Is vitamin K the new D?
July 24, 2012
Word on the street is that vitamin K is the new D.
It started with a cluster of research done on vitamin K in the early 2000s. A 2003 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found low dietary intake of vitamin K was associated with low bone mineral density in women, which validated other studies between low vitamin K and a higher risk of hip fracture. A year later, the same journal published a study showing girls with a better vitamin K status had better bone turnover. But bone health wasn’t the only thing researchers noticed. Over the next few years, studies on vitamin K would show associations between high vitamin K status and reduced risk of prostate, lung, and liver cancers, and protection against coronary heart disease.
Two forms of vitamin K exist: vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is found in leafy green vegetables. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is synthesized by bacteria and is found in fermented soybeans and certain cheeses. Vitamin K is well known for its role in the synthesis of a number of blood coagulation factors. Vitamin K2 and its dependent proteins have been discovered to be of vital importance for bone and vascular health. These Vitamin K2-dependent proteins are now known to play pivotal roles in the physiology of bone mineralization, as well as in the maintenance of vascular elasticity. Much of the research done has looked at vitamin K2. Both forms are essential for the proteins involved in blood clotting and are necessary for proteins that are needed to form bone. Although vitamin K is fat-soluble, the body does not store much and it can be depleted without regular dietary intake. However, it may be difficult to get in the daily diet. .
Natural vitamin K2 in the form of natural MK-7 builds bone strength, helps prevent osteoporosis, and protects the heart. Noted vitamin K expert Dr. Cees Vermeer led the European study which found that natural vitamin K2 as MK-7 (MenaQ 7 ®) significantly increases the strength of both the spine and the hip in postmenopausal women. The study also verified earlier findings about the cardiovascular benefits of this nutrient. Specifically, the use of MK-7 results in improvements in vascular elasticity and a decrease in age-related stiffening of the arteries. The dose used in this trial was 180 mcg of natural vitamin K2 as MK-7, The trial lasted for 3 years, with relevant improvement in the hip neck area being apparent after 2-3 years. This is surely welcome news for all of us who are looking to strengthen our bones and protect our hearts naturally.