Why Vitamin K2 is one of the best vitamins to protect your heart, bones and skin.
9 Minute ReadEducation
03.09.20 (Updated 18.10.23)
Vitamin K is one of the more elusive vitamins. Not many of us know exactly what Vitamin K (let alone Vitamin K2) is, nor why we need it, or where the best sources can be found. Vitamin K2 is a fundamental nutrient for the smooth functioning of many of the body’s most important processes, including blood clotting, bone health, heart health and immunity. Being in possession of a healthy heart and strong bones are fundamental to overall wellbeing and quality of life. If you’re wondering which supplements you should be taking for bone and heart health, look no further than Vitamin K2.
When it comes to taking the best vitamins for bones and heart, and eating to prevent fractures and improve your cardiovascular health, a diet rich in Vitamin K2 should be at the top of your list of lifestyle changes. Vitamin K2 transports calcium to bones and teeth, increasing density and helping to prevent breakage, chips and fractures. But it also helps to protect against excess calcium build-up, or calcification, of the body’s blood vessels and soft tissues.
What is the difference between Vitamin K2 and Vitamin K1?
Vitamin K2 is a critical nutrient that is often overlooked, but it may just be the most important nutrient for bone and heart health. Its is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins that are fundamental for a fully functioning immune system and overall wellbeing. The other fat-soluble vitamins that the body needs for optimal health are A, D and E (all three are generally found naturally through a healthy lifestyle).
Whilst it has been proven that Vitamin K is important for the maintenance of bone and cardiovascular health as well as in the coagulation process (blood clotting), research has found out that consumption of Vitamin K1 alone has not been shown to have any association with improved health. The only role Vitamin K1 seems to have is to promote balance in the body. Vitamin K2, to the contrary, has been shown to contribute to bone and skin health, to support various cognitive functions of the brain and to help in the prevention of cardiac related diseases.
Why we need to supplement with Vitamin K2.
Vitamin K1, also called phylloquinone, is the predominant form of Vitamin K that exists in the human diet, mostly found in plant foods like leafy green vegetables. It makes up about 75–90% of all Vitamin K consumed by humans however it is not easily absorbed by the body. Studies have demonstrated that only 10% of the Vitamin K1 ingested is actually absorbed and used by the body. Vitamin K2, on the other hand, is better absorbed, or rather more bioavailable.
Vitamin K2 was proven to have a powerful impact on improving the health of your bones, boosting your immune system and supporting your bones and heart health, so you should look to increase your intake of this nutrient. Vitamin K2 has several subtypes called menaquinones (MKs, ranging from MK-4 to MK-13). Vitamin K2 is harder to source, especially for those following a plant-based diet, as it is mostly found in fat-rich foods such as hard cheeses, egg yolks, dark chicken meat, butter (and other high-fat dairy products), goose liver and even bacon ; this is particularly the case for MK-4, the only MK not produced naturally by the gut bacteria. Yes that's right, your body can also produce Vitamin K2 naturally through the intake of fermented foods like sauerkraut, natto, kimchi and kefir.
This is why, for most people, supplementing with Vitamin K2 is the most effective way to ensure that you’re getting the requisite amount each and every day.
Vitamin K-rich foods.
Bone and heart health are pertinent areas to focus on if you are particularly active, middle-aged or older, or going through menopause. If you fall into those groups, Vitamin K2 can prove indispensable to you.
As it can be quite tricky to get the right amount of Vitamin K through nutrition only, here are some foods that are rich in the nutrient:
- Kale, mustard greens, collard greens
- Natto (fermented soy beans)
- Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts
- Goose and beef liver
- Hard cheese, egg yolks
- Dark chicken meat, pork chops
- Butter, soybean oil
- Green beans, avocado
- Kiwi, prunes
- Other high-fat dairy products
The table below made by Katarzyna Maresz, PhD, published in a 2015 article on the PubMed, highlights some different types of Vitamin K, the impact of each on the body and where they can be found:
Why you need to take Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 together.
Also, Vitamin K2's lengthy molecule's side chain enables it to remain in the blood longer than K1 (we're talking days versus hours). Health experts believe that the longer circulation time of vitamin K2 allows it to be better used in tissues located throughout the body. Vitamin K1 is primarily transported to and used by the liver and promotes homeostasis (a self-regulating body process maintaining stability between different biological elements).
Working in tandem with Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2 directs and transports calcium from your diet into your bloodstream and then to the parts of your body that need it most.
LYMA contains MenaQ7® Matrix and Vita-algae D3™ in perfect ratios. Remember: one cannot work to boost your health without the presence of the other. MenaQ7® Matrix is the world’s most bioavailable form of Vitamin K2 and is formulated at a clinical dose of 75µg in LYMA. When taken in combination with Vita-algae D3™ as formulated at 2,000 i.u. in LYMA, you’ll be supporting your heart and bone health and strengthening your immune system. You’ll also enjoy a number of additional benefits associated with Vitamin D3 including improved mood, a reduction in aches and pains and increased energy.
