We have all heard of taking calcium for bone health. It is best combined with other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus to maximize absorption and improve calcium’s bone building effects. Well, there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to bone health – meet Vitamin K2!
What Does Vitamin K2 Do?
Vitamin K2 works by activating different proteins required for bone building. One protein it activates is called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin’s role is to attract calcium into bones and teeth, and it requires Vitamin K2 to be activated. Once activated by K2, osteocalcin is able to bind calcium and draw it into the bones where osteoblasts (bone cells) will incorporate the calcium into the bone matrix1.
Another protein that is dependent on Vitamin K2 for activation is called matrix gla protein (MGP). MGP sweeps calcium out of the tissues to be brought to the bones, which also reduces calcium form being deposited in the arteries2. This is a growing area of research, since recent research has demonstrated that calcium from our supplementation has the ability to deposit in our arteries, leading to arterial calcification and hardening3. The benefits of Vitamin K2 on reducing arterial calcium deposits is reducing the risk of coronary artery disease development.
Dietary Sources and Dosing
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is naturally found in natto (fermented soy beans), sauerkraut, hard cheese, egg yolks, and animal proteins. Natto has the highest source of Vitamin K2 out of any food, containing 150mcg in 1 tbsp. I recommend supplementing with Vitamin K2 since it is difficult to get an adequate amount of Vitamin K2 from our Western diet alone.
There are 2 forms of Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): MK-4 and MK-7. MK-7 is better absorbed and is the recommended form to take.
Vitamin K2 (MK-7) Supplementation Dose: 100 mcg per day
2. Bjørklund, G., Svanberg, E., Dadar, M., Card, D. J., Chirumbolo, S., Harrington, D. J., & Aaseth, J. (2020). The Role of Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) in Vascular Calcification. Current medicinal chemistry, 27(10), 1647–1660. https://doi.org/10.2174/0929867325666180716104159
3. Maresz K. (2015). Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 14(1), 34–39.