Vitamin K2 Benefits and Why You Need an Upgrade
Level Up your nutrition by understanding Vitamin K2 Benefits and why combining vitamin K2 with D3 should be a priority for health.
Published March 8, 2019 - 4 Min Read
As we pointed out in our article about vitamin D, the majority of Americans are failing to reach optimal levels for this essential nutrient. To fill the gap, many people look to supplementation to ensure they're getting enough. As a way to help you increase vitamin D in your daily routine, we've included it in both our Essentials and Recovery shakes. But, there' something else that we include that you're not going to see in most products - vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is another vitamin that most Americans don't get enough of. Without K2, the vitamin D3 that you consume is not able to effectively do its job, like shuttling calcium into bones. If you're serious about your health, it's time you get educated about vitamin K2 benefits and the important role of Vitamin D with K2.
What is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2 is an essential element that functions as a signal to the bones. It makes sure that bones get enough calcium. Moreover, vitamin K2 also activates two proteins (osteocalcin and Matrix-GLA) and helps to provide calcium to the arteries. Thus, vitamin K2 contributes to the balance between calcium and cardiovascular health. This important role shows that our body needs K2 to sustain healthy bones and heart.
On the other hand, Vitamin D is a nutrient that is capable of controlling calcium absorption in the blood. While vitamin k2 controls where calcium ends up. Without adequate amounts of vitamin K2, vitamin D is unable to perform its role in calcium regulation and bone building.
How is Vitamin K2 Benefits Different than Vitamin K1?
You're probably familiar with the role of vitamin K for blood clotting. When most people hear the term vitamin K, this is what they think of. Vitamin K actually refers to a group of nutrients that have different roles in the body. Vitamin K is abundant in most diets whereas vitamin K2 is severely lacking. Vitamin K can be found in green leafy veggies like kale and spinach. Vitamin K2 is present in fermented foods and certain types of animal products like butter and meat from grass-fed cows. Since most Americans don't eat fermented foods regularly and many avoid animal products and dairy, it shouldn't be a surprise as to why we're missing out on this important nutrient. Additionally, vitamin K2 can be produced by healthy gut bacteria and has a range of ten different subtypes. These subtypes are known as menaquinones. Menaquinones range from MK-4 to MK-13. The most well-known and widely studied form of vitamin K2 is MK-7.
Without getting too hung up on the terminology, here's what you need to know about vitamin K2 vs vitamin K1:
- Both vitamin K1 and K2 play a role in cardiovascular health, regulating calcium for bone health, and blood clotting.
- Vitamin K1 is poorly absorbed and utilized by the body whereas K2 stays in the body much longer, leading to increased usage compared to K1.
- Studies suggest that vitamin K2 is more effective than vitamin K1 at reducing calcium deposits in the arteries, making it a better choice for heart health.
- Research points to vitamin K2 benefits for bone health and reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis. Preliminary research suggests that vitamin K2 is more effective for bone health than vitamin K1
- Vitamin K2 in the form MK-7 may be up to three times more effective than vitamin K1 for bone health and activating the protein osteocalcin
With all these amazing health benefits, you're probably wondering why there isn't a recommended daily intake for vitamin K2. The truth is that we're still learning about the benefits of K2 and regulatory hasn't yet caught up with the science. Keep in mind that the main purpose for RDIs is to prevent disease, not to optimize health. Since vitamin K deficiency isn't common in developed countries, vitamin K2 gets very little attention. If you're like me, your goal isn't just to prevent disease but also to optimize life! Getting adequate amounts of K2 through diet and supplementation will play a critical role in your long-term health by helping to keep bone density high and your arteries clear from calcification. Therefore, you might want to consider upping your intake of fermented foods and consider vitamin d3 and k2 supplements as part of your health routine.
Vitamin D with K2 has Tremendous Benefits
Aside from the functions mentioned above, Vitamin D with K2 has multi-benefits to the human body. Here are a few of the enumerated benefits.
