Is There A Link Between Vitamin K Deficiency and Heart Health?! Let’s Investigate
We are all more or less familiar with the most popular vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin D. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the most important vitamins for health.
The new kid on the block, the one that has been the subject of an increasing number of studies in the past couple of years, is vitamin K.
Let’s explore vitamin K, shall we? Just don’t let the alphabet letter fool you into thinking that it is a less important vitamin!
What’s Vitamin K?
There are two main forms of Vitamin K, which are both important for the body.
Vitamin K1 (or Phylloquinone), which can be found in leafy green plants such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach, is an integral factor in blood clotting. It makes up about 90% of the vitamin K consumed in a typical western diet.
Vitamin K2 (or Menaquinone), which is found in animal meat and fermented foods, is needed to activate proteins that regulate where calcium ends in your body. The body can synthesize K2 in the gut but it can’t store it in big quantities. It makes up about 10% of the vitamin K consumed in a western diet.
It is quite clear that we tend to consume much more vitamin K1 than K2. A renowned vitamin K2 scientist, Cees Vermeer, confirms that the inadequacy in this vitamin is the rule, and not the exception.
What’s The Link Between Vitamin K2 and Heart Disease?
How and where calcium is deposited and used in the body has an impact on dental and bone health but also on cardiovascular and renal systems. Both systems depends on the correct balance of calcium.
Vitamin K2, also works in close collaboration with other enzymes and proteins (coenzyme-Q10 and matrix GIa protein MGP) to inhibit calcium deposition in the arteries and blood vessels and prevent calcification. Instead, the calcium is transported by the blood and deposited in the bones.
Vitamin K2 plays then a crucial role in keeping your arteries and blood vessels free of calcium deposits and flowing with no blockages.
What Are Good Sources of Vitamin K2?
To increase your consumption of Vitamin K2 with food, you can start by eating more grass-fed organic animal products such as eggs, raw butter and raw dairy products, all of which are good sources of K2. Brie and Gouda are particularly high in vitamin K2 as well.
We would suggest you consume more home-fermented vegetables with a starter culture of vitamin K2-producing bacteria such as kimchi.
However, it is important to keep in mind that, an increase in consumption of vitamin K2 foods is not a guarantee of good bioavailability of the vitamin in the body, meaning it will not be absorbed, or made available in the body.
Consumption of trans-fats foods such as cakes, margarine, candies, doughnuts, has been linked to a decrease in absorption and bioavailability of Vitamin K in bones.
If you decide to go for vitamin K2 supplements, make sure to take it with fat since it is a fat-soluble vitamin and it won’t be absorbed otherwise. It is also important that you double check the quality of these supplements and buy them from a reliable source or brand.
We recommend you check with your holistic health practitioner to confirm that you need supplementation and make sure that you are not taking any drugs that may prevent absorption or conversion of vitamin K in the body.