Vitamin K2 is a vitamin that could help prevent heart disease, could help improve bone and joint health, could help improve dental health as well as playing a role in supporting your immune system.
Surprisingly most people have never heard of vitamin K2 and do not even know such a vitamin exists. We’re here to explain what exactly makes vitamin K2 an “All-Star” vitamin.
The history of vitamin K2 is an interesting one that goes back centuries ago.
The origins of this vitamin began in in feudal Japan. Samurai warriors would eat a fermented soybean dish called natto.
Diets centuries ago would most likely provide enough K2 however over the years vitamin K2 became less available, therefore less used. This in turn meant Vitamin K2 was “forgotten” about (hence the name “The Forgotten Vitamin” until its absence was finally recognised.
From the samurais in the 1600s we would have to fast forward all the way to the 1930s for the Vitamin K family to be discovered thanks to two people : Henrik Dam (Danish scientist) and Edward Adelbert Doisy (American Biochemist). They both received the 1943 Nobel Prize was their pioneering work! You can save that one for a future pub quiz!
In the 1960’s, Vitamin K2 as MK-4 was approved as a drug in Japan. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, studies were initiated on K2 for mothers and new-borns as well as bone health. By 2015, Vitamin K2’s effects on cardio vascular was proven. This then brings us to the present day where there is support on the benefits for the immune system also.
The vitamin that plays a star role has finally gained momentum and is ready for a starting spot!
What makes Vitamin K2 an All-Star?
To start with its important to know that Vitamin K2 deficiency is very common in western populations even though this nutrient plays a key role in many aspects of our health.
Simply, our diets do not provide us with enough vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 must be obtained through our diet. Fermented sourced are the main sources of vitamin K2.
As vitamin K2 is lacking in our diets, we must supplement K2 to get the health benefits our body requires. A deficiency in K2 could lead to calcium being deposited in the wrong areas (arteries) instead of the bones.
The main key benefits for either obtaining K2 from your diet or through supplements:
- Bone Health – Calcium is what is needed to build and maintain healthy bones. With sufficient K2 intake, calcium is guided directly to the bone, and away from the arteries therefore K2 is putting the calcium in balance.
- Heart Health – An excess amount of calcium being deposited in the arteries could lead to arterial stiffening which is one of the leading factors in heart disease. Also, vitamin K2 activates the Matrix Gla protein (MGP). Essentially, MGP is one of the strongest inhibitors of vascular calcification.
- Immune Health – Calcium is key for the body, however if it is not correctly regulated this could lead to severe effects to the body. Vitamin K2 activated the calcium binding proteins that stop calcium deposition in soft tissues.
Together with vitamin D3 as The Perfect Pair, they support healthy immune and inflammatory responses.
Vitamin K2 plays an important and essential role in our body functions therefore earning its status as The All-Star Vitamin.