I have never written an article about a single nutrient however this one needs to be brought to public notice, because it’s truly a game changer. It’s called Vitamin K2. Human body needs a variety of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids) to function suitably. Health issues creep up when you are deficient in a specific nutrient; nonetheless, our body is pretty resilient that hardly ever shows any outright “symptoms” of a particular nutrient deficiency. But deficiency of any nutrient does show up one day — in the form of symptoms like not feeling as good as you used to, changes in skin quality, low energy, hormonal imbalances, joint pain, digestive issues, so on and so forth.
Vitamin K2 remained obscure till 1997 when researchers figured out the key role it plays in the human body (imagine all the other things we don’t know). Vitamin KI which is present in leafy greens such as kale and spinach and plays a role in blood clotting, is a familiar name, but no one has heard of Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 in fact plays a crucial role in directing calcium where it belongs and away from where it doesn’t belong. It accomplishes that by way of interaction with some other nutrients, like Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
Why is K2 so crucial?
Vitamin K2 is involved in many functions in the human body but is particularly crucial for females. Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, says: “For the prevention of everything from wrinkles to cancer, Vitamin K2 is the missing nutrient for women’s health. Most women don’t need a calcium supplement, but Vitamin K2 will channel dietary calcium to the right places. And everyone is taking Vitamin D, but without K2 we’re not getting all the benefits of Vitamin D, and even risking harm from it.”
Bone Health- Most of us usually associate calcium with bone health however in actual fact calcium (specially supplemental calcium) plays a very petty role in ensuring appropriate bone density and Vitamin K2 plays a very robust role. Vitamin K2 accomplishes this through its relationship with two other vital nutrients, Vitamin A (Retinol not Beta-Carotene) and Vitamin D.
Dental Health – Dr. Weston A. Price is the man to look at if you want to understand the importance of Vitamin K2 for ensuring proper dental health. According to his research dental decay, tooth sensitivity and other issues can be tackled naturally, just by ensuring adequate K2 in the diet. He observed remarkable dental health in primitive tribes across the world. They had straight, cavity free teeth and rarely brushed. Their diet consisted plenty of K2 and other fat soluble nutrients (A and D).
Cardiovascular Health – We were in the past under the impression that clogged arteries were the results of saturated fat. This is not true; there are many layers to cardiovascular disease however the real culprit is lack of Vitamin K2 in the diet. The blockages in your arteries are primarily calcium. Vitamin K2 keeps calcium out of your arteries and in your bones, where it belongs.
Wrinkles – Check out some of the regions of the world that have high vitamin K2 intake & you’ll discover natives there look considerably young for their age (For example, Tokyo – where Natto, the richest food source of Vitamin K2 is consumed regularly). There is also a definite correlation between early signs of aging (wrinkles, loose skin) and low bone density.
Healthy Veins – Varicose veins are strictly a disease of the cardiovascular system and like the related section above, involve calcium being deposited where it doesn’t belong. This can result in veins that have lost their integrity and are more prone to bulging.
Where to get it?
Foods with high Vitamin K2 content are rather obscure and not commonly consumed (see list below). So, I suggest to include Vitamin K2 in your supplement routine.
Foods with high Vitamin K2 content:
- Natto (fermented soybeans)
- Goose Liver (and other liver)
- Dairy products from animals that are eating fast growing spring grass (milk, butter, ghee).
- Cheeses – Gouda and Brie have the highest concentration but any cheese from a grass-fed animal will have Vitamin K2. Consider having some fruit and cheese as a snack.
- Egg yolks from a pasture raised chicken also contain K2. Eat 2-3 egg yolks a day.
Why is deficiency so common?
- This nutrient is present in very low concentrations in many commonly consumed foods.
- Eating more of processed foods and less of traditional foods (which are notoriously nutrient dense – nose to tail eating, grass-fed dairy, fermented foods, animal fats, etc.).