However, fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, cheese and natto, contain significant amounts of vitamin K2. Natto contains the highest concentration of K2 of all measured foods; almost everything is present as MK-7, which research has proven to be a very effective way. One study showed that MK-7 increased the percentage of osteocalcin in humans three times more powerfully than vitamin K1.
Amy is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author with over 20 years of experience in the supplement industry. She enjoys working on finding new nutritional ingredients with strong clinical research behind them to drive innovation and provide products that promote consumer health. The only vegetarian source is natto, due to the specific bacteria used during the fermentation process.
These are some cardiovascular diseases that can be caused by arterial calcification, especially of large blood vessels such as the aorta. Vitamin K2 is effective in reducing the levels of calcium available in the blood, reducing the rate of deposition in vascular structures. However, some studies that examined this topic used other vitamins and minerals along with vitamin K2, such as calcium and vitamin D. This may represent a disruptive variable that reduces the reliability of articles or suggest a synergistic effect of taking vitamin K2 with other vitamins. Vitamin K breaks down calcium in our body, and this effect helps prevent the formation of hard deposits on the walls of the arteries.
The increase in serum calcium occurs due to bone reabsorption due to increased calcium absorption due to the activity of both GIT osteoclasts. Consequently, the BMD of individuals with PHP decreases in cortical rich sites, such as the forearm. Conversely, BMD in areas of spongy bone such as the spine and femoral neck is not as affected. Currently, there is no research on whether vitamin K2 can be used as a treatment for PHP patients to reduce the risk of vascular calcification and bone resorption during this phase of hypercalcemia.
However, when we dig deeper, we see how important vitamin K2 is in the overall process as well. The only plant sources of K2 are these fermented foods, with the highest amount of natto; unless you eat this regularly, relying on animal products for K2 will be easier for most people on Western diets. Exciting new research has added other health areas to that list, including but not limited to brain health, vision health, pain management and lung health. All forms of vitamin K supplements significantly reduce the effectiveness of warfarin and other blood-thinning medications, leading to potentially fatal complications. Patients taking blood thinners should carefully monitor their dietary intake of vitamin K and should not take vitamin K supplements. Optimal intake of vitamin K2 may help prevent heart disease, but the effects of supplementation are less conclusive and require more research.
Six studies showed an increase in BMD in the groups that received vitamin K2, with 10 studies showing that there was maintenance or subtle increases in lumbar BMD over a longer period of time. However, when looking at hip BMD from both the control group and the vitamin K2 group, there were no significant changes. This is in contrast to the study conducted by the IOF, where it was found that the bone density of the hip had increased, but the lumbar BMD had decreased slightly. This meta-analysis also included randomized controlled trials in which subjects had no bone pathology, which provided information on how vitamin K2 could be used outside of treatment for osteoporosis.
To measure the potential efficacy of vitamin K2 in postmenopausal bone strength, subjects underwent dual-energy X-ray absorption scans to measure BMD, as well as measurement of serum levels of bone metabolic biomarkers. The results showed no significant difference in BMD or bone mineral content between the group receiving MK-4. However, the MK-4 group specifically showed an increase in femoral neck BMD and a decrease in lumbar vertebra BMD L2-L4. Serum levels of carboxylated osteocalcin increased marginally in the placebo group, while serum ucOC levels remained constant in both groups.
He Ma et al. analyzed the effect of different doses of vitamin K2 on the action of VKDP, GGCX and MGP in regulating sperm maturation. Prior to this study, it was known that calcium played a crucial role in enabling sperm maturation, both in the testicles and after ejaculation in the seminal fluid. Using PCR techniques, the researchers assessed the mRNA levels of these VKDPs natural vitamin k2 in wild rats. The use of warfarin to inhibit enzymes resulted in a reduction in sperm count and a reduction in the percentage of total and motile sperm. As mentioned above, warfarin inhibits the action of vitamin K2 to act as a cofactor in the γ-carbidelation of proteins. Therefore, this study illustrated the risk of an insufficient level of vitamin K in sperm maturation.
Vitamin K2 deficiency can lead to arterial defects and osteoporosis, as calcium is deposited in blood vessels rather than in bones. Low vitamin K levels were linked to increased inflammation, fractures and bone pain. The body needs both types of vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein that plays a crucial role in blood clotting, bone metabolism and heart health. There is still a wide range of untapped benefits of vitamin K2 that can be explored, such as reducing the incidence of fractures in patients with cerebral palsy.