< previous post             return to index            next post >

You need Vitamin K2 to draw calcium into your bones

There are two forms of Vitamin K, K1 and K2.  The functions and food sources for the two are different.  K2 deficiency is prevalent but K1 deficiency is rare.  K2 is key to the body’s process of drawing calcium into the bones and incorporating it into the bone matrix.  K1 plays a major role in blood clotting.  

A recent Japanese study indicated the regular consumption of Natto, a fermented soy food high in Vitamin K2, is associated with a lower risk of hip fractures in women compared to women in areas of Japan where Natto isn’t frequently eaten.  More studies are needed before supplementation is recommended and it is possible that like other key nutrients it will be determined that getting K2 from food not supplements is best.  Vitamin K2 is also key in triggering the body’s process responsible for removing excess Calcium that can accumulate in arteries and veins.  One ten year study found lower Vitamin K2 intakes in individuals diagnosed with significant aortic calcification than individuals with mild or moderate aortic calcification.  There are already concerns about taking Calcium supplements especially if you are deficient in K2.  So it is important to include good sources of K2 into your diet to be sure calcium is properly utilized in your body. 

K1 is found in leafy greens.  K2 is found in animal products such as chicken, beef, egg yolks, and hard whole milk cheeses, all of which are high acid foods and a concern with Osteoporosis.  You can eat these foods in moderate amounts just be sure to balance them out with lots of fruits and vegetables.  Include a generous serving of sautéed greens with meat or eggs to ensure a good alkaline balance at the meal.  Put sautéed spinach in an omelet or serve fried or poached eggs on a bed of greens. Meat and dairy from grass fed animals are higher in Vitamin K2 than their grain fed counterparts because animals can synthesize Vitamin K2 from K1 which they obtain from grass.  A strain of bacteria used in the fermentation process of Natto makes Natto the only vegetarian food source of K2.  In Japan Natto is typically mixed with rice and served for Breakfast.  Natto has a strong smell and flavor with a sticky consistency so for most people it is an acquired taste.  Google Natto and you will find lots of recipes to try - you might like it.


posted on 2/8/2014