Most people have never heard of Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 may just be the “missing link” between diet and several killer diseases.
Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 as an essential nutrient for blood clotting. There are two main forms of Vitamin K. K1 (phylloquinone) is found in plant foods like leafy greens. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is found in animal foods and fermented foods. The main function of Vitamin K is modifying proteins to give them the ability to bind calcium.
Vitamin K1 is mostly used by the liver to activate calcium-binding proteins involved in blood clotting. K2 is used to activate proteins that regulate where calcium ends up in the body. Calcium build-up in the arteries and around the heart is a huge risk factor for heart disease. For this reason, anything that can reduce this accumulation of calcium may help prevent heart disease.
How Vitamin K2 May Help Prevent Heart Disease
This is where vitamin K2 is believed to help, by helping to prevent calcium from being deposited into the arteries. In the Rotterdam study, those who had the highest intake of Vitamin K2 were 52% less likely to develop calcification of the arteries and had a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease, over a 7-10 years of period. Another study of 16,057 women found that participants with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a much lower risk of heart disease.
Foods High In K2
Vitamin K2 is mainly found in certain animal foods and fermented foods, which most people don’t eat much of. Rich animal sources include high-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows, liver and other organs, as well as egg yolks.
The bottom line is butter, ghee from grass fed cows and organic cage-free eggs can be good for you.
References J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3100-5. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2008.10.004. Epub 2009 Jan 28. Oman Med J. 2014 May; 29(3): 172–177.