Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that activates the protein that clots our blood and nourishes our hearts and bones. One form of this vitamin, Vitamin K2, is being researched as the missing nutrient for heart and bone health.
Researchers have found a link between vitamin K2 and calcium.
- It turns out that without the addition of vitamin K2 in your diet or as a supplement, you cannot regulate calcium levels. As a result, your bone health suffers.
In addition, decreased levels of vitamin K2 in the diet increase the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
- Atherosclerosis can begin as early as one’s teens and can take years to become clinically significant, causing a heart attack or stroke.
So, I want to talk to you about what we now know about the missing nutrient for heart and bone health.
- A vitamin K deficiency has been linked to heart disease, weakened bones, tooth decay, and cancer, among other conditions.
Much of the vitamin K in our diets comes from the intestinal bacteria we already have, and because of this, your levels can depend greatly on the health of your gut.
Vitamin K1 is found in dark, leafy green vegetables, while K2 is found in dairy products, egg yolks, and organ meats. K2 is also produced by the bacteria in your gut.
When looking to supplement or add to your diet, vitamin K2 rich foods have been shown to have greater health benefits than K1. It plays a role in:
➡ Vitamin K1 has been shown to help prevent calcification of arteries, one of the leading causes of heart attacks. It works by carrying calcium out of the arteries and not allowing it to form hard plaques.
➡ Vitamin K2 has been found to reduce the amount of cholesterol and calcium plaques found in heart valves and in arterial walls.
In one large study of more than 4800 participants, it was discovered that those who consumed more vitamin K2 in their diet had a 57% reduction in the number of deaths due to heart disease.
Improving Bone Density
- Vitamin K increases the amount of a specific protein required to maintain bone calcium, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Some studies have even found that (medically supervised) high intakes of Vitamin K stop bone loss in people with osteoporosis.
- Vitamin K has been used effectively to reduce the risk of cancers of the prostate, colon, and stomach, as well as nasal and oral cancers.
- One study found that medically supervised high doses of vitamin K helped patients with liver cancer stabilize and even improve their liver function.
The Recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 120 mcg/day for men and 90mcg/day for women, with your doctor’s approval.
The Top Ten Vitamin K1-Rich Foods Include:
- Kale, Collard/Turnip Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Spring onions (Scallions)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Dairy (fermented)
Vitamin K2 is found in egg yolks, dairy products, and organ meats.
Most people do not experience any side effects when taking vitamin K in the recommended amount each day. However, some cases of upset stomach or diarrhea have been reported.
Special Precautions & Warnings
Pregnancy and breastfeeding:
When taken in the recommended amount each day, vitamin K is considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
However, Do NOT use ANY supplement when pregnant without the advice of your physician.
➡ In some studies, the use of Vitamin K has resulted in lower blood sugar levels. However, before adding it as a supplement in capsule or any other form, speak with your physician.
- Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored more often or other adjustments to your medication may be necessary.
- Too much vitamin K can be harmful to patients receiving dialysis due to kidney disease.
Vitamin K is not effective for treating clotting problems caused by a severe liver disease. In fact, high doses of vitamin K can make clotting problems worse.
Interactions With Medications
Do NOT TAKE WITH COUMADIN (WARFARIN).
As mentioned earlier, Vitamin K is used by the body to help clot your blood. Coumadin (Warfarin) is used to slow blood clotting.
Vitamin K may decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). In fact, it’s been found to be a good antidote to warfarin toxicity.
Again, this is a discussion to have with your physician and make sure blood tests to check your levels and clotting performance are checked regularly.
MODERATE YOUR DIABETES MEDICATIONS
- Vitamin K1 can potentially lower blood sugar levels, as do your diabetes medications.
To prevent hypoglycemia, you’ll need to closely monitor your glucose levels. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed. Speak with your Doctor.
Wrapping It Up
Extensive studies being conducted at the University of California in Los Angeles are helping us understand the link between atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.
➡ It was found that those who suffered from osteoporosis also had an increased risk of calcium deposits in the arteries. The reverse is also true.
➡ What they discovered was that calcified plaques are not just plaques at all but are really bony tissue inside the arteries. Calcium in the arteries is actually ossification of the blood vessels.
- Ossification refers to the process of laying down new bone material by cells.
➡ Vitamin K (in medically controlled large doses) seems to keep the calcium out of the arteries and put it back into the bones where it belongs.
In the same way, it was found that things like sedentary lifestyles, diabetes, aging, smoking, and high cholesterol levels were linked to both osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.
We need to take this message seriously. Too many are still ignoring it, hoping it doesn’t apply to them. It does.
Lifestyle choices determine health outcomes. There is no more room for argument on that fact.