I’m here today to talk about one of my favorite things. Vitamin K is quite possibly the most important vitamin there is for bone health, in fact, even with fighting osteoporosis. Vitamin K is also one of the two main vitamins found in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. While K2 (also known as menaquinone-7) is also naturally present in fermented dairy products like yogurt, it’s actually a form our bodies can’t fully absorb without supplementation. Vitamins are fascinating.
With all the responsibility for good nutrition, it’s hard to know everything there is to know about different nutrients. While many vitamins and minerals should be part of a healthy diet, some have specific purposes in the body that can enhance one’s health. For example, vitamin K promotes strong bones and calcium helps the body absorb other vital nutrients, improving bone health.
Vitamin K is an essential micronutrient in the diet that keeps calcium out of the bloodstream and in bones. Vitamin K can help protect against a variety of cardiovascular diseases, pre-eclampsia, sufferers of rheumatic conditions, osteoporosis, and a host of cancers. Vitamin K prevents calcium deposits or matrix calcification throughout our bones. It also regulates the production of osteocalcin, a bone protein that narrows the pores and walls of our blood vessels and helps them to function normally. It’s vitally important for maintaining bone health and preventing negative side-effects from some medications, like blood thinners.
In a perfect world, vitamin K is a not-so-central part of building bone. In reality though, vitamin K has some very relevant functions for bone health. As with any vitamin, there is an active form and an inactive form. The inactive form can be converted into the active form through the influence of vitamin D. Your body converts inactive vitamin K to active vitamin K, which then gets bound up with vitamin D. So basically, vitamin K works as a direct accelerator to calcium absorption.
And the body needs calcium to help build bone, but it needs a byproduct to help that calcium. And that byproduct…not really byproduct, I guess it’s a cofactor, it’s a helper in the calcium so that the calcium can bind to the osteocalcin, so that it can build our bones. But that helper is vitamin K.
The best source of vitamin K is kale and spinach, as well as green, leafy vegetables such as Chinese cabbages (including bok choy and napa cabbage). “All these things that are already, you know, very significant in terms of alkalinity” for bone health. These foods contain an abundant balancing blend of essential fatty acids that are essential for bone growth, alkalinity, and good overall health.
Dietary K levels are based on observational studies and long-term trials only. Additionally, Dr. Goodman’s work with hormone replacement therapy is unproven. His recommendation comes from his many years working with women to treat menopause symptoms. Women going through menopause may be advised to take 50-100 micrograms of K2 supplements to improve bone health and mood, but this is not the same as recommending a daily K2 dose. So you might want to figure out how much K is in your diet, and if you feel like you’re getting too little, you might consider taking supplements. The suggested amount is in the range of 180 micrograms a day. So if you’re not getting that level in your diet, you might consider taking a multivitamin.
One of the biggest trends in the supplement industry is the growing popularity of vitamin K. And all sorts of different forms are now available. However, it’s not just about what type of K you gain from your supplement, it’s also about how long you can hold on to that vitamin and what type of benefits you can get.
So with regards to vitamin K, many of its functions are dependent on how long you can hold on to the vitamin.
Vitamin K2 is one type of vitamin K. There are two major forms: MK-4 and MK-7. MK-7 is the form that appears to have the best benefits. The reason why there’s a difference between those versions is that the MK-4 version can be broken down into blood cellular components and absorbed by the body within eight hours, versus a day for the MK7 form.
If you want to take supplements to maintain bone health, either vitamin K2 MK7 or magnesium citrate probably won’t cause problems. But, be cautious if you are on medications that prevent blood clotting such as warfarin anticoagulant drugs and blood thinners. It’s advisable for individuals on these medications to balance their calcium intake with vitamin K2 MK7 and magnesium citrate.
So, if you’re retaking a blood-thinning drug, that’s called an anticoagulant. To ensure your body is balancing the levels of clotting required for optimal health, it’s wise to take a supplement that includes K2. An anticoagulant or blood thinner like Coumadin blocks the action of substances in the blood that make your blood clot by removing them from your body.
So, it’s not that K is negative for someone who’s an anticoagulant, even though K is essential for blood clotting. It’s more that…it’s crucial that you’re on a steady state of K, since a steady state of K (K 0 ) is the ideal range for optimum health. So if you’re started on anticoagulant therapy, and you’re already on a supplement, make sure you speak to your doctor. (We all know …
As with all supplements that you’re considering adding into your diet, you should speak with your pharmacist or your physician about adding the K2. And so, I hope that this information on K2 gives you one more piece to your puzzle in making sure that you have optimum bone health. Thanks for reading.