About Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin which is important for the maintenance of normal bone health, cardiovascular health and normal blood clotting. Being active in the body for longer than vitamin K1; vitamin K2 is able to reach more tissue and activate proteins that have a role in keeping calcium mobile.
Why do we need to supplement?
Vitamin K2 is challenging to obtain from the diet. To obtain 75μg per day, a person would need to consume 7kg of beef, 8.5 litres of milk or 14 eggs. A rich source of K2 is found within the Japanese dish 'natto' – a fermented soybean dish not commonly consumed around the world.
How does it work in the body?
K2 is beneficial to anyone who wants to take care of their bone health and circulatory health as it may help maintain bone strength and density while protecting blood vessels from hardening. It does this via the activation of 'K-dependent' proteins osteocalcin (OC) and matrix Gla-protein (MGP).
MGP transports calcium away from where it can cause harmful hardening of soft tissue (i.e. calcification) and towards the bones where it contributes to their strength and structure.
Benefits in Research
The skeleton is fully replaced approximately every seven years thanks to specialist bone cells. Older bone is broken down by osteoclast cells while new bone is built via osteoblast cells. Osteoblasts slow with age and when osteoclast activity is in excess, it contributes to bones becoming porous and fragile. When severe enough, this is diagnosed as osteoporosis and carries with it an increased risk of fractures.
Having adequate vitamin K2 can assist, however, via the activation of the protein osteocalcin. K2 activates osteocalcin via an enzyme co-factor, enabling calcium to be incorporated into the bone matrix, building new bone and contributing to bone density. Osteoclast cell activity may also be inhibited by adequate K, further slowing bone breakdown 1.
Vitamin K has been shown in studies to assist in the maintenance of circulatory health if taken daily. Vitamin K2 acts as a cofactor for activation of Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) which is located in the cartilage and smooth muscle cells of the vascular system. When activated, MGP can inhibit soft tissue calcification which could otherwise build up leading to elevated cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
A 2004 population-based study (known as the Rotterdam Study) explored the relationship between vitamin K intake and CVD with 4807 subjects.
The group with adequate vitamin K intakes experienced:
• Reduced CVD and Death from CVD
• Reduced severe calcification of the blood vessels
• Reduced all-cause mortality
The lead researcher discussed that this effect may be due to reduction in arterial calcification and suggests that elevated intakes of vitamin K2 contribute to heart disease prevention 2.
K-Pearls contain vitamin K2 in the menaquinone-7 (MK-7) form which has shown to be the most beneficial form of vitamin K2 according to recent research. Due to staying in the body longer than the other form of vitamin K2, MK-4, MK-7 is able to activate proteins Matrix Gla and osteocalcin better which are associated with the vitamin’s health benefits.
Studies have also shown that MK-7 demonstrates superior effects on normal blood coagulation compared to MK-4 3 and provides a more active grade of osteocalcin than Vitamin K14.
100% Active form
Vitamin K2 MK-7 can be sourced from either Natto (soy processed via fermentation) or produced via a patented organic process using flower material, the latter being a newer scientific development.
K2 MK-7 produced via the organic process demonstrates a 100% trans MK-7 profile, with the trans form being the only biologically active form. In essence, MK-7 produced this way is 100% trans and biologically active whereas MK-7 produced via fermentation processes is partially active, being a mix of both active trans and inactive cis forms.
K2 is 'lipid soluble', so it is best absorbed by the body in the presence of fats. Bio-Vitamin K2 comes in small, easy to swallow oil capsules to help ensure digestive absorption.
The organic process also produces K2 MK-7 which is free of common allergens, great news for individuals adverse to soy present in the fermented varieties.
1. Akbari S, Rasouli-Ghahroudi A. Vitamin K and Bone Metabolism: A Review of the Latest Evidence in Preclinical Studies. BioMed Research International. 2018;2018:1-8.
2. M. Geleijnse J, Vermeer C. Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: TheRotterdam Study. The Journal of Nutrition. 2014;134:3100 –3105.
3. Groenen-Van Dooren M, Ronden J, Soute B, Vermeer C.Bioavailability of phylloquinone and menaquinones after oral and
colorectal administration in vitamin K-deficient rats. BiochemicalPharmacology. 1995;50(6):797-801.
4. Schurgers L, Teunissen K, Hamulyak K, Knapen M, Vik H, VermeerC. Vitamin K-containing dietary supplements: comparison of
synthetic vitamin K1 and natto-derived menaquinone-7. Blood.2007;109(8):3279-3283.