The most important vitamin of our time
At first glance, arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis have little in common. Both occur more often with increasing age. Both osteoporosis and hardening of the arteries do not develop overnight, but they develop step by step over the decades. As long as there is no heart attack or broken bone, you hardly feel either. The similarities seem to end here.
It was only when scientists carefully researched the effects of vitamin K2 that they came to the astonishing conclusion that vitamin K2 simultaneously ensures strong bones and clean arteries. Vitamin K2 thus becomes the decisive factor in the prevention of these two diseases of civilization.
What is vitamin K2?
Vitamin K is actually a whole group of fat-soluble vitamins, which are vital for functioning blood clotting - and as it turns out - also for strong bones and healthy arteries.
Vitamin K1 mainly plays a role in blood clotting. This accounts for about 90% of the vitamin K intake in the typical western diet.
Vitamin K2 accounts for about 10% of western vitamin K intake and is also partly produced by the intestinal flora. It activates GLA proteins (gamma-carboxy glutamic acid), which are important for the control of calcium. This function has a significant impact on the health of the bones and arteries. The GLA proteins help bind calcium in the bones and reduce calcium deposits in the arteries.
Menaquinone (MK-n, where the n indicates the number of prenyl side chains) is also ingested through food. MK-4 is found in meat, MK7, MK-8, and MK-9 in fermented foods such as cheese and natto, which is a rich source of vitamin K2 as MK7.
- supports the building and strengthening of bones and teeth
- prevents and reduces calcium from being deposited in the arteries
- is a natural activator for calcium-transporting proteins (Gla proteins)
- ensures healthy blood clotting
Vitamin K2 effect
The effect of vitamin K2 is one of a kind among all of the vitamins. Vitamin K2 activates the GLA proteins (gamma-carboxyl glutamic acid), which are important for blood clotting and the control of calcium.
Fifteen of these types of protein have been found to date. Scientists suspect over a hundred species that are found throughout the body. Vitamin K2 - and only vitamin K2 - activates the GLA proteins.
Vitamin K2 does the trick of causing a so-called “carboxylation” of GLA proteins. The GLA proteins (seen figuratively) form claws with which they can attack the calcium. As soon as the GLA proteins have clung to the calcium, they can also move it. Proteins that do not get enough vitamin K2 cannot develop these claws. They are under-carboxylated and cannot control the mineral. Without activated GLA proteins, calcium migrates from the bones to the arteries and other soft tissue in an uncontrolled manner.
GLA proteins activate coagulation factors in the liver, osteocalcin in the bones and matrix Gla protein (MGP) in the bloodstream. GLA proteins support blood coagulation, ensure that calcium is deposited in the bones and prevent and reduce limescale deposits in the arteries.
If there is a vitamin K2 deficiency, calcium cannot be stored in the bones, which leads to osteoporosis. Vitamin K2 also increases the total mineral content in the bone tissue. Because only a high mineral content ensures solid bones. If vitamin K2 is missing in the body, the calcium metabolism does not work, the mineral density decreases and the bones become porous.
At the same time, calcium deficiency occurs in the arterial walls of K2 deficiency, which can negatively affect the health of the coronary arteries, the kidneys, and the brain.
For whom is vitamin K2 particularly important?
- for people who have a blood clotting disorder
- for older people with bone disorders
- for people with diseases of the blood vessels (arteriosclerosis)
- for children, to build and strengthen the bones
- for people with sensitive teeth and tooth necks
Vitamin K2 deficiency symptoms
A lack of vitamin K2 usually only becomes noticeable late. This is because this vitamin is involved in processes in the body that take a long time. The first symptoms of a vitamin K2 deficiency are
- bruises caused by light pressure on the skin.
- blood clotting disorders that manifest themselves in long or violent bleeding wounds
- calcification of the arteries
Since the body does not produce a sufficient amount of vitamin K2, we are dependent on food intake. Vitamin K2 intake can also be increased by taking dietary supplements.
Especially older people have an increased need. The additional intake of vitamin K2 is also recommended for vegans and vegetarians since vitamin K2 is mainly found in animal products.
Vitamin K2 in food
Vitamin K can be formed in the healthy intestine. However, the quantities are very small, which is why we are largely dependent on food intake. However, there are clear indications that the western population does not get enough vitamin K from their diet.