- Supports bone health
- A powerful hormone
- Boosts the immune system
- Protects you from seasonal colds, cough, and flu
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Promotes intestinal integrity
- May reduce risks of cancer
- Important factor in mental health
- Increases bone durability and density
- Helps in blood clotting
- Activates protein to control calcium distribution
- Shuttles calcium to the bones
- May help to prevent heart diseases
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
- May improve dental health
- May help fight cancer
- Plays a role as an anti-aging agent
- Enhances brain health
To get most of the benefits of vitamin D and K2, it is suggested by experts to use them together and regularly, of course with the prescriptions of health professionals. According to some experts, it is advisable to get vitamin D levels ranging from 40-80 ng/ml to be in the optimal range. As for K2, there isn't a recommended daily intake, but most experts suggest 100-200 micrograms daily in the form of MK-7 as an effective dose.
Weight Loss Possibility of Vitamin D with K2
You are now familiar with the important role of vitamin K2 for optimal health and longevity, but there's one more topic that might interest you - weight loss. The research on this top is still emerging, but there are some interesting results that indicate a relationship between stubborn abdominal fat with vitamin D and K2. Let's dive into the topic of vitamin d3 and k2 for weight loss. Yes, these nutrients (D and K2) are capable of influencing weight, but not in the traditional sense. The relationship is a little more abstract making it difficult to draw a clear connection. One thing we do know is that the gut microbiome plays a critical role in weight and every facet of health. This is an especially hot topic because obesity is rampant among both men and women today.
One theory of vitamin D and vitamin K2 in regard to weight is linked with antibiotics. The antibiotics we knowingly use in the form of prescriptions can have important benefits for killing off harmful infections, but this comes with a price. Antibiotics wreak havoc on our gut by destroying the healthy bacteria that play a vital role in our health. Now, consider all the antibiotics used on animals that get passed through the food chain into the meat and dairy products consumed in a standard American diet.
Obesity occurs when there is an imbalance of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals in the body. Most of the time, obesity strikes when a person has vitamin D deficiency or vitamin K2 insufficiency. Vitamin D, as we pointed out in a previous article, acts as a hormone in the body. Thus, to control fat-soluble materials and hormones in the body, one must understand the concept of vitamin intake and balance it.
Several researchers have been studying the relation of vitamin D and K2 to body weight. To date, they have found a deficiency of such vitamins destabilized the body and may be a leading cause in obesity. Additionally, additional research that looked at vitamin D supplementation in weight loss concluded that although a causative role of vitamin D and K2 with weight loss could not be established, a link may exist. In particular, these vitamins may play a role in the composition and breakdown of stubborn adipose tissue and abdominal fat. So, if you're struggling to lose that stubborn belly fat, it might be time to consider supplementing with vitamin d and k2.
Vitamin D with K2 Supplementation
In an ideal world, we'd get all the vitamin D that we need from the sun and plenty of K2 through the diet by eating a wide variety of fermented foods, but that isn't the case today. Industrialized food production has deteriorated the nutritional density of the food we eat making many food choices like beef and dairy more harmful than helpful. While we can get vitamin K2 from egg yolks, grass-fed butter, goose liver, cheese, organ meats, and natto (fermented soy), most of these options don't work for plant-based dieters. For this reason, most people turn to supplements to get their daily dose of vitamin D plus K2.
However, before choosing to take supplements, consider the following:
- Your specific vitamin D and K2 intake needs
- Your food choices – the foods might already high in vitamin D and K2.
- Your daily routine or exercise – athletes will require higher levels
- Natural vs. synthetic – choose natural, whole food based options for more benefit and less risk of contaminants
Want the easy solution? Add our Essentials shake to your daily routine. Unlike other meal replacement products, each scoop of the Essentials contains both vitamin D and K2 in the ideal ratio to ensure you're getting enough of these health-promoting nutrients. Derived from fermented chickpeas, our K2 is whole food derived and soy-free so you get all the benefits without any nasty chemicals, fillers, or sketchy synthetic materials.
There you have it! Now that you know all about vitamin K2 benefits, it's time to make this important nutrient an essential addition to your routine. After all, if you're still reading this it's because you want the best for your health and to optimize life. Knowledge is power, but taking action leads to results.
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Written by Chris Manderino
Co-Founder of LYFE FUEL in Newport Beach, CA. Chris was an NFL fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs before embarking on a journey to pursue his passion for health & nutrition. Chris is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and earned a completion certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Course in Plant-Based Nutrition.