What Is Vitamin K2?
Products containing Vitamin K, particularly K2, have been gaining in popularity in recent years, with some outlets going to far as to claim that they are the missing vitamin that your body needs. This indicates that it is not something that is naturally produced by the body. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it can be extremely effective in a number of different ways.
Better yet, it is also commonly found in a range of foods that are rich in Vitamin K. For example, both strawberries and cabbage are loaded with Vitamin K in one form or another. It is also available in a variety of meats and cheeses.
However, for many people, the amount that they get from such food products is simply not enough. As such, there is an increasing market for Vitamin K2 supplements that are intended to boost your K2 intake, alongside a healthy diet, and you should seriously consider aiding them to your own health regime.
What Are The Benefits of Vitamin K2?
As has been previously mentioned, there are a number of benefits of taking Vitamin K2.
Furthermore before we go into them, it is important to make the point of distinguishing between K2 and K1, both in terms of the sources that they are derived from and the benefits that they can offer to the user.
1. Increase Bone Strength
The NHS has claimed that Vitamin K in general is extremely helpful when it comes to maintaining overall fitness. Vitamin K, in particularly, is believed to have an effect that is much the same as calcium.
As such, it is helpful when it comes to strengthening bones and is increasingly being used by people who have recently suffered from a breakage, or those who simply want to increase their body’s overall strength and improve their fitness levels.
Vitamin K2 is most commonly associated with the development of stronger bones due to the fact that it is an effective carrier of calcium around the body. It prevents calcium from collecting in areas where it shouldn’t be, ensuring it gets to the bones and provides the various benefits that are attributed to it, such as strengthening bones and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
It also means that the supplement is handy for people who suffer from osteoporosis and are looking for anything that can help them to alleviate the symptoms associated with the condition.
A further study into the effects of Vitamin K2 in relation to its effects on people suffering from osteoporosis concluded that there may be a positive association between the amount of K2 in a person’s body and the related bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine.
However, it is important to note that the study again only looked at post-menopausal women and more work is needed to determine if the supplement is truly effective in terms of direct treatment of osteoporosis.
2. Blood Clotting and Formation
Vitamin K in general is also believed to have a number of benefits when it comes to blood clotting, which makes it useful for anaemic patients in particular and it is generally agreed by the scientific community that this is a benefit that can be demonstrated beyond doubt.
However, it is also important to note that this is Vitamin K as a whole, which means it includes both K1 and K2 combined, with slight favouritism to K1.
3. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Furthermore, Vitamin K2 is believed to be better for the body than the better-known Vitamin K1, particularly in regards to your cardiovascular health.
It is apparently better at directing the calcium in your body to the areas it needs to get to, which means that you don’t start to build up deposits that could be detrimental to your health.
When you consider the fact that calcium can build up in veins and arteries over time, it is easy to see why it is increasingly used to help people who suffer from heart issues.
This ability to more effectively shuttle calcium around the body also means that Vitamin K2 is extremely beneficial in terms of lowering the risk of cardiovascular conditions.
Calcification of the blood vessels, which is caused when calcium deposits build up in veins and arteries, restricts the flow of blood around the body and has a direct impact on cardiovascular health. Vitamin K2 removes this issue by ensuring that the calcium goes where it is supposed to.
A study published in 2009 aimed to examine the effects of both Vitamin K1 and K2 on cardiovascular health.
The research looked at 16,057 post-menopausal women between the ages of 49 and 70, none of whom had any form of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. Each woman was quizzed about her food consumption and daily diet, allowing researchers to determine if their diet contained high amounts of K1, K2 or neither.
The findings indicated that those who had a high intake of Vitamin K2 directly reduced their risk of suffering from coronary heart disease.
4. Possible Breast Cancer Prevention
Another recent study found that Vitamin K2 can have a noted effect in regards to inhibiting breast cancer cells.
Tests were carried out at the cellular level, so human trials are currently unavailable. However the early results are extremely encouraging and indicate that there is a distinct possibility that the supplement can have a positive effect for women who are suffering from breast cancer, particular in the future when more research is done.
What Foods Contain Vitamin K2?
While you will find Vitamin K1 in a wide variety of vegetables and plant-based foods, K2 is more commonly produced naturally in red meat and poultry.
As such, it is a good idea to understand the foods that contain the largest amount, so you can determine whether or not you need to supplement your daily intake.
Vegetarians, for example, will often find that they do not get enough K2 simply because they do not eat meat.
This particularly type of pepperoni is the richest source of Vitamin K2 that you can find without taking a supplement. It contains 41.7 micrograms of the vitamin per 100 grams, which means that you should get everything that you need if you consume it in large quantities.
Of course, pepperoni is something that is often consumed in low volumes, on a pizza for example, so it may be difficult to maintain your K2 intake by using this food alone.
A more practical food for obtaining Vitamin K2 is chicken drumsticks. It is important to note that it is only the meat in the drumstick that is beneficial, so it may be a good idea to discard the skin altogether if you are looking to stick to a healthy diet.
This food source contains 35.7 micrograms of K2 per 100 gram serving, but it is important to note that this number reduces drastically when fried so it is not advisable to use fast-food outlets to obtain it.
Most other meats will contain Vitamin K2 in one form or another, but the amount steadily decreases once you take out the two previously mentioned foods.
For example, pork sausages contain only 13.7 micrograms of the vitamin per 100g, and even different types of pepperoni do not match up to the amount of K2 offered by the beef-pork variety.