- Vitamin K1
Vitamin K1 can be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, and broccoli. However, very little vitamin K1 is absorbed by the body. But only about 5%-10% of the total amount gets into the bloodstream.
In addition, the liver already processes a large part of the K1 for blood clotting, which means that less fewer remains for all other tissues. This explains why vitamin K1 has little or no effect on heart and bone health.
Vitamin K1 is also very important, but due to its lower bioactivity, it does not have as significant an effect on the health of bones, arteries, and heart as Vitamin K2.
- Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is mainly found in animal foods such as meat, offal, egg yolk, curd cheese and certain cheeses that have undergone a bacterial ripening process. However, vitamin K2 is heat-resistant, so the food can also be easily boiled or fried before consumption without losing part of the vitamin.
But these foods also contain very little K2 and would have to be consumed in large quantities in order to absorb sufficient vitamin K2.
The best source of natural vitamin K2 is the traditional Japanese natto dish made from fermented soybeans. Natto has an exceptionally high concentration of natural K2 in the form of the long-chain menaquinone-7 (M7). Natto has been eaten with rice in Japan for generations. Unfortunately, the intense smell and taste of Natto takes some time to get used to and make it less attractive for the western world.
Natural vitamin K2 is the most effective form of vitamin K. The bioavailability and duration of action of natural vitamin K2 MK7 are far superior to the other vitamin K forms.
Vitamin K2 is optimally absorbed by the body, which means that an extraordinary amount of vitamin K2 reaches the bloodstream and is available for the body.
Vitamin K2 dosage and daily requirement
According to current knowledge, the daily requirement of 10 to 70µg (depending on the age) recommended by official bodies in the EU is too low. These recommendations only apply to the activation of blood coagulation factors.
Only at a dosage of 100 to 200µg per day are all vitamin K2-dependent Gla proteins activated in the body in adults. We recommend a dose of 200µg daily to benefit from the full K2 effect.
This recommendation also applies to the simultaneous intake of vitamin D, regardless of how high vitamin D is dosed. Here you will find more information on how to combine vitamin D and vitamin K2 correctly.
Vitamin K2 overdose
It is impossible to ingest too much vitamin K2 with food. Even with food supplements, it is not possible to cause an overdose due to vitamin K2 metabolism.
Healthy people can take vitamin K2 as a dietary supplement even in higher doses without having to worry about an overdose. In a Dutch study, the test subjects received up to 360µg vitamin K2 MK7. Even the highest dose had no effect on blood clotting and showed no side effects.
Only people taking an anticoagulant should ask their doctor before taking vitamin K2, as vitamin K can negate their effects.
Even with a very high dosage, vitamin K2 has no negative effects on vitamin D metabolism. Under no circumstances does this lead to an imbalance between D3 and K2. On the contrary - vitamin D3 absolutely needs vitamin K2 to fulfill its functions in the body.
Vitamin K2 side effects
Vitamin K2 is a natural vitamin, free from side effects. Vitamin K2 does not cause excessive blood clotting or blood thickening, because the proteins responsible for blood clotting have a limited absorption capacity for vitamin K. Once saturation is reached, vitamin K2 can no longer influence blood clotting, even if there is an excess of vitamin K.
Prof. Dr. Cees Vermeer from the University of Maastricht compares this to taking vitamin C, which is required for the development of collagen. If you consume too much vitamin C, there is still no excess collagen. An additional intake of vitamin K2 or vitamin K1 does not lead to increased blood clotting. These processes take care of themselves.
Newest studies show that taking 45mcg of vitamin K2 daily does not interfere with the effects of blood-thinning medication and does not pose a risk of blood clots. However, you should consult your doctor if you are taking blood thinners and want to use natural vitamin K2.
This is how vitamin K2 protects the arteries
For more than half a century, it was believed that vitamin K was only necessary for normal blood clotting. However, it has been the subject of much research in recent years.
The matrix GLA protein (MGP) was discovered, which is responsible for the regulation of calcium in the vascular tissue. The activation of this protein depends on vitamin K2. If there is a deficiency, MGP cannot be activated, which inevitably leads to calcification of the arteries, that is, calcium deposits in the form of arteriosclerotic plaque.
