Want Bone and Heart Health?

by Steven Carney on July 5, 2012

You might not realize it, but there is a significant relationship between bone and heart health. And that connection exists through a vitamin called vitamin K2, a version of vitamin K you probably never heard of!

If you know about vitamin K (or K1) you might know that it’s involved in blood clotting and is found in green vegetables (kale, cabbage and spinach, etc.). Vitamin K2 is a related form of K, one which is more biologically active than regular vitamin K. It’s vitamin K2 that is so critical for bone and heart health!

How does vitamin K2 work?

Vitamin K2 is behind something called “the calcium paradox.” Studies have found that people with osteoporosis and loss of calcium in bones often have more calcium deposits in their arteries and soft tissue! Here’s how the process occurs:

Vitamin K2, especially the form derived from natto (also called MK 7, or menaquinone) helps activate a protein called osteocalcin. That protein helps calcium to bind to bones, keeping them healthy and strong (along with other minerals like magnesium and vitamin D).

Vitamin K2 also helps keep calcium out of arteries and soft tissues, continuing to send calcium to bones and teeth. This can help keep arteries more open and soft tissues more healthy and functional. So the same vitamin does 2 critical things for your overall health that seem to be different but are nutritionally connected. If you have a deficiency in K2 (many people do), you get weaker bones and more calcified plaque in your arteries!

What are the benefits of K2?

Vitamin K2 contributes to the following:

  • Helps calcium to bind to bones
  • Keeps calcium out of arteries and organs
  • Helps keep skin more healthy/less wrinkles
  • Helps the pancreas to function better
  • Helps anti-oxidant activity
  • May lower risk for various cancers

How much do I need?

Vitamin K2 used to be more plentiful in meat and milk that came from grass-fed animals, but now, most animals in the U.S. are fed grains not grass (grains fatten animals faster and cheaper, like they do people!). Some animals in Europe and elsewhere still graze on grass in open pastureland. They produce meat and milk higher in vitamin K2.

Like vitamin D, vitamin K2 is hard to get through dietary sources but some cheeses like Swiss have it (look for cheese with holes). It’s also available in some fermented foods, eggs and organ meats but unless you have adequate amounts of these foods, you’re probably deficient in vitamin K2!

The highest source of K2 is called nattokinase (natto for short) and is popular in Japan. It’s made from fermented soy beans but most Westerners have never had it, due to it’s stringy texture and cheesy smell.

While it’s hard to get enough daily intake from diet, a healthy amount as a supplement for most adults is about 45-90 mcg (micrograms, with men to 90 mcg). There are some cautions for pregnant women and for those taking blood thinners, although the lower dosage may be safe in that situation as well.

If you’re curious, I’ve been taking vitamin K2 for many years. If you have bone, cardiovascular or other health concerns, we can work out a custom lifestyle plan to fit your needs!

As always, if you have questions or comments, you can add them to this post or drop me a line (see social icons in right sidebar). I’m happy to answer your questions!

Helpful links:

http://www.ihealthdirectory.com/vitamin-k2/

http://www.endsicknessnow.com/vitamin-d-critical-for-bone-and-immune-health

http://www.naturalnews.com/031013_vitamin_K2_health.html

I added this new study on 11/10/12 because it shows more support for this post:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23124653

http://www.dougcookrd.com/2012/04/vitamin-k2-benefits-the-new-anti-aging-nutrient/

http://menaq7.com/index.php?page=vascular-animation

http://menaq7.com/index.php?page=references 

I added this new study on 2/16/13 for vitamin K2 dosages:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22289649

A new study in March, 2013 that supports bone benefits of vitamin K2:

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Vitamin-K2-shows-extremely-important-improvements-in-clinical-outcomes-for-bone-health

A new study supports vitamin K2 for people taking hypertension drugs or who have atherosclerosis:

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Vitamin-K-may-affect-arterial-calcification-for-hypertensives-Multi-ethnic-study

On 6/26/13, this study showed good benefits for women taking calcium, vitamin D and HRT:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626113516.htm

On 7/6/13 I was writing a summary of vitamins and found this site with some good info about K1 and K2:

http://nutritionmanufacturer.com/vitamink2.html

In September, 2013, I found this study on vitamin K2:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24089220 

© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now

{ 30 comments }

wendy Buckingham July 9, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Nice Site and lots of great information. Have you done anything on IBS yet. Be very interested.

Steve July 10, 2012 at 7:39 AM

Hey Wendy! Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll see fi I can work in some info about IBS in the next few weeks.

Fluffy July 18, 2012 at 12:21 AM

All along I thought, if I eat kale, spinach and other green, leafy vegetables, I would also get vitamin < "products.mercola.com/vitamin-k/" rel="nofollow">K2. So I was wrong. It has to be natto and other fermented foods. Hmm. Thanks for the great info, Steve! Really helped a lot. 🙂

Steve July 18, 2012 at 7:07 AM

Thanks for the nicce comments! If you are concerned about bone health, I have another post on that called “Vitamin D Critical for Bone and Immune HEalth” (here si a link): http://www.endsicknessnow.com/vitamin-d-critical-for-bone-and-immune-health.
I’m aware fo Dr. Mercola and will chech your link soon! Feel free to ask other questions!

dena January 12, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Hi there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Steve January 13, 2013 at 8:00 AM

You could always start with wordpress.com to learn some basics of WP. You can have a free blog through them and it’s pretty easy to use. I’m studying WP now (the .org versions) so I know more of the details and options of how to get the most out of the program.

fazzino March 7, 2013 at 8:58 AM

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Spierling March 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Top post. I look forward to reading more.

Cheers

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I am thinking about going to nutrition school and I sure like your info!

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Thanks on your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it. Have a nice afternoon!

Steve Carney March 22, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Thanks for visiting!

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lizette April 11, 2013 at 8:18 AM

I visit a few blogs and information sites daily, however this website offers some very informative posts. Do you think vitamin D helps with cancer?

Steve Carney April 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Vitamin D is a hormonal regulator, especilaly for the immune system.

Fighting most cancers is part of our immune system and most adults fight it every day! So yes, vitamin D is importing for helping many tissues, including the immune system and to fight cancer mutations!

ricky April 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good asset. I’d love to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Kudos!

Steve Carney April 13, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Thanks but I write in advance (I already have the next 2 posts in progress) and I always include lots of research links through sources I trust.

Most of my posts are 1,500-3,000 words so I can cover important details. I’ve been into nutrition, health and disease prevention for 20 years.

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Steven Carney July 12, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Yes, my twitter follow button is the second in the line of social media links in the upper right. I tweeted about the bogus fish oil study today!

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