Vitamin K2 is an essential vitamin that many people never hear of until they have their first child and the nurse administers a Vitamin K injection.
Vitamin K2 improves the heart’s function, the bones strength, the brain’s health and reduces the risks of cancer.
1. For Healthy Bones
Research has shown that Vitamin K2 is one of the most important nutrients for long-term bone health and that it is even more important than calcium.
K2 is needed to help calcium and other minerals bind into the bone matrix to strengthen bones (and not to stay in soft tissue where it can cause calcification in the wrong places).
In fact, studies have shown that Vitamin K is effective at not just stopping bone loss in people with osteoporosis but potentially reversing it as well. This same research found up to an 80% reduction in fractures in osteoporosis patients with K2 supplements.
2. For Heart Health
I wrote before about how calcification of the arteries can occur when a person consumes too much calcium without the needed cofactors in the right ratios: Magnesium, Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3.
The book Vitamin K and The Calcium Paradox details how Vitamin K is needed to usher calcium into bones and other necessary places in the body and keep it out of soft tissue, arteries and the heart. Magnesium is also important for this process and without the needed K2, D3 and magnesium, calcification is more likely.
It is important to note that the research only shows a cardiovascular benefit from K2 and not K1. In fact, the Rotterdam study found that those with the highest dietary or supplemental intake of K2 had the lowest risk of calcification of the arteries, and the lowest risk of getting or dying from cardiovascular disease.
With the drastic rise of heart disease in recent decades, Vitamin K is becoming an ever-important topic.
3. For Oral Health
Oral health is vital for overall health and Vitamin K is important for oral health. In fact,Vitamin K was one of the vitamins that Dr. Weston A. Price found was vital for tooth remineralization and prevention of cavities.
I used it as part of my tooth remineralization process that helped me reverse several small cavities. (I recently confirmed that remineralization is possible in an interview with a dentist who specializes in this process- listen here)
4. To Reduce Varicose Veins
This will be getting its own post soon, but the same action that makes Vitamin K beneficial for bone health may also make it helpful for those with varicose veins.
Human research is still in the early stages, but we know that Vitamin K is needed for the production of MGP (matrix GLA protein), which helps avoid calcification in the arteries. This same protein helps stop calcification in the veins as well since the calcium meant for the bones is ushered into the bones and does not accumulate in veins and arteries.
The preliminary study published in the Journal of Vascular Research found that Vitamin K2 was necessary in reversing the chemical change and avoiding or getting rid of varicose veins.
More research is needed, but since Vitamin K has so many other benefits, it might be worth trying for those who struggle with varicose veins.
5. To Reduce Cancer Risks
There are several well-documented studies that show a correlation between higher Vitamin K consumption and lower risk of certain cancers:
- A European cohort study showed that K2 may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 35%
- A follow up study showed a 63% reduced risk of prostate cancer in those with the highest Vitamin K intake vs. the lowest
- A 2003 study showed a benefit of K2 in slowing the growth of lung cancer and leukemia cells.
- It is also shown to reduce the risk of and halt the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma, a dangerous type of liver cancer.
- It impairs the ability of cancer cells to stimulate tumor growth
- Stop the proliferation of cancer cells
6. For Brain Health
Some fascinating new research showed that the same process that makes Vitamin K helpful for preventing calcification of the arteries and muscle tissue might also make it beneficial for protecting the brain against Alzheimers and other diseases.
In short, the theory is that Vitamin K helps prevent excess calcium in the body (including the brain), and this excess disregulated calcium in the brain accounts for some of the damage from Alzheimers.
Another study looked at the dietary intake of Vitamin K in patients with early Alzheimers and found that those diagnosed with Alzheimers had considerably less Vitamin K than those in the control group.
We now know that Vitamin K affects 16 Gla-proteins in the body. This is one of the reasons that studies have consistently shown an inverse relationship between Vitamin K levels and mortality from all causes. In other words, the better your Vitamin K levels, the less likely you are to die from all causes.
In fact, the most recent study showed that those with the highest intake were 36% less likely to die from all causes than those with the lowest.
8. Synthesis of Other Nutrients
I already mentioned how Vitamin K is needed for proper calcium synthesis (along with magnesium) but it is also needed in balance with Vitamin D3.
K2 and D3 work synergistically for many aspects of health. In fact, Calcium, Magnesium, K2 and D3 all work in balance. Taking too much D3 can cause a Magnesium deficiency without supplemental magnesium. Taking too much calcium can cause a magnesium deficiency or lead to over-calcification.
Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, but K2 helps it actually end up in your bones and Magnesium helps make sure it gets there efficiently.
9. Skin Health & Anti-Aging
K2 is also promising for skin health and anti-aging. Just as it prevents the calcification of arteries, veins and soft tissue, it helps stop excess calcium in the elastin in the skin.
For this reason, K2 may help keep skin elastic and prevent wrinkles.
2011 research showed that women with extensive wrinkles were also more likely to have low bones mass. Other research has shown that Japanese women were less likely to have wrinkles than other cultures, and noted the natto (fermented soy high in K2) in the diet of Japanese women.
No side effects are known
None are recorded.
Source: WellnessMama, http://wellnessmama.com/54423/vitamin-k2-uses-and-benefits/