This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and creates a situation commonly known as "hardening of the arteries". In fact, healthy arterial tissue contains 100 times more K2 than calcified arteries.
This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and creates a situation commonly known as "hardening of the arteries". In fact, healthy arterial tissue contains 100 times more K2 than calcified arteries.
Can Vitamin K2 Even Reverse Atherosclerosis?
In a recent animal-based study at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Maastricht (Netherlands), it was demonstrated that vitamin K2 can not only prevent calcification, but it can reverse it.
In the study, warfarin was administered to the anticoagulant lab rats to cause calcification of the arteries. Afterwards, some of the rats received food rich in vitamin K2. Compared to the control group with normal feed, this led to a massive reduction in the calcium content in the arteries of 50 percent.
The study leader, Professor Leon Schurgers, commented on the results as follows: “These latest findings on the role of vitamin K2 uptake are extremely interesting for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart diseases. Our study is particularly important because it has been shown that the additional intake of vitamin K2 can reverse the hardening of the arteries.”
Studies prove the effect
The normal deposition of calcium takes place in two organs: bones and teeth. The abnormal deposition of calcium takes place in three places: on the inner layer of the arteries (intima), where arteriosclerotic plaque collects, on the muscle layer of the arteries ("medial calcification") and on the heart valves. Vitamin K2 appears to be the form of vitamin K that contributes to coping with all the phenomena mentioned.
Calcium has so far been viewed as a passive marker and in no way as an active element in heart disease. One theory said that calcium was only a residue of a previous "tear", a scar from a dangerous, inflammatory activity of the soft plaque.
According to this theory, calcium should even indicate increased plaque stability, since the “hard” material itself is not at risk of cracking. Accordingly, calcium would not play an active role in the formation of arteriosclerotic plaque. This argument has now been refuted by new observations.
- Rotterdam study: A clear connection between the vitamin K2 level and heart disease in the context of a large-scale, well-controlled clinical study was first described in the Rotterdam study in 2004. In this Dutch study over a period of 10 years, 4807 women and men aged 55 or older took part.
It was demonstrated that those who ate vitamin K2-rich food over this period had significantly fewer calcium deposits in their arteries. At the same time, these people had a 57% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. This reduction was only seen in people who consumed more than 32 mcg of vitamin K2 per day - and not in those who consumed a lot of vitamin K1.
- An evaluation of 7 double-blind studies supplementing adults with vitamin K2 showed that it reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 60%, hip fractures by 77% and the risk of all non-vertebral fractures by an astonishing 81% Vitamin K2 has also shown that it can slow down bone loss.
- An increased intake of vitamin K2 could also be associated with lower calcium deposits in the aorta (an indirect measure of arteriosclerosis).
Physicians and scientists are now focusing on monitoring and suppressing calcium build-up in the heart, knowing that calcium contains a significant amount of arteriosclerotic plaque.
The accumulation of calcium seems to indicate active growth of arteriosclerotic plaque - and vitamin K2 deficiency seems to be the basis for this pathogenic process.
Vitamin K2: Study shows positive effects on the heart and arteries
Long-term intake of vitamin K2 can inhibit the development and progression of age-related arteriosclerosis. This was shown in a study that was carried out with post-menopausal women.
Furthermore, a daily intake of 180 mcg of vitamin K2 over a period of 3 years was associated with a statistically significant improvement in vascular elasticity. This study was published in the journal Thrombosis and Haemostasis
"Women who took vitamin K2 as a dietary supplement, showed that the progression of arteriosclerosis typical for this age group could not be determined and a statistically significant improvement in vascular elasticity was even observed compared to the placebo group," said Dr. Cees Vermeer, head of the study and renowned vitamin K2 researcher at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. "Our data show that the additional intake of vitamin K2 actually has a positive effect on the heart and blood vessels."
Details of the study: Vitamin K2 supplements improve arterial function in healthy women
The study entitled "Menaquinone-7 Supplementation Improves Arterial Stiffness in Healthy Postmenopausal Women" is of great importance.
"This is the first study to show that taking vitamin K2 as MK7 over a longer period of time has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system," said Vermeer. "Previous population-based studies have shown a relationship between taking vitamin K2 and the risk of cardiovascular disease, but this is the first interventional study to focus on taking vitamin K2 with a cardiovascular endpoint."
