WHAT IS VITAMIN K2?
Vitamin K2 is one of the least popular nutrients in the Western diet. Although it’s not getting much mainstream attention, it’s vital in fighting several chronic diseases. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is a vitamin K derivative. It is usually present in animal products and fermented foods (from bacteria). Some of the richest dietary sources of this nutrient include nattō, a traditional Japanese food made of fermented soybeans. The bacteria that live in our gut also produce small quantities of K2.
WHAT IS VITAMIN K2 GOOD FOR?
K2 is used by the body to deposit calcium in proper locations, particularly in the bones and teeth. Therefore, it has a protective effect against osteoporosis and bone fractures. This mechanism also prevents excessive calcium deposition in soft tissues, such as the heart. A study showed that individuals with high vitamin K2 consumption had 52% less risk of developing arterial calcification.
IS IT SAFE TO TAKE VITAMIN K2 DAILY FOR THE
It’s a common misconception that humans don’t need to obtain K2 from our diet because our bodies can convert K1 to K2. However, scientists postulate that we need pre-formed K2 for optimal health. K2 produced in the intestines doesn’t make a significant contribution because it is entrenched within the bacterial membranes—making it unavailable for absorption. While there are many K2-rich foods, many people don’t have access to them. Fortunately, there are K2 supplements. Currently, there’s no recommended intake for this vitamin, but studies show 10 to 45 micrograms per day is enough. Scientists are still investigating the long-term effects of K2 supplementation. So far, there are no reported serious side effects. It's best to stick to the recommended dose. When toxicity occurs, it displays signs of jaundice, anaemia, and hyperbilirubinemia. K2 toxicity through diet is almost impossible because a person cannot consume enough animal or plant products to reach toxic levels.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN K2 DO YOU NEED?
There has yet to be a recommended daily intake for K2. However, health experts believe that 120 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K daily can support the optimal health of adult males, while adult females only need 90 mcg. Individuals with difficulty converting K1 to K2 due to certain conditions may need supplementation. It should be given with caution to children, pregnant women, and patients with blood coagulation problems. Much is still to discover about K2, although current research is promising.