Just Thrive - Vitamin K2
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What is Vitamin K?
Technically a group of fat-soluble compounds, vitamin K is known mostly for its critical role in blood clotting. Certain forms of vitamin K also help promote bone strength and cardiovascular health. In supplemental form, vitamin K typically comes in two primary forms: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Naturally-occurring K1 (also known as phylloquinone) is found primarily in leafy green vegetables, while K2 (also known as menaquinone) is found primarily in meats, cheeses and eggs. Menaquinone-7 is the form of vitamin K2 that promotes bone health and cardiovascular health by helping facilitate normal calcium transport within the body.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin K?
Vitamin K helps prevent excessive bleeding thanks to its role in helping blood clot. It’s also known for helping protect bone strength and integrity, as well as promoting a healthy cardiovascular system by ensuring calcium gets transported and deposited smoothly and efficiently. Supplemental vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-7 is widely used to support bone and heart health.
How is Vitamin K Used in the Body?
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient your body relies on when it responds to injuries, specifically open wounds, as it supports normal blood clotting. But vitamin K also plays an important role in maintaining the health and integrity of your bones by assisting in the transportation of calcium throughout your body. By helping ensure that calcium gets to where it needs to go (your bones), it helps support strong bones.
As it supports that flow of calcium to your bones, vitamin K also protects your cardiovascular system, preventing that calcium from getting stuck in places it shouldn’t. While rare, vitamin K deficiency can impact your normal blood clotting abilities, leading to increased bleeding. Consult with your doctor immediately before beginning any new supplementation regimen.
Vitamin K Combinations
Because of its role in supporting bone health and bone integrity, vitamin K is sometimes combined with other bone health supplements like vitamin D3. More often, vitamin K combination formulas will simply include multiple forms of the vitamin K family, including K1 and K2, specially menaquinone-7 (MK-7).
What are the Food Sources of Vitamin K?
Vitamin K—specifically vitamin K1—is found in abundance in the plant world. Green tea, leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, wheat bran, pumpkin, pomegranate, edamame and soybean oil are all natural food sources of vitamin K. For omnivores, liver is a primary food source of vitamin K.
Certain fermented dairy foods like yogurt and cheese, along with fermented soy products like miso and natto are great natural sources of vitamin K2, the bone-supporting form of vitamin K. Many vitamin K supplements will feature menaquinone-7 (MK-7) produced from natto.