Vitamin K2 is also found in a variety of fermented cheeses, such as Gouda and Brie. While this is an excellent alternative for vegetarians, it may not be an acceptable substitute for vegans or people who suffer from lactose intolerance.
Vitamin K2, by contrast, is usually not found to any significant level in leafy vegetables. This means that those who do not eat meat will likely not be getting a very high dose of the vitamin and will almost certainly not achieve the recommended 180-200 micrograms every single day.
Vitamin K2 Deficiency
It is important to mention at this point that many people do not feel comfortable eating large portions of meat on a daily basis just to maintain their Vitamin K2 intake.
Sources state that your body needs somewhere in the region of 200 micrograms of the vitamin every day in order for it to work effectively. This amounts to more than 560 grams of chicken on a daily basis. That might be a struggle for most people, but is impossible for people who want to maintain a vegetarian diet.
This highlights the need for the various Vitamin K2 supplements on the market. It is currently estimated that around 80% of Americans do not receive an adequate amount of Vitamin K2 in their diets, particularly those who want to avoid consuming large quantities of meat. A supplement can help boost the amount of K2 that your body absorbs, without forcing you to change your dietary habits.
As is always the case before you include any form of supplement into your dietary plan, it is also a good idea to speak to a doctor to figure out what your current levels of intake are and whether they need to be increased or decreased.
That being said, it is generally recommended that you look to consume somewhere in the region of 200 micrograms of Vitamin K2 every single day, with some people veering more towards 400 micrograms depending on the condition that they are looking to treat.
In most cases you should find that the packaging for your supplement includes additional information, but it is also important to take your regular diet into account when figuring out how much of a supplement you should take each day. Those who eat a lot of meat and cheese will generally have to take fewer supplements than those who don’t.
Vitamin K2: Side Effects
While there is not enough research to state conclusively what side effects a person may suffer from if they consume more than the recommended dosage of Vitamin K2 on a regular basis, there are some issues associated with Vitamin K as a whole that you should be aware of before you choose to start taking the supplement.
As usual, if you have any concerns you should always consult a physician before adding the supplement to your daily diet.
Pregnant and New Mothers
Although children are often given a shot of Vitamin K soon after birth, there is not enough evidence to indicate what the effects of Vitamin K2 on a child may be if you are supplementing your regular intake.
As such, you should take caution if you are pregnant or currently breastfeeding. However, Vitamin K in general is considered to be safe.
If you are currently undergoing dialysis treatment for any form of kidney disease, it is possible that Vitamin K could lead to the treatment being less effective than it should be.
As such, you should avoid Vitamin K2 supplements entirely until you have gotten the advice of a medical professional.
Some forms of liver disease can cause clotting issues, which Vitamin K2 may exacerbate in some cases. As such, you should again discuss your intake with a doctor and confirm that the blood clotting properties that are associated with Vitamin K2 will not have a negative effect.
Vitamin K has been shown to have an effect on blood sugar levels, so it is wise to consider this if you suffer from diabetes. While the supplement should still be safe to consume, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
As always, if you are unsure about any of the information that is presented in this document, or simply need to know if you are getting enough Vitamin K2 in your diet already, you should consult a medical professional and obtain their opinion about the supplement and how it can benefit you.
How Do I Get Vitamin K2?
While it is important to note that Vitamin K2 is not naturally produced by the body, most people will have some floating around simply due to their diets. As has already been established, it is most commonly found in red meats and poultry, with different types offering varying levels of K2 content.
For those who have trouble sticking to to sources of foods high in Vitamin K, Vitamin K2 is also available as a supplement.
Usually taken in the form of capsules, most supplements are designed to be safe for use by vegetarians and vegans, in addition to being free of glucose and lactose. In essence, they are the most convenient way to get the levels of Vitamin K2 that your body requires, regardless of how much of a balanced diet you enjoy.
Of course, as with all supplements, it is important to understand the dosage that you need to take, but in most cases this shouldn’t exceed 200 micrograms. As most capsules will offer 100 micrograms, it should be fairly easy to manage your intake.
Vitamin K2 Review & Summary
Vitamin K in all of its forms is vital to the continued wellbeing of the body, in much the same way as the more commonly recognised vitamins are. In fact, many medical professionals have taken to offering a booster shot of Vitamin K for infants who are not yet able to consume the varied diet that is required to ensure they have adequate amounts.
In regards to Vitamin K2, it is necessary for anybody who wants to combat cardiovascular illnesses, so if your physician has identified any issues in terms of the build-up of calcium in your blood vessels you should seriously consider adding the supplement to your diet in an effort to ensure the problem doesn’t worsen and you are further protected from heart-related issues.
Even if you don’t have any pre-existing heart conditions and consider yourself low risk, it is still an excellent idea to try to reach the recommended daily dosage in order to maintain your levels of health.
Maintain Bone Health
Furthermore, if you suffer from any bone-related issues, particularly those that have an effect on the strength of your bones, Vitamin K2 may be able to help in terms of transporting calcium to the bones and thus increasing their strength.
This also means it is an excellent choice for athletes who want to reduce the risk of suffering any injury when they are playing their sport and exercising.
Good Supplement for Vegetarians
Finally, Vitamin K2 is needed if you have identified that you have a diet that is low in meat consumption, for whatever reason. Vegetarians should seriously consider the supplement as an option, but even those who eat meat and poultry on a regular basis should do a little extra research.
After all, the types of meat you eat play a large part in determining the amount of K2 you receive, and over-consumption of the wrong types of meat may lead to your gaining weight and causing other issues that cancel out the benefits of K2.