Vitamins are essential for the human body because they play crucial roles in various physiological processes that are necessary for maintaining optimal health and well-being. These micronutrients are not produced in sufficient quantities by the body, and therefore, must be obtained through diet or supplement. Supplements for vitamin C, & D are very popular and widely recommended. However, there are many nutrients that are often overlooked. One such essential nutrient is vitamin K. While it may not share the same spotlight with vitamin C or D, the benefits are crucial and diverse. In this week’s blog, we will explore the fascinating world of Vitamin K and uncover its remarkable benefits that can transform your health and vitality.
What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K belongs to the fat-soluble vitamin group. There are two primary types of vitamin K, vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 is found abundantly in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli . It is essential for blood clotting and is the most common form of Vitamin K in the diet.
Vitamin K2 is synthesized by bacteria in the gut and is also present in certain fermented foods like natto and cheese, egg yolk, meat, liver and butter . It is involved in bone metabolism, cardiovascular health, and other vital functions.
Vitamin K2 is further divided into several subtypes, including menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7). Each subtype may have slightly different roles and bioavailability in the body.
While both Vitamin K1 and K2 play critical roles in maintaining health, research has highlighted the unique benefits of Vitamin K2, particularly in promoting bone health and preventing arterial calcification.
Benefits of vitamin K
From promoting bone health to aiding blood clotting and supporting heart health, this unassuming vitamin plays a vital role in maintaining overall well-being.
Here are some important benefits:
Bone health: Vitamin K plays a crucial role in bone health, acting as a key regulator of bone metabolism and mineralization. It is involved in the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to the bone mineral matrix, enhancing bone strength and density. By activating osteocalcin, Vitamin K ensures that calcium is effectively incorporated into the bone, preventing its accumulation in soft tissues and blood vessels. Studies have shown that individuals with higher Vitamin K intake tend to have better bone mineral density and a reduced risk of fractures, making this vitamin an essential ally in maintaining strong and healthy bones throughout life.
Blood clotting: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting which helps prevent blood loss and heals injuries. Vitamin K activates several clotting factors, including prothrombin, which is crucial for the formation of stable blood clots . Without sufficient Vitamin K, the clotting cascade is compromised, leading to prolonged bleeding and increased vulnerability to injuries. Thus, Vitamin K ensures that our bodies can respond promptly to injuries, preventing potentially harmful and life-threatening blood loss.
Healthy heart: Vitamin K is beneficial in preventing arterial calcification. A recent 2021 Danish study concluded that diets high in vitamin K1 and K2 reduced the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Vitamin K helps regulate calcium deposition in blood vessels, inhibiting the buildup of calcium plaques that can lead to arterial stiffness and narrowing. By maintaining the flexibility and health of blood vessels, Vitamin K may contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease and supporting overall cardiovascular well-being. Its unique role in promoting heart health makes Vitamin K an essential component of a comprehensive approach to cardiovascular care.
Healthy immune function: Vitamin K has been shown to modulate immune responses and promote the production of immune cells. Vitamin K has been shown to support the production and maturation of immune cells, enhancing their ability to defend against pathogens. Additionally, its antioxidant properties help neutralize harmful free radicals that can compromise immune function. By contributing to a well-balanced and robust immune system, Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting the body from infections and maintaining overall health. By supporting the immune system, Vitamin K helps the body effectively defend itself against harmful pathogens and maintain overall health.
Antioxidant effects: Vitamin K also exhibits antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, it helps to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, which can cause cellular damage and contribute to aging and various diseases. By combating oxidative stress, Vitamin K contributes to maintaining cellular health and reducing the risk of chronic illnesses.
Brain health: A growing body of research suggests that Vitamin K may play a role in brain health and cognitive function. Some studies have linked Vitamin K intake to better episodic memory and processing speed. Moreover, its ability to reduce oxidative stress in the brain may also contribute to its potential neuroprotective effects. While more research is needed to fully understand the extent of Vitamin K's impact on brain health, its potential is promising. A recent 2021 study suggested that vitamin K2 holds potential for Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment.
Though often overshadowed by more renowned vitamins, Vitamin K is undoubtedly a powerhouse nutrient with numerous health benefits. If you are looking to harness the power of vitamin K in the form of supplements here are our top picks of some high-quality vitamin K supplements.
Vitamin K by Thorne Research: Thorne Research Vitamin K is a complete formula that includes vitamin K1 and two forms of vitamin K2. This supplement supports the healthy ability of the blood to clot, promotes healthy arteries, and supports healthy bone density. The product provides the highest quality, clinically studied forms of vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, as MK-4 and MK-7. Contains significantly more MK-4 than most products on the market and the MK-7 is MenaQ7,® the form used in the majority of MK-7 research . The suggested dosage is to take 1 capsule one to two times daily or as recommended by your health professional. The Serving Size: One Capsule provides 6,090 mcg of vitamin K, that provides K2 (5 mg as MK-4), K1 (1 mg), and K2 (90 mcg as MK-7).
Vitamin K2 100 mcg by NOW: NOW’s Vitamin K2 is formulated to support bone health. A serving size of one vegetarian capsule offers 100 mcg of vitamin K 2 as Menaquinone-4 (MK-4) along with 250 mg of Alfalfa powder (aerial parts). As a biologically active form of Vitamin K, K-2 is important for the formation of healthy, strong bone matrix. The supplement is not manufactured with wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish or tree nut ingredients. Produced in a GMP facility that processes other ingredients containing these allergens. The suggested dosage is 1 capsule per day with meals. The product is available in 100 vegetarian capsules in a pack.
Vitamin Code RAW K-Complex by Garden of Life: Garden of Life Vitamin Code K-Complex is a high-potency RAW whole food Vitamin K formula, providing 150% of the Daily Value with a unique lipid delivery system and live probiotics. This supplement is RAW, Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free. Vitamin Code supplements are delivered in a whole food base of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin Code supplements are RAW, which not only means that they are produced below 115 F, but also means that these nutrients come with their natural cofactors, along with live probiotics and enzymes, just like raw foods! Made with individually grown nutrients utilizing probiotic cultivation to produce RAW Food-Created Nutrients, Vitamin Code supplements are delivered in a whole food base of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin Code supplements are RAW, which not only means that they are produced below 115 F, but also means that these nutrients come with their natural cofactors, along with live probiotics and enzymes, just like raw foods! Vitamin Code raw powders are delivered in capsules without any binders or fillers everything you want and nothing you don't want. Vitamin Code RAW K-Complex is whole food nutrition, specifically formulated to deliver 120mcg of whole food K-Complex, featuring Vitamin K2 as MK-7, along with Vitamins K1 and K2 as MK-4. Fat-soluble Vitamin K is delivered in a whole food base of cold-pressed omega-rich chia and flaxseed oil, which work as a lipid delivery system to promote absorption. The 23 fruits and vegetables plus 75 alkalizing trace minerals add supporting antioxidants, vitamins and nutrient cofactors. A single serving of one capsule provides 120 mcg of vitamin K as K1 from culture of S. cerevisiae along with 100 mcg of vitamin K2 (as Menaquinine-7) and 10 mcg of vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-4. The supplement comes in a bottle of 60 vegan capsules and the recommended dosage is to take one capsule per day along with meals.
As with any nutrient, it is essential to strike a balance in its intake through a varied and balanced diet or, if necessary, through supplementation. Always seek a healthcare provider’s advice before starting supplements. Pregnant woman and people taking anti-coagulant medications must discuss with their doctor before considering vitamin K supplements.