Vitamin K2 – Have you heard about it? If not, you’re not alone. Most doctors and people have not. But you’re about to. Why? Because it’s IMPORTANT.
When I say Vitamin K, it mostly brings up images of dark green leafy veg / warfarin / bleeding & clotting. This is very true for Vitamin K1. But we are taking Vitamin K2, one of the most important vitamins that most people haven’t heard of.
WHAT DOES VITAMIN K2 DO?
- K2 is required to activate proteins involved in depositing calcium in the bones and teeth where it is needed, hence helping with osteoporosis and osteopenia.
- Importantly it keeps calcium OUT OF the soft tissues where you don’t want it. Why? Because calcification of soft tissues, such as the lining of ones arteries, can increase the risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack.
- Hence, if you are taking calcium supplementation you want to make sure you have adequate vitamin K2 intake so it is getting deposited into the bones where you want it and not into the linings of your arteries. I have seen some clued on supplement companies now adding K2 into all their “bone health” products.
*** There are now studies linking the use of calcium supplementation (not dietary intake of calcium) with an increased risk of heart attack. Scary I know, considering most women over the age of 55 years are recommended to take calcium. This is the link to one such study published in the British Medical Journey that concludes a reassessment of the role of calcium supplementation in osteoporosis management. ***** Note, I am not telling you to stop you calcium sups, simply giving you the updated news.
- K2 reduces the risk of prostrate cancer by 35 per cent. And word has it may be protective against cancer in general
- It works with Vit A and Vit D in a kind of synergistic relationship
- K2 also supports enzymes in the brain which protect against Alzheimers
- May help prevent kidney stones
- Promotes a healthy bone structure in developing babies
WHERE DO I GET ME SOME VITAMIN K2 YOU ASK?
Well that’s the reason for this blog!!! It’s actually rather hard to find K2 in the diet unless you actively are on to it.
There are TWO main forms found in the diet MK4 & MK7. MK4 is mostly found in the fat from animal products and MK7 is primarily found in fermented foods.
The human body is rather inefficient at converting K1 to K2 however our ruminant friends and our little microorganism friends make this conversion for us more efficiently. Thank you friends!
So a cow that is eating rapidly growing, green grasses consumes the K1 and converts it into K2 and then we eat the fat via it’s dairy fat or it’s meat fat. The same is true for the fermentation process. The little friendly bugs make this all important vitamin and then we eat the yummy fermented food. Job all done.
Note this doesn’t work if said cow is fed grains and not allowed to munch and chew on fresh, green, grass. Hence, why always sourcing quality grass fed and finished meat and dairy is so important from a nutrient, health and environmental perspective! Find and support your local farmers, they are usually the nicest “fellas”. We had a great chat last week with John our local butcher who is also a true blue cattle farmer and knows a thing or too about quality meats. Guys like John, are a rare breed and they are only going to become rarer and quality meat in Australia is going to be harder and harder to find due to Chinese investors.
But back to the K2….
Best food sources of K2 include:
- Cheeses in particular Brie and Gouda (my fav)
- Poultry liver, in particular goose liver
- Pastured egg yolks (pastured eggs have three times higher K2 than conventional eggs). Find a friend with some chooks!!!
- Natto which is a fermented soy product from Japan. Have you tried? It is by far the highest source of K2. Apparently it has a very strong taste, I have never tried it and to be honest haven’t really seen it around much in Aus and not sure that it would be the traditional fermented style
- Other fermented foods like sauerkraut, dairy kefir
There you have it, an official excuse to eat some quality cheese. Care to join me for a slice of delicious Gouda ?