You may have heard of Vitamin K. It is a vitamin that is fat soluble and is considered essential for its blood clotting qualities. It is also known for how it can contribute positively to the immune system, heart and bone health.
Different forms of Vitamin K work differently in the body, as described below:
Main Types Of Vitamin K
Vitamin K1 – Phylloquinone
This is one of two of the most common forms of this vitamin. It is found naturally in various greens and nettle. Proper blood clotting is possible when the liver uses this form of Vitamin K.
Vitamin K2 – Menaquinone
This is the other common form of this vitamin. It is the easier of the types to absorb and is found in animal fats, supplements, and certain fermented foods. The body uses this vitamin by sending it to bones and teeth to strengthen them bypassing the soft tissue that surrounds them.
Vitamin K3 –Menadione
This is a synthetic form that is used frequently as an injection. It is typically used for infants at birth and is the form of Vitamin K that has shown possible toxic properties in conducted studies.
How Vitamin K2 Is Used
1. Tooth Decay
Studies have shown that the combination of Vitamin D and K2 work in tandem to combat tooth decay and are more effective used together than by using either one alone. The way in which this work is that Vitamin D assists the body in absorbing calcium. Vitamin K2 works to send that calcium to the places it needs to be in your body such as teeth and bones. This allows you to have healthy teeth which means that you may be able to avoid false teeth options in your later years.
2. Bone Health
This is an extension of the first point, where Vitamins D and K2 work together – helping the body to absorb calcium and sending that calcium to where it should be – which includes bones. In fact, Vitamin K2 is often prescribed as a treatment for osteoporosis in Japan. What Vitamin K2 does in this instance is helps calcium and other minerals to strengthen bones by binding to the bone infrastructure and not the soft tissue surrounding bone.
3. Healthy Heart
Because Vitamin K2 essentially pushes calcium into bones – including teeth – it basically keeps it away from the heart, arteries and other soft tissue. As a result, this prevents calcification of the arteries, which occurs when too much calcium is consumed. This keeps your heart healthy.
4. Varicose Veins
As just mentioned, because Vitamin K reduces the possibility of calcification of the arteries, it also stops the calcification of veins. When it does not accumulate in the veins of arteries, this reduces the development of varicose veins. Research continues to better understand this.
5. Reduces Cancer Risks
There has been a lot of studies and several documented results point to how Vitamin K2 can reduce the risk of many different types of cancers. Prostate, lung and liver cancers in particular. Research continues to explore this interesting development that could prove very beneficial.
Of Special Interest To Vegetarians and Vegans
As mentioned above, sources of Vitamin K2 include animal fats, supplements, and some fermented foods. The animal fats and products with Vitamin K2 are known as MK-4. Fermented foods have what is identified as the MK-7 form which is produced by lactic acid bacterial fermentation.
The highest concentration of Vitamin K2 can be found in a fermented soybean product from Japan. Called Natto, it apparently has astronomic amounts of Vitamin K2 in it compared to other ‘fermented’ foods. Examples of amounts of Vitamin K2 in foods include:
- Natto: 1,100+ mcg of K2 per 100g
- Cheese: 76 mcg of K2 per 100g
- Sauerkraut: 5 mcg of K2 per 100g
Natto gives vegetarians and vegans a great source of Vitamin K2 for a healthy diet that is good for their teeth and bones. It also removes the need for those who do not consume meat products from having to add high volumes of fermented foods to the diet in order to match the amount of Vitamin K2 they can receive from Natto. It also reduces the need for heavy supplementation.
Vitamin K, and in particular the variation known as Vitamin K2, has many health benefits. As it works with Vitamin D to help the body process and use calcium, bone health is greatly impacted. This includes oral health which involves fighting the conditions that lead to tooth decay by strengthening your teeth.
Other great benefits to the proper absorption of calcium include vein, artery and heart health along with the potential to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. To receive the best results if your goal is to focus on oral health and avoid the extra expense of false teeth in the future, it is recommended that Vitamin K is consumed together with Vitamin D to assist with calcium absorption.