Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 and comes from the German word ‘’Koagulationsvitamin’’ due to its blood clotting properties. There are 2 types of vitamin k, namely K1 and k2.
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): Found in plant foods like leafy greens.
- Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): Found in animal foods and fermented foods
These vitamin types are closely related but their functions vary markedly. There are several variations of Vitamin k2 however the most important ones are MK4 and MK7
This article will focus on vitamin K2 and the variation MK7. Vitamin K2 (MK-7)is a fat soluble compound, it is has a higher efficacy and bioavailability than other variants.
Vitamin K2 plays a very important role in several body functions and research has shown that it has remarkable benefits especially for people with cardiovascular issues (basically in relieving and reversing the symptoms of arteriosclerosis) and poor bone health.
Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) has been identified now as the most effective cofactor for the carboxylation reaction of Gla-proteins such as osteocalcin (in bone) and matrix-Gla protein (in the arterial vessel wall). After some decades of studies today we know that Vitamin K2 as MK-7 is essential for the function of several calcium-binding proteins involved in the maintenance of the normal structure of osteoarticular system, teeth, arterial wall, and for the regulation of cell growth.
Vitamin K is essential for the proper formation and full activation of the Gla proteins. The Gla protein osteocalcin, when fully carboxylated by vitamin K, allows for the binding of calcium to the bone matrix.
When we ingest calcium rich foods or take calcium supplements, calcium gets absorbed into our blood and when we have excess calcium in our blood, it gets deposited in our arteries leading to arterial calcification which leads to further cardiovascular complications.
BENEFITS OF MENAQUINONE (MK7)
- BONE HEALTH: Several studies indicate that Vitamin K2 as MK-7may have a main role in improving bone mineral density (BMD) and playing a critical role in the activation of bone formation by osteoblastic cells, and in the suppression of bone resorption. Other studies have shown that vitamin K2 inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE-2) which acts as a potent stimulator of bone resorption involved in the regulation and turnover of bone.
- HEART HEALTH: Adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates MGP, which inhibits calcium from depositing in the vessel walls. Hence, calcium is available for other multiple roles in the body, leaving the arteries healthy and flexible.8
However, vitamin K deficiency results in inadequate activation of MGP, which greatly impairs the calcium removal process and increases the risk of blood vessel calcification
- DENTAL HEALTH: Vitamin K2 works synergistically with Vitamin D3 to improve dental health. Osteocalcin, a protein critical to bone health is activated by K2. Osteocalcin also triggers the production of new dentin which is the calcified tissue under your dentin.
More research still needs to be done on the benefits of Vitamin K2