Hello and welcome to my blog!
This week my blog is about a vitamin that is key for preventing heart disease, osteoporosis and other serious ailments.
Vitamin K was discovered in the 1930s by a Danish biochemist Heinrik Dam as what was initially believed to be a blood clotting factor. It was called vitamin K because,the letter K was the first one in the alphabet which had not been used to designate other vitamins, and it also happened to be the first letter in the word ‘koagulation’. Other researchers went on to isolate this fat soluble vitamin, but they didn’t realize yet there were different forms of vitamin K with totally different properties. Vitamin K1 comes from green vegetables and is involved in blood clotting and deficiency is vitamin K1 is rare and obvious. Deficiencies in vitamin K2 are common and invisible and affect people of all ages.
To cut a long story short But it wasn’t until in 2007 that vitamin K2’s identity was revealed fully. Vitamin K2 is also called menaquinone and there are several different versions, the one below is menaquinone-4.
- Vitamin K2 activates proteins responsible for sending calcium and phosphorus salts in bones and teeth and different proteins that move calcium out of soft tissues, like arteries, where it can be harmful. Think of lime scale building up in your pipes. Calcium is part of what blocks arteries, along with oxidized cholesterol and other molecules associated with inflammation.
- Low levels of vitamin K2 are associated with over 50% increase in heart disease and there is a lot of research to support this now.
- The brain contains one of the highest amounts of vitamin K2, where it is involved in making the myelin sheath of nerve cells, which contributes to learning capacity. The myelin sheath becomes damaged in multiple sclerosis (MS) so a K2 supplement is key.
These important function of vitamin K2 protects us against dental cavities, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and many other common ailments.
Our gut bacteria (if they are healthy) can make a small amount of vitamin K2 and this varies from person to person. Humans can’t convert much K1 to K2, cows and other grazing animals can convert K1 to K2.
Vitamin K2 is found in grass fed butter, cheese, blue cheese, goose fat, egg yolks, caviar. Fortunately for vegans, natto a Japanese food that is fermented soybeans has the highest amount of naturally occurring Vitamin K2.
Or you can purchase a vitamin K2 supplement but it must be in a fat matrix or an oil otherwise it won’t be absorbed properly.
Thank you for reading my blog
Find out more about supplements and drugs in my book which is due out in Feb 2018
Geleijnse, J.M., Vermeer, C., Grobbee, D.E. et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone (vitamin K2) is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study. J. Nutr. 2004; 134: 3100–3105
Theuwissen, Elke, Egbert Smit, and Cees Vermeer. “The Role of Vitamin K in Soft-Tissue Calcification.” Advances in Nutrition 3.2 (2012): 166–173.
Rheaume-Bleue, Kate. Vitamin K2 And The Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life