Dr. Vermeer and his team recruited 244 healthy postmenopausal women aged 55-65 years and randomly prescribed either a daily dose of vitamin K2 (daily 180 mcg of natural vitamin K2) as a nutritional supplement or a placebo for a period of three years.
The effects on the cardiovascular system were measured using pulse wave speed and ultrasound.
Data from the 227 women who completed the study showed that taking vitamin K2 MK7 resulted in a significant decrease in both pulse wave speed and arteriosclerosis.
A positive effect was also found with regard to the elasticity of the carotid artery in those women who showed increased stiffness at the beginning of the study.
The results thus confirmed that vitamin K2 not only inhibited age-related arteriosclerosis, but it also caused a statistically significant improvement in vascular elasticity.
The researchers also examined the levels of dephosphorylated, non-carboxylated matrix Gla protein (dp-ucMGP), a marker for vitamin K status, and identified a risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Taking vitamin K2 MK7 for three years resulted in a 50% decrease in dp-ucMGP compared to the placebo. This effect was observed in the first year of the study and persisted in the following two years. In addition, no inflammatory parameters or markers for endothelial dysfunction were found.
This is how vitamin K2 protects the bones
The best known GLA protein is called osteocalcin. You may have heard of it in connection with bone density. Osteocalcin needs vitamin K2 to store calcium in the bones. Under-carboxylated osteocalcin (osteocalcin without vitamin K2) cannot regulate calcium, which reduces the calcium content in the teeth and bones and makes them porous.
At the same time, calcium is deposited in the arteries. Studies have shown that vitamin K2 can reverse this process.
Vitamin K2 and osteoporosis
Bones are not dead tissue, but they are constantly being built up and broken down. They consist of a hard shell and are filled on the inside with a fabric matrix.
If sufficient amounts of vitamin D, calcium and other minerals and vitamin K are added, the skeleton is replaced by stable, dense bones every 7 to 10 years.
This process is regulated by the osteoblasts (building cells) and osteoclasts (building cells). As long as the bone-forming activity of the osteoblasts is higher than the activity of the osteoclasts, the maintenance of healthy bones is ensured.
Osteoblasts produce osteocalcin, a vitamin K2-dependent protein with which calcium is bound in the bone matrix and the mineral content can thus be increased. Its job is to make the skeleton more stable and resistant to fractures.
In order to work optimally, Osteocalcin needs vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 deficiency leads to significantly lower bone density and bone quality in the long term. The degrading cells (osteoclasts) break down more bone tissue than the building cells (osteoblasts) can form and slowly but surely cause increased bone loss.
The bones become thin and fragile and the risk of fracture increases. Because even if the bone structure looks normal from the outside, it can be fragile inside.
Naturally, there is an increased activity of the osteoclasts from the age of 35, causing the bones to lose about 1 to 1.5% of substance per year. If this breakdown is faster than normal, this is called osteoporosis.
This is especially the case if the absorption of the required nutrients does not work properly. Especially in women after the menopause, osteoporosis is common. Because then the female hormone estrogen, which helps with the storage of calcium in the bones, quickly decreases.
As early as 1984, scientists observed that patients with osteoporosis-related fractures had 70% less vitamin K2 in serum than a comparison group of the same age. These findings were confirmed in later studies, in which a reduced bone density could be associated with a low vitamin K2 level.
Particularly worrying results were a statistic indicating that women with the lowest level of vitamin K2 in serum have a 65% higher risk of hip fracture compared to those who have the highest level of vitamin K.
In Germany, people affected by osteoporosis are estimated to be around 8-10 million, in Austria around 700,000. A third of all women after the change are affected, and 2/3 for women over 80 years of age. Men can also develop osteoporosis, but it is three times more common in women.
Already today, more hospital bed days are needed for the treatment of fractures of the femur than for combined heart attacks and strokes. This makes osteoporosis one of the most expensive diseases for healthcare.
Almost two million women and almost one million men have already suffered spinal fractures, and according to new surveys, 150,000 new femoral neck fractures occur in Germany every year - and the trend is rising (Figures: Prof. Helmut Minne, 2002).
Bones need vitamin K2
For decades, calcium and vitamin D3 have been the first choice of dietary supplements to strengthen the bones. The largest proportion of calcium (99%) is in the skeleton, a small proportion in the teeth and only 1% in the bloodstream. We need calcium for regular bone renewal.
