Vitamin K is one of those vitamins that you do not seem to
hear a lot about in the media or in the doctors office. So what is vitamin K
and why should you care about it?
Vitamin K is an important nutrient for heart and bone
health. There are two natural forms utilized by the body, including Vitamin K1
and K2. Vitamin K1 is used for blood coagulation, while K2, which is mostly
found in meat, liver, cheese, and egg yolks, is used for calcium regulation.
With prevailing low-fat and vegetarian diets, many of us eat reduced amounts of
meat and opt for egg white omelets, basically eliminating the richest source of
this essential vitamin. As a result, many people may be deficient in K2.
Natto, a fermented form of soy, native to Japan, is an
excellent source of K2, but is not common in the United States. K1 is found in
leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley,
and romaine lettuce. To get enough K1, however, you would need to eat an abundance
of these foods daily, which unfortunately, most of us do not do. While K1 is
also not very well absorbed by the body (usually about 10%, but absorption is
improved when consumed in conjunction with fatty oils, so pour on that olive
oil!), K2 is more bioavailable for the human body. Both vitamins work together
to prevent cardiovascular disease in that K2 controls calcification in your
arteries and K1 helps to thin the blood. Find out more by visiting www.DrEliaz.org.
Calcification of the arteries is a form of cardiovascular
degeneration that can begin at an early age but usually goes unnoticed until
more serious problems arise. K2 helps prevent this process by deciding where
calcium gets delivered in the body. K2 ensures that the calcium you consume is
deposited in your bones, not in your blood vessels and other soft tissues.
Heart Disease Specialist, Dr. William Davis explains, Normal deposition of
calcium occurs only in bone and in teeth. Abnormal deposition of calcium in the
body occurs in three places: the inner lining of the arteries of the body (the
intima) that causes atherosclerotic plaque; the muscle layer of arteries
(“medial calcification”); and heart valves. K2 appears to be the form
of vitamin K responsible for controlling these phenomena (not K1, the form that
plays a crucial role in blood clotting). It is easy to see why Vitamin K2 is
important in preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.
Without enough vitamin K (both K1 and K2), the vast majority
of the population are at risk for age-related disease. Your arteries receive
calcium they do not need or want, and your bones become more porous since the
calcium is not delivered to them.
K2 also helps promote blood vessel elasticity by
safeguarding elastin, the core protein in the muscle fibers primarily
responsible for the elasticity of the arterial wall. Existing elastin is
damaged and new production is inhibited by calcium deposition. If you are at
risk for cardiovascular disease and/or osteoporosis, consider adding full
spectrum Vitamin K supplementation to your diet. And if you are vegan or on a
strict diet, it may be wise to consider K2 supplements. Adding some hard cheese
to your diet or a hardboiled egg for a fast breakfast may greatly improve your
heart health and decrease your risk for osteoporosis. Learn more healthy diet recommendations
by visiting www.dreliaz.org/recommends-diet.