Vitamin K2 is also particularly important for maintaining bone health in menopausal women as it promotes the calcification of bone by activating a protein called osteocalcin. One particular study followed 244 menopausal women and found that those supplementing with Vitamin K2 had much slower declines in their bone mineral density as they aged, and had a reduced likelihood of suffering from osteoporosis.
What are the top health benefits of Vitamin K2?
- Bone health.
The continuous remodelling of the bones in the body is regulated by osteoblasts, cells that build up the skeleton by producing osteocalcin. Osteocalcin, however, is born inactive, and needs Vitamin K2 to become fully activated and bind calcium to the bone to make it stronger.
- Dental health.
Given its bone health-promoting properties, it follows that Vitamin K2 is also extremely important for maintaining the health of your teeth, particularly as you age. Osteocalcin is one of the main regulating proteins in both bone health and dental health. The presence of osteocalcin encourages the growth of the calcified layer beneath the enamel of your teeth, also known as dentin.
- Heart health.
While vitamin K2 promotes the calcification of bones and teeth, it simultaneously prevents the calcification of other parts of the body, most notably soft tissue, organs and blood vessels by activating a second protein, called matrix GLA protein. So, how does this pertain to heart disease? When calcium builds up in the arteries it can cause a blockage, or plaque, the presence of which can lead to suffering a heart attack or stroke. Vitamin K2 can help to prevent and break up these blockages, and thus adequate intake either from dietary sources or supplementation can reduce the likelihood of coronary heart disease and its associated afflictions. Vitamin K2 may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a leading cause of heart disease among other afflictions.
- Immunity boosting.
Vitamin K2 has also been linked with reducing the likelihood of developing immune disorders, stress-related illnesses or experiencing premature ageing. Maintaining adequate levels of calcium in the body is also a key determinant of whether or not you find yourself in possession of a healthy immune system. Calcium’s job is to activate immunity cells, or T-cells, to fight infection and disease. The only way to effectively metabolise calcium and to guarantee that it reaches your T-cells is to ensure an adequate intake of both Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2.
- Skin health.
Recent studies and clinical trials on Vitamin K also show it has beautifying effects as it helps skin health. Working as a powerful antioxidant, it prevents the harmful effects of smoke, pollution and sun ultraviolet radiations (free radicals). In addition to its antioxidative property, Vitamin K promotes tissue renewal and cell growth control. A study published in 2021 confirmed that the topical application of Vitamin K had beneficial effects on skin, such as suppression of pigmentation, alleviation of bruising and wound healing. Indeed, Vitamin K helps blood coagulation (blood clotting). So if you sustain a scrape, cut or graze, then adequate Vitamin K2 intake will ensure that your body is able to develop a protective layer over the injury and is able to heal faster.
- Other health benefits.
The above are not the only benefits associated with this underrated vitamin; further benefits of having a nutrition rich in Vitamin K2, whether from dietary or supplementary sources, include improved kidney health, improved insulin sensitivity and cancer prevention - specifically of the prostate and lungs.
In a nutshell, Vitamin K2 benefits the regulation of calcium uptake and its transportation around the body, and it does this via two mechanisms:
- It encourages the calcification of bone and teeth by activating a protein called osteocalcin.
- It prevents the calcification of soft tissue, organs and blood vessels.
The Vitamin K2 daily dosage you need to support optimal balance.
MenaQ7® Matrix is the world’s most bioavailable form of Vitamin K2 and is formulated at a clinical dose of 75µg in LYMA. When taken in combination with Vita-algae D3™ as formulated at 2,000 i.u. LYMA, you’ll be supporting your body’s calcium metabolism further, and better supporting your heart and bone health than would be the case were you to supplement with either separately.
It’s important to take Vitamins K2 and D3 together because, whilst Vitamin D is responsible for absorption of calcium from the food we eat and the supplements we take, it has no power either to distribute, or to determine the destination, of said calcium around the body - this is where Vitamin K2 comes into its own. It is, in fact, futile to supplement with one without the other when it comes to improving the health of your heart and bones.
Vitamin D3 cannot be manufactured by the body and, whilst it is sometimes called ‘the sunshine vitamin’ because we can obtain it from the sun’s rays, these rays are not usually adequate to supply us with all the D3 we need to thrive. Vitamin D3, therefore, should be taken in supplement form, ideally alongside Vitamin K2 in clinically-proven quantities as is the composition of the LYMA formula.
As humans, our wellbeing is wholly dependent on having a healthy heart and strong, resilient bones. The only way to have both is to ensure that you are taking in an adequate supply of Vitamin K2 - and its essential counterpart, Vitamin D3 - each and every day. The easiest way to do this is to supplement with LYMA. LYMA’s patented, trusted formula has been expertly engineered to deliver you with exactly the right quantities of MenaQ7® Matrix (Vitamin K2) and Vita-algae D3™ (Vitamin D3), and in perfect harmony. It’s time to unlock your potential and reclaim your vitality.