Vitamin D3 has long been considered a bone vitamin because it is needed for the formation of osteocalcin. However, several studies have shown that the sole intake of these two vital substances is not sufficient for a healthy bone structure.
Studies have shown that vitamin K2 is just as important for building strong bones as calcium and vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 causes the formation of osteocalcin. But only vitamin K2 can activate osteocalcin, the protein that calcium stores in the bones.
If there is a lack of vitamin K2, there is a decrease in bone density and osteoporosis even if calcium and vitamin D3 are adequately supplied.
Studies on osteoporosis have also shown that vitamin K2 improves bone structure, bone density, and strength, stimulates mineralization (calcium deposition) and promotes collagen formation - this is a lattice-like, fibrous tissue that results in hard and at the same time flexible bone structures, which means that these are more resistant to fractures.
The next question that arises: What happens to calcium when it is not used to form bone mass?
If there is an insufficient supply of vitamin K2, the body deposits the calcium that is actually used to strengthen bones in the arterial walls, which in turn contributes to the development of atherosclerosis.
In fact, the body reacts to a vitamin K2 deficiency with an enormous deposit of calcium on the artery walls. This also explains why so many older people suffer from hardened, calcified arteries and still have brittle and calcium-poor bones.
Studies prove the effect
In 2003, the Osteo study demonstrated that vitamin K2 can prevent bone loss.
- In a three-year study, two patient groups were monitored: the control group received no supplements and the second received synthetic MK-4 therapy.
- The results clearly showed that vitamin K2 intake was associated with a reduced loss of bone stability during the study period.
A pioneering study to demonstrate the correlation between consumption of natto and osteoporosis was previously published by scientists led by Masao Kaneki.
- The research showed that a higher MK7 level can help improve bone health as a result of consuming natto.
- The increased intake of vitamin K2 MK7 in the form of natto led to a higher level of activated osteocalcin and a lower risk of fractures.
These results were confirmed in a study conducted by Ikeda in 2006.
- Ikeda realized that consuming natto - which contains large amounts of menaquinone-7 - can prevent the development of osteoporosis.
- In the three-year study with 944 female participants (between 20 and 79 years of age), the relationship between the intake of vitamin K2 MK7 and a reduced reduction in bone density was demonstrated.
A recent study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology by Yaegashi et al. (2008) showed that better vitamin K status leads to a lower risk of hip fracture.
- In the study, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D were found to be moderately important for bone health, while natural vitamin K2 from natto was identified as the main factor: between taking vitamin K2 and a lower risk of hip fracture, there was a narrower gap Proof of connection. This indicates the important role of MK7 in preventing osteoporosis.
A systematic review of all randomized, controlled trials in which adults were given vitamin K1 or vitamin K2 supplements for at least six months resulted in the following:
- There are a total of 13 studies with data on bone loss and 7 studies in which fractures were recorded. In addition to a single study, all of the above-mentioned studies in humans have shown that the additional intake of vitamin K1 or K2 slows down the loss of bone density. There is a special connection between vitamin K2 and increased bone density.
- Vitamin K2 was found to be the most effective in all 7 studies of fracture risk. It reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 60%, hip fractures by 77% and the risk for all non-vertebral fractures by an astonishing 81%.
A positive effect on the heart and bones
Already published, a study in the journal Osteoporosis International in 2013 that showed a positive effect of vitamin K2 MK7 on the bones. Both studies are of great importance because they are long-term studies - participation over three years with the subsequent examination of the results. Because observing changes in the health of the heart and bones takes time.
The patience and perseverance paid off with this study, as it was accepted by highly respected medical journals. The study proves what vitamin K2 scientists have known for a long time: that vitamin K2 actually has a positive effect on the heart and bones.
"Vitamin K2 ensures that calcium binds to the bone mineral matrix and is kept away from vessels," explains Dr. med. Dennis Goodman, cardiologist and head of integrative medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. This is important because if calcium is deposited in the arteries, it can cause arteriosclerosis and blockages, which can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
According to Dr. Goodman, who is working on the completion of a new book on the important role of vitamin K2 in bone and heart health, it has a direct relationship between the flexibility of the vessels and the longevity of a person. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Rosenhek, et al., 2000), arteriosclerosis increases a person's biological age by up to 10 years.
Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis (Shaw et al., No. 188, 206) shows that the biological age of a person can be 10 years higher or lower depending on the progress of age-related arteriosclerosis.
This study of Vitamin K2, which clearly shows an improvement in arterial function, has the potential to dramatically change the way we deal with heart health prevention.
Prevention is better than healing
Early diagnosis of osteoporosis is not easy because it develops gradually. The measurement of bone density does not give sufficient clarity about this.
Usually, it only becomes noticeable through stinging and pulling bone and back pain, through a changed posture or through a spontaneous fracture of the bone, vertebral fracture or fracture of the femur.
Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry focuses on drugs that should be taken at an advanced age - when the risk of breaking bones is already high. But these can hardly stop a process that has developed over decades, they can only delay it.
A different approach is taken with food supplements. On the one hand, they don't cost as much and have no side effects like prescription drugs.
If you want to do something about osteoporosis, you should start at the age of 40 and continue this supply of vital substances for 20, 30 or even more years, in order to achieve a presumably greater effect than with drug therapy from the age of 60, with which a process is possible has developed over decades, can hardly be stopped.
Ideally, a dietary supplement should be chosen to prevent osteoporosis, which in addition to vitamin K2, calcium and vitamin D3 also contains other vital substances that are important for bone formation, e.g. Magnesium, copper, selenium, zinc, manganese, boron, vitamin B and vitamin C. Here you will find a complete formula for the prevention of osteoporosis.
In addition to an effective nutritional supplement program, to prevent osteoporosis it is recommended to avoid excessive consumption of coffee and carbonated drinks, which contain a lot of phosphorus and deplete the body of large amounts of calcium. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Studies have shown that bone density is maintained in those women who do light strength training three times a week or do other sports. You should also spend 30 minutes a day in sunlight, which stimulates the formation of vitamin D3 in the skin.
Vitamin K2 for children and adolescents
Bones grow and develop greater in childhood and during puberty. The bone mass reaches its peak at around 30 to 35 years. After that, the bone minerals slowly decrease again with the aging process.
Therefore, the higher the maximum values at a young age, the longer the bone mass can be preserved. The goal should be to bind calcium in the healthy bone matrix and to maximize the concentration of bone minerals in order to maintain the bone mass and bone hardness even in old age.
Without sufficient vitamin K2 and osteocalcin, calcium cannot be used properly to build healthy, strong bones.
Studies by the population and clinical studies have shown that an improved vitamin K status (this means a high content of vitamin K2 in the blood serum) in children is closely related to the development of strong and healthy bones.
In a study published in 2008 by van Summeren, it was shown that an improved vitamin K status over 2 years in children leads to stronger and denser bones.
Young bones are very active and their osteocalcin content is 8-10 times higher than that of adults. Therefore, their need for vitamin K is increased accordingly. Recent research has shown that the majority of children suffer from vitamin K deficiency.
The average intake of K vitamins has decreased significantly in recent years and the current intake does not seem to be sufficient for optimal development and maintenance of bone mass.
This deficiency results from the excessive consumption of processed foods, insufficient intake of vegetables and the overall insufficient intake of foods rich in vitamin K.
Leading experts therefore strongly recommend eating enough vitamin K foods or giving children a vitamin K2 supplement.
Vitamin K2 and the health of our children
Average childhood nutrition that is often poor in vital substances can, under certain circumstances, severely impair the development of bones and the health of the child's heart and circulation.
Inadequate nutrition often also shows a lack of vitamin K2. Clinical studies have shown that vitamin K2 protects against bone loss or promotes bone density and bone strength and at the same time protects against hardening of the arteries.
Bones develop most strongly during childhood
The child's diet is rich in calcium due to high milk consumption. But for the calcium to be integrated into the bones, sufficient vitamin K2 must be available.
In addition to vitamin D, vitamin K, and above all K2, is the decisive factor for storing calcium in the bones. In this way, a healthy bone matrix and an optimal mineral density of the bone can be built up.
After childhood, vitamin K2 is responsible for maintaining mineral density and preventing bone breakdown. If insufficient vitamin K is added, bone growth and bone density can suffer.
