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Vitamin K2: The Forgotten Vitamin. Infographic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Photo sources – see foot of article
It is common knowledge that for us to be healthy we should observe good nutritional practices. However, when it comes to our knowledge about vitamins and their function in our body, there is one that is unknown or ignored by many: Vitamin K.
Vitamin K comes in two forms, K1 and K2. It is classified as a fat soluble vitamin. This means that vitamin K requires the presence of fat in our food for our body to absorb and store it properly. Just like the other nutrients, vitamin K helps ensure our body functions optimally. It is actually the nutrient necessary for blood clotting and bone formation.
Vitamin K1 or phylloquinone comes from plants. Specifically, it is found in green leafy vegetables like kale, lettuce, and spinach; while vitamin K2 comes mainly from animal products like organ meats, eggs, milk, and from fermented foods like natto. Between the two, K1 is more readily available from our diet while K2 requires some effort in meal planning or in some cases may necessitate supplementation.
K1 is the form of vitamin K that is responsible for blood coagulation. K2, on the other hand, is essential for bone health, prevention of heart disease, and control of inflammation.
Vitamin K2 strengthens our bones by facilitating the storage of calcium from our blood to our skeletal system. This provides us with the additional benefit of protection against arteriosclerosis; since excess calcium levels in our blood can cause arteries to harden and can cause blockage or even heart attacks. This makes vitamin K2 an ideal supplement for those who want to fend off both osteoporosis  and heart disease.  The evidence for this is sufficient that vitamin K2 has been approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. 
The benefits of vitamin K2 do not stop there. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food  has shown that K2 can help reduce the harmful effects of inflammation. In the study, researchers were able to note that vitamin K2 was able to inhibit inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in vitro. This inhibition of proinflammatory factors is good news to those suffering from conditions with chronic inflammation.
Furthermore, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study  that pointed out that increasing dietary intake of vitamin K2 may decrease the likelihood of a person developing prostate cancer.
With numerous health benefits, how can we increase our intake of vitamin K2 in our diet? Unlike Vitamin K1 which is abundant in green vegetables, K2 is a little harder to find. An awesome source of vitamin K2 is fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and natto. Although admittedly, these food choices are a little exotic for some! If you are not that daring, dairy might be your best option. Dairy products like cheese – specifically Brie and Gouda – have high levels of vitamin K2. It is important to note that the best kind of cheese should be the ones from grass-fed cows since grain fed cows produce lower levels of vitamin K2 in their milk.
Another thing to consider is when increasing vitamin K2 intake in your diet is fat solubility. Since vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is best absorbed when eaten with healthy fats. So to get the best out of your meal, pair up your cheese with a healthy serving of avocados or walnuts to ensure you get the maximum amount of vitamin K2.
If you feel like modifying your diet is too much of a task or if your health condition prevents you from eating the food sources, you can always try supplementation. Just make sure to follow the directions on the bottle and to consult a doctor before you take supplements.
 A longitudinal study of the effect of vitamin K2 on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women a comparative study with vitamin D3 and estrogen–progestin therapy. https://maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(98)00114-5/fulltext
 Vitamin K2: new research confirms essential role in heart health. https://www.nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/technical/article_page/Vitamin_K2_new_research_confirms_essential…/
 Vitamin K2 Therapy for Postmenopausal Osteoporosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042573/
 New MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 Study Validates Inflammation Benefits. https://nattopharma.com/new-menaq7-vitamin-k2-study-validates-inflammation-benefits/
 Dietary intake of vitamin K and risk of prostate cancer in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Heidelberg). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400723
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