All of us have heard about vitamins. Vitamins are essential macronutrients that are vital for several important bodily functions. This means that they are not produced by our bodies naturally, but are required for the healthy functioning of the body. As such, foods rich in vitamins and supplements containing a huge concentration of vitamins are absolutely necessary.
Vitamins come in various forms. While vitamins A, B, C. D, etc are well-known, there are certain forms of vitamins that many people are not aware of. Out of these is vitamin K. We cannot blame people for not knowing about this vitamin as the presence of this macronutrient is not very relevant in diet from certain parts of the world.
However, vitamin K has been recognised for its many health benefits. These health benefits have been scientifically established after extensive research on this macronutrient.
Vitamin K was discovered in the late 1920s as an essential nutrient for the coagulation of blood. The origins of the research and the reason for it being called vitamin K can be noted from this scientific paper.
Tests on certain diets showed a high concentration of a certain essential macronutrient that was linked to protection of the teeth and chronic diseases. This nutrient was later established to be vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 is widely found in animal based foods and foods that have undergone some level of fermentation.
Extensive studies classified vitamin K2 (menaquinone) along with vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) as types of vitamin K. It is worth noting that while vitamin K2 is most prominently found in animal based foods, vitamin K1 is found in plant based foods. Vitamin K2 itself is divided into two forms of its own: MK-4 and MK-7.
Out of the two forms of vitamin K, K2 is noted to be more potent and beneficial. Research has shown that vitamin K2 contributes to good health of the heart and bones while vitamin K1 does not. There are several studies which have actually established the nutritional superiority of vitamin K2 over vitamin K1. Hence, this article will primarily deal with the health benefits and consumption of vitamin K2.
Research on vitamin K2 revealed several important health benefits associated with its consumption. This article gives a thorough coverage of all the significant scientific research that has established vitamin K2 as one of the most important essential nutrients to be included in one’s diet.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K2
Metabolism of calcium
Vitamin K facilities the triggering of several proteins that aid in important functionalities such as the metabolism of calcium in the body. Studies have shown that it regulates the deposition of calcium in different areas. For instance, it promotes the generation of calcium deposits in the bone. Plus, it prevents such deposits from forming in the arteries and urinary tract.
Research has established that vitamin K2 (MK-4) is the form of vitamin K that is responsible for the prevention of the formation of calcium deposits in the arteries and blood vessels.
Promotes good cardiovascular health
We have just spoken regarding the deposition of calcium within the arteries and blood vessels. This very process of calcium deposits blocking out the passages of the arteries can lead to severe heart problems.
Research has indicated that vitamin K2 effectively prevents the deposition of calcium in your arteries. This significantly reduces the risk of heart disease and other related problems.
A long term research has firmly established that people with a high intake of vitamin K2 were less likely to develop calcium deposits within their arteries and run the risk of heart disease by more than 50%. This study spammed an entire decade.
Another study on several women once again proved that the regular consumption of vitamin K2 significantly reduced the risk of heart disease in these women.
Unsurprisingly, research has shown that vitamin K1 had no effect on cardiovascular health.
Promotes good health of the musculoskeletal system
Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to porosity of the bones, making them lose their strength and increasing their vulnerability to injuries.
As it has been stated, vitamin K2 aids in the formation of calcium deposits in the bulk of the bones. As such, there is healthy development and maintenance of bones. Naturally, the same applies to the teeth as well.
A study conducted for 3 years demonstrated that the intake of vitamin K2 supplements aids in protecting the bones against decreasing bone density that happens with age.
Some Japanese studies have established the usage of vitamin K2 supplements for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Helps in maintaining the teeth
Going by the extensive scientific evidence supporting the functionality of vitamin K2 in the metabolism of calcium, it is pretty logical to assume that the consumption of vitamin K2 promotes good dental care as well.
Studies have demonstrated that vitamin K2 triggers the functionality of the protein osteocalcin. By doing so, research has shown that there is a calcified growth in the enamel. As such, your teeth are strengthened. Furthermore, vitamin K2 helps in maintaining the teeth’s strength.
Sources of Vitamin K2
It is quite obvious that you need vitamin K2 and not K1. Vitamin K2 is an animal based macronutrient, and is produced in the large intestine by good bacteria (gut).
Furthermore, it is a fat-soluble vitamin. As such, you can expect fatty food products to contain more of it.
Foods that contain a good concentration of vitamin K2 include beef, fatty fish, egg yolk, high fat milk products and organ meats like liver and kidney.
A non-vegetarian food diet is more than enough to give your body the vitamin K2 it needs.
With vitamin K2 being the preferred choice of vitamin K, it is almost mandatory to have a healthy supply of this nutrient into your body. Vitamin K1 helps in blood coagulation but the K2 variant is associated with a wider range of health benefits as we have seen.
For people who consume meat, eating foods rich in vitamin K2 is more than enough to get your required nutrition of vitamin K. For vegetarians and vegans, vitamin K2 supplements are sufficient.
It is pretty obvious from the set of health benefits that you should absolutely start taking vitamin K2 more often. It contributes towards overall good health and makes you healthier and happier.