What Makes Vitamin K so special?
Vitamin K may not be a vitamin that you would regularly reach for; it often appears as an added ingredient in bone supplements, but lately, it is finding its’ way as a stand-alone vitamin and for a good reason.
Vitamin K is most well-known for being responsible for blood clotting. Blood cannot clot without Vitamin K because it activates the protein that is responsible for forming clots. While blood clots sound scary, a certain amount of clotting is critical for health. Vitamin K can keep your blood from becoming too thick or thin (just right)
Vitamin K, as a supportive supplement that helps facilitate the uptake of calcium, has also reached media attention. But Vitamin K as preventative for arterial stiffness is what some cardiologists are raving about today.
What Makes Vitamin K so special?
Vitamin K as a bone health supplement is the missing piece for bone health and, until recently, has been overlooked. New research has identified Vitamin K as a critical element in the growth and maintenance of the bone matrix that tends to break down with ageing. It has shown promising results in the prevention of hip fractures and osteopenia, especially in postmenopausal women. Vitamin K helps activate a protein, “osteocalcin,” which binds to calcium in the bones.
Vitamin K, when teamed up with Vitamin D, helps the calcium you consume or acquire from supplements to get to your bones where it is needed, and without it, your bones would not hold on to the calcium as efficiently. (Lack of calcium in bones is related to osteoporosis).
Vitamin K as Heart Supplement?
New Cardiovascular research has revealed a link between Vitamin K2 (MK-7) and Vitamin D for coronary arterial calcification.
If the calcium consumed through the diet or through supplementation is not teamed up with Vitamin K2, the free-flowing calcium in the bloodstream may cause calcification of the arteries.
Vitamin K plays a primary role in heart health by activating a protein that helps prevent the accumulation of calcium buildup in the artery walls (Calcification, mineralization)
Calcification of the arterial walls naturally occurs with age, the result of which can create a build-up of minerals, causing the arterial walls to change from smooth muscle cells into hard “bone-like cells,” which reduce the elasticity of the artery and, over time reduces the effectiveness of blood flow, (hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis) When teamed up with Vitamin D results are even more positive towards the prevention of arterial stiffness.
Vitamin K2 MK-7 is the Vital Ingredient
There are a few forms of Vitamin K. Vitamin K1 is obtained through the consumption of green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K3 is a synthetic form of vitamin that should be avoided. Vitamin K2 (MK-4) is found in some sources of meat, organ meats and egg yolks.
And Vitamin K2 MK-7, the isolated form of Vitamin K obtained from Natto Beans (natto is a fermented soybean). Out of all the options for Vitamin K, Vitamin K2 MK-7 provides unmatched stability, which is why new research conducted for bone and heart health has centred around this isolated form of the vitamin.
All forms of Vitamin K, K1, K2 ( MK-4) and MK-7 show benefits for bone and heart health, and all forms are fat soluble, which means that it is stored in your fatty tissues and liver and then transported to your cells as needed. However, it is Vitamin K2 MK-7 that shows the most promise of absorbability and benefits.
Supplementing with Vitamin K
We like Natural Factors and Preferred Nutrition as the better choice for supplemental Vitamin K2. They both contain MK-7, the more bioavailable form of Vitamin K derived naturally from natto beans (natto beans are fermented soybeans). The highly bioavailable MK-7 from natto beans is the only form of vitamin K2 that offers 24-hour protection in a single daily dose. Other commercially available subtypes of vitamin K2, such as MK-4, only last four to six hours in the body and are required in much larger dosages to be effective.
Vitamin K + D from Natural Factors and Preferred also provides the ideal ratio of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is also a fat-soluble vitamin essential for calcium absorption. It helps calcium absorption from the intestines, reduces calcium excretion, and facilitates calcium incorporation into the bones. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the safe, natural, and more biologically active form of vitamin D.
The amount of Vitamin K your body has on reserve depends on the health of your gut (where conversion begins) and your daily consumption of Vitamin K foods. Due to the effect of Vitamin K and blood clotting, consult your physician if you are on medications for blood thinners and medications for heart disease. Since Vitamin K is fat-soluble, taking it with the meal that contains the most fat will positively affect absorption into the bloodstream.