I had a really great summer filled with multiple seminars and nutritional events. One might think of better ways of spending time in the warmest months of the year 😉 Let me assure you—I also had some nice holidays!
One of the events took place in London–it was a day full of inspiring talks!
The first presentations was given by the Chief Science Officer of Microbiome Laboratories, Kiran Krishnan, and was all about the importance of vitamin K.
K stands for “koagulation,” and this is what most people probably think of when their hear about this vitamin. This is only true for one of its presentations known as K1.
The less known form of this vitamin is K2–Menaquinone-7.
Natto is the only vegan source of vitamin K2, so unless you eat plenty of fermented soya beans, it would be wise to start supplementing.
Why vitamin K2 is so vital for our health?
Osteoporosis is a common problem in Western countries.
For quite a long time, it was regarded as a condition affecting elderly ladies – mostly the ones who had multiple pregnancies, were spending a lot of time indoors, and were not paying attention to diet and exercise.
Currently, it is estimated that 1 in 3 women over the age of 65 will suffer from osteoporotic fractures (commonly hip and wrists). Rates are also going up for men–with 1 in 5 affected.
So – how vitamin K2 can help here?
Osteocalcin must be activated to be able to perform its function. This is exactly when vitamin K2 comes into action!
What’s more interesting–osteocalcin has also been found in the brain.
New research from 2018 points out that this protein is crucial for brain development and cognitive function. There is hope that it will bring a new light into fighting dementia! Therefore plenty of vitamin K2 = activation of osteocalcin = healthy brain function!
Moreover, vitamin K2 might act as an antioxidant, and therefore may help mop out free radicals from the brain and other tissues.
I dispense a lot of prescriptions for calcium supplements for bone health. This is only good as long as we have other important nutrients to “send” the calcium to the right place (= bones!).
If we don’t have these little helpers, the situation may look less optimistic. Calcium will be deposited in the blood vessels (instead of the bones) and in the long-term, will cause calcification. Imagine bone-like growth inside your arteries, which should be elastic and resistant to withstand the pressure of the blood flow!
Vitamin K2 is one of these “little helpers.” It makes sure calcium from either diet or supplements goes directly into the bones and doesn’t stay in the blood vessels.
There is a great Harvard article about calcification of different tissues (if you feel a bit more curious!).
This affects the proper function of nerves, muscles and heart.
New research suggests that vitamin K2 might have an important role in regenerating the mitochondria, therefore ensuring that we produce enough energy for all the necessary cell processes and functions. It might also bring hope for its targeted use for the neurodegenerative conditions, e.g. type 2 diabetes.
I was excited to find out that it also plays a role in preventing muscle cramps and helps in exercise endurance. Vitamin K2 can increase something called maximum cardiac output. This is a way in which athletic performance is measured and is based on heart rate and VO2max–the maximum amount of oxygen that body can use during exercise.
Studies showed that supplementing with vitamin K2 for only 8 weeks increased both factors and helped to achieve better results in athletic performance.
This might be the future supplement for best sport performance and the secret of achieving athletes! 😉
Get a source of vitamin K2 every day! I always have a supplement which I take with my vitamin D3 spray for healthy bones (as osteoporosis runs in my family) and for cardiovascular health. My husband, on the other hand, takes it for improving his athletic performance (mostly resistance training).
Follow Japanese people and have natto at least few times a week or look at these supplements:
Before you start supplementing, don’t forget about one important factor! Vitamin K2 is fat soluble, so take it with a fat-containing meal for the best absorption!
Do you supplement vitamin K?
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This article was originally published on September 18, 2018.
Photo: Form on Unsplash