Vitamin K2 is an essential nutrient with a wide range of health benefits, spanning from bone and heart health to skincare and brain protection. Supported by clinical research and ongoing discoveries, vitamin K2 deserves a prominent place in a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Vitamin K2, specifically menaquinone-7 (MK-7), is a fat-soluble vitamin known for its crucial role in regulating calcium metabolism in our bodies. Vitamin K2 is essential for various processes, including blood clotting, bone formation, and the maintenance of healthy bones, teeth, and the heart. A deficiency in vitamin K2 can lead to bone weakness, a tendency to bleed, and heart problems.
Vitamin K2 comes in various forms, namely MK-2 through 14. Menaquinone-7 (MK-7), the natural form of vitamin K2, is considered one of the best forms of vitamin K2. This is due to specific properties that distinguish it from other forms of vitamin K2. MK-7 has a longer half-life in the body, meaning it remains active for a longer duration, requiring less frequent intake and providing a more prolonged effect. MK-7 has better bioavailability, meaning it is more efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body. MK-7 is naturally present in fermented foods such as natto and in smaller amounts in cheese and other fermented products.
The Effect of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 activates two crucial proteins in the body: osteocalcin, involved in transporting calcium to the bones and teeth, and matrix-GLA protein (MGP), which provides non-bone and teeth-related benefits. Research indicates that MGP plays a role in preventing strokes due to cardiovascular benefits, namely preventing the calcification of blood vessels.
In a study conducted in October 2022, supplementation with vitamin K2 MK-7 (720 µg/day) and vitamin D (25 µg/day) for two years significantly reduced the risk of developing coronary artery calcification.
Recent discoveries indicate that MGP also plays a key role in brain and nervous system health, reducing oxidative stress, preventing inflammation, and potentially helping prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Vitamin K2 can help maintain youthful skin by activating Matrix-GLA and preventing elastin calcification (reference).
Vitamin K2 can also enhance exercise performance. Through the vitamin K2 protein osteocalcin, skeletal muscles can use energy during exercise, increasing training efficiency and potential performance (reference).
The Versatile Benefits of Vitamin K2:
The benefits of vitamin K2 are supported by a series of clinical studies and research:
- Bone Health: strength and maintenance
- Healthy Teeth and Gums
- Cardiovascular Health: prevention and reduction of calcification, improvement of heart health
- Immune Health: reducing the severity of COVID-19, tempering inflammation
- Mobility and Sports Nutrition: athletic performance, muscle mass, muscle recovery
- Neurology: preventing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease
- Female Fertility: helping/preventing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Prevention of Kidney Stones
- Prevention of Prostate Cancer
- Skincare: reducing skin aging, combating dark circles, soothing inflammation, and accelerating wound healing
- Combating Varicose Veins
Also, watch this video by Dr. Berg and Dr. Pradip Jamnadas, where the workings and benefits of vitamin K2 are explained clearly.