The information in this article and throughout Trio Nutrition’s blog is for informational purposes only, and should never be mistaken for professional medical advice.
The history of vitamin K2 is closely intertwined with the broader understanding of vitamin K, which includes vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K3 (menadione). The term "vitamin K" itself originates from the German word "koagulation," reflecting its initial discovery in the context of blood clotting. In the 1920s, scientists Henrik Dam and Edward A. Doisy independently identified vitamin K1 and received the Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking work.
However, it was not until the mid-20th century that researchers recognized the existence of vitamin K2. Japanese scientist Dr. Keijiro Sato, in the 1930s, made significant contributions to understanding vitamin K2's role. He isolated a substance called "menaquinone" from fermented fish meal, which was later identified as vitamin K2. This discovery had a profound impact on our understanding of vitamin K's multifaceted nature.
Chemical Structure and Forms
Vitamin K2 is a group of structurally related compounds known as menaquinones, which differ from vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) in their side chains. The side chain variations give rise to different subtypes of vitamin K2, with menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7) being the most studied and biologically active forms.
MK-4 is found in animal products and is synthesized in small amounts by conversion of vitamin K1 in tissues. On the other hand, MK-7 is produced by bacteria during the fermentation of certain foods and can also be found in various fermented foods.
Nutritional Benefits of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 plays several crucial roles in the body, primarily related to its involvement in various metabolic pathways:
- Bone Health: One of the most well-established functions of vitamin K2 is its contribution to bone health. It activates osteocalcin, a protein that helps bind calcium to the bone matrix. This process ensures that calcium is deposited in bones, making them stronger and less susceptible to fractures.
- Cardiovascular Health: Emerging research suggests that vitamin K2 may contribute to cardiovascular health by preventing the calcification of arteries. It helps regulate calcium metabolism, ensuring that calcium is directed towards the bones and teeth rather than accumulating in soft tissues like blood vessels.
- Blood Clotting: Vitamin K2 is essential for the synthesis of clotting factors in the liver. These factors are necessary for blood coagulation, preventing excessive bleeding after injury.
- Dental Health: Vitamin K2 may also play a role in dental health by ensuring proper calcium deposition in tooth enamel, which can help prevent tooth decay.
- Cancer Prevention: Some studies have suggested that vitamin K2 may have a role in cancer prevention, particularly in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Vitamin K2 exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to its overall health benefits.
Recommended Daily Dose
The recommended daily dose of vitamin K2 varies depending on age, sex, and individual health conditions. There is no established Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) specifically for vitamin K2, but the Adequate Intake (AI) levels are provided. The AI levels are as follows:
- Adults (men): 120 mcg per day
- Adults (women): 90 mcg per day
It's important to note that these recommendations pertain to the total intake of vitamin K, which includes both K1 and K2. Since vitamin K2 is found in relatively small amounts in most diets, individuals may need to pay attention to their dietary choices or consider supplementation to ensure adequate intake.
Sources of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is found in both animal and fermented foods. Here are some common dietary sources:
- Animal Products: MK-4, the shorter-chain form of vitamin K2, is found in animal-based foods such as meat (especially chicken and pork) and dairy products (especially cheese and egg yolks). However, the amounts of MK-4 in these foods are relatively low.
- Fermented Foods: MK-7, the longer-chain form, is produced by bacteria during the fermentation of certain foods. Foods like natto (fermented soybeans), sauerkraut, and some types of cheese (like Gouda and Brie) are good sources of MK-7.
- Supplements: Vitamin K2 supplements are available and can be an effective way to ensure adequate intake, especially for individuals with dietary restrictions or specific health concerns.
Vitamin K2 Deficiency and Risk Factors
Vitamin K2 deficiency is relatively rare, but certain factors can increase the risk of deficiency:
- Limited Dietary Intake: Diets that are low in vitamin K-rich foods, especially fermented foods and animal products, may increase the risk of deficiency.
- Gastrointestinal Issues: Conditions that affect fat absorption in the intestines, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or biliary obstruction, can impair vitamin K2 absorption.
- Medications: Some medications, such as certain antibiotics and anticoagulants (blood thinners), can interfere with vitamin K metabolism.
- Aging: As people age, their ability to convert vitamin K1 to the active form (MK-4) diminishes, potentially increasing the risk of deficiency.
The Benefits of Adding Vitamin K2 to a Magnesium Supplement
In recent years, there has been growing interest in the potential synergy between vitamin K2 and magnesium in promoting overall health and well-being. While magnesium and vitamin K2 serve distinct roles in the body, their combination in a supplement can offer several compelling benefits.
- Enhanced Bone Health: One of the primary functions of vitamin K2 is to activate osteocalcin, a protein that helps bind calcium to the bone matrix. This ensures that calcium is properly deposited in bones, making them stronger. Magnesium, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in bone mineralization. When combined, these nutrients can work synergistically to support and maintain healthy bones. This is particularly important as magnesium deficiency is common, and its role in bone health is often overlooked.
- Cardiovascular Health: Emerging research suggests that both magnesium and vitamin K2 may contribute to cardiovascular health by preventing arterial calcification. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, while vitamin K2 ensures that calcium is directed toward bones and teeth rather than accumulating in soft tissues like blood vessels. Combining these two nutrients in a supplement may provide comprehensive support for heart health.
- Improved Absorption: Magnesium is involved in the activation of vitamin D, which, in turn, enhances calcium absorption. When vitamin K2 is added to a magnesium supplement, it can further optimize the utilization of calcium in the body. This combination can be particularly beneficial for individuals at risk of calcium-related issues, such as osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease.
- Holistic Health Benefits: Beyond bone and heart health, magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, including those related to muscle function, nerve transmission, and energy production. Vitamin K2 contributes to the regulation of calcium metabolism and may play a role in cancer prevention. Combining these nutrients can provide a more holistic approach to supporting overall health and vitality.
- Convenience and Cost-Effectiveness: Taking multiple supplements can be cumbersome and expensive. Combining vitamin K2 with magnesium in a single supplement simplifies your daily routine and may be more cost-effective than purchasing separate supplements.
In conclusion, combining vitamin K2 with magnesium in a single supplement can offer a range of benefits, including improved bone health, cardiovascular support, enhanced nutrient absorption, and overall well-being.
By taking a holistic approach to nutrition and supplementation, you can help ensure that your body receives the essential nutrients it needs to thrive. So, if you are looking for a way to improve your health, consider taking Trio Nutrition’s World Famous Magximum, the world's first magnesium glycinate supplement to also contain Vitamin K2, D3 and MCT Oil Powder - all in a vegetarian capsule. Try it now with our 60-day risk free money back guarantee.
Always prioritize a balanced diet and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on your supplement choices to achieve optimal health outcomes.