At the same time, vitamin K2 ensures that the calcium absorbed does not become deposited in the arteries. A pronounced vitamin K deficiency can lead to the arteries of the heart beginning to calcify in childhood.
An important vital substance for children and adolescents
Vitamin K2 has the unique task of activating certain proteins in the body. These include osteocalcin in the bones, matrix gla protein (MGP) in the arteries and coagulation factors in the liver.
Osteocalcin is responsible for the fact that calcium is bound in the bone matrix. Without a sufficient supply of vitamin K2, a significant part of the osteocalcin remains inactive and therefore unable to bind calcium.
At the same time, the Matrix Gla Proteins (MGP) prevent freely circulating calcium from attaching to and depositing on the arterial walls - provided that enough vitamin K2 is available in the body.
Without the right form of vitamin K2 - namely vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 - calcium cannot be processed properly in the body to build healthy, strong bones.
During childhood and adolescence, the bones are extremely active and the osteocalcin levels are 8-10 times that of adult bones. Children need higher amounts of vitamin K2. Unfortunately, many children are deficient in vitamin K2. A vitamin K2 supplement can easily compensate for this deficiency.
Studies show an increased need for vitamin K2
Population-based and clinical studies have confirmed a clear link between better vitamin K2 status in children and the development of strong and healthy bones.
A study published in 2008 showed that the improvement in vitamin K2 status in children over a period of 2 years resulted in stronger and denser bones.
A year later, the same research group showed that low-dose supplementation with vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 in healthy prepubertal children increased the carboxylation of osteocalcin (activation of inactive osteocalcin).
In a study published in 2013, researchers tested 896 blood samples from 110 healthy volunteers (42 children and 68 adults). The researchers checked biomarkers that reflected the vitamin K2 status of the volunteers. To do this, they measured both circulating inactive MGP and inactive osteocalcin - both proteins that are of crucial importance for the health of the heart and bones.
The researchers found that children and adults with the greatest vitamin K2 deficiency reacted most strongly to the additional intake of vitamin K2.
Children and adults over the age of 40 showed the greatest vitamin K2 deficiency. Accordingly, these groups of people could benefit the most from a vitamin K2 supplement as MK-7.
That is why more and more doctors and nutrition experts recommend giving children vitamin K2 as a dietary supplement. This ensures the supply of this important vitamin even in the growth phase.
Vitamin K2 reduces the risk of diabetes
A study conducted in the Netherlands shows that there is a link between taking vitamin K1 and K2 with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This was reported online on April 27, 2010, in the Diabetes Care magazine.
Researchers from the University Medical Center Utrecht analyzed data from 38,094 participants who were between 20 and 70 years old at the start of the study. Dietary issues were analyzed for phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2) intake.
- The vitamin K1 intake among the study participants averaged 200 mcg per day and the vitamin K2 intake averaged 31 mcg per day.
- Over a period of 10.3 years, 918 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.
- Closer analysis of the data showed that men and women who were among the 25% with the highest vitamin K1 intake had a 19% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to those with vitamin K1 intake in the bottom quarter was.
- With vitamin K2, a 7% reduction in risk was found for every 10 mcg increase in vitamin K2 intake.
- An increase in vitamin K2 intake has also been linked to improved blood lipids and a lower level of C-reactive protein, a sign of inflammation.
This study is the first to examine the relationship between type 2 diabetes and vitamin K intake. The report's authors argued that vitamin K could influence the risk of diabetes through calcium metabolism.
However, a change in calcium and vitamin D intake had no effect on the discoveries in current research. A decrease in inflammation due to an increased vitamin K intake, which was indicated by the results of in vitro and observational studies, could also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of diabetes.
"The results of this study show that both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 intake can be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes," the authors summarized. "With the vitamin K1 intake, this risk reduction occurred at a higher income level, while a linear relationship was observed with the vitamin K2 intake."
What experts say about vitamin K2:
Experts from the University of Maastricht emphasize the importance of taking vitamin K2. It is important to ensure that it is a natural vitamin K2. It can be completely absorbed and processed by the body. According to expert opinion, the body should be supplied with a dose of 45 mcg of vitamin K2 daily. Those who take vitamin D, however, need more. Natural vitamin K2 is also used in high-quality nutritional supplements.