excess calcium in the bloodstream to improve arterial flow and flexibility, further improving the health of our hearts. (Theuwissen, Smit and Vermeer, 2012).
May help to keep your bones healthy: Osteoporosis, literally translating to porous bones, is commonly seen in older women, and can increase the risk of bone breakages and fractures. As we age our bones can lose their density and make them weaker, and this can be exacerbated by a lack of Vitamin K2. K2 helps to activate two proteins which have calcium binding properties. These two proteins build and maintain bone tissue, which can help to prevent breakages and increase bone density (Eden and Coviello, 2019).
May help to improve our dental health: Whilst research is ongoing, there is evidence to suggest that K2 may help to maintain the health of our teeth. One of the proteins activated by K2 is called osteocalcin which, whilst crucial for bone health, is one of the key proteins in maintaining dental health. Underneath the enamel of our teeth is a layer of calcified tissue called dentin. Osteocalcin, when activated by K2, stimulates the growth of dentin and new bone tissue which can help to keep our teeth healthy (Akbari and Rasouli-Ghahroudi, 2018).
How to get enough K2:
Whilst Vitamin K1 is abundant in foods, it can be harder to find K2. Your body will convert K1 into K2, but this process can be inefficient, so you can’t rely on using K1 to fulfil your K2 requirements.
Animal sources of K2 include high fat dairy products, eggs, and offal. The reason that you’re more likely to find K2 in these types of products is because it’s fat soluble, so any lower fat products will not be able to hold as much K2.
K2 is also found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and miso, which are more suitable for people who follow a plant-based diet. However, these are an acquired taste which might not be for everyone.
In any case, supplementing with K2 is a great option to ensure that you are getting everything you need. As we’ve already mentioned, there is a synergistic relationship between K2 and D3, which means that taking them together can be beneficial (van Ballegooijen et al., 2017).
Vivo Life’s plant-based D3 liquid supplement contains a functional dose of K2, not only to enhance the effects of the D3, but to provide its own benefits to blood clotting, heart health, and bone health. The liquid form bypasses the digestive system and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream for maximum effect. They are independently tested to ensure that they are free from herbicides, pesticides and other contaminants.
Theuwissen, E., Smit, E. and Vermeer, C. (2012). The Role of Vitamin K in Soft-Tissue Calcification. Advances in Nutrition, [online] 3(2), pp.166–173. doi:10.3945/an.111.001628.
Eden, R.E. and Coviello, J.M. (2019). Vitamin K Deficiency. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536983/.
Akbari, S. and Rasouli-Ghahroudi, A.A. (2018). Vitamin K and Bone Metabolism: A Review of the Latest Evidence in Preclinical Studies. BioMed Research International, [online] 2018, pp.1–8. doi:10.1155/2018/4629383.
van Ballegooijen, A.J., Pilz, S., Tomaschitz, A., Grübler, M.R. and Verheyen, N. (2017). The Synergistic Interplay between Vitamins D and K for Bone and Cardiovascular Health: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Endocrinology, [online] 2017, pp.1–12. doi:10.1155/2017/7454376.