When we all think of vitamins, we think of A, B, C, and D. Rarely do we think about vitamin K. However, that is changing. Vitamin K and its counterpart K2 have received attention over the years, and for good reason. It has many potential health benefits. Originally, people thought it was only good to prevent blood clotting proteins from being lost. Being deficient in it was rare, so people thought nothing of it. However, it’s been found that it can prevent cardiac diseases, osteoporosis, and even potential cancers.
They’ve also discovered that vitamin K2 has many more benefits than K1, and it’s sadly easier to become more deficient in. This article will cover the K2 benefits more than anything, and provide you ways of getting more K2.
The Five Benefits of Vitamin K
1. Vitamin K can prevent osteoporosis and protect your bones. This is because vitamin K regulates your calcium levels. Without proper regulation, it can cause long-term effects. It maintain osteocalcin levels. That’s a protein that helps keep minerals on your bones. Without vitamin K, those minerals come off, weakening your bones over time. It causes calcium to fall off, giving you brittle bones in the later stages of your life. So if you’re at risk of osteoporosis, you definitely need more vitamin K in your diet.
2. Vitamin K can prevent heart disease. This is primarily because of reason one. If your bones are shedding minerals, those minerals can land in your arteries, causing buildup. Besides that, vitamin K helps to form MGP, a protein that prevents formation inside your blood vessels. To back this up, studies have shown people with vitamin K deficiencies tend to have harder arteries. Vitamin K2, in particular, can lower this risk.
3. Vitamin K provides blood clotting proteins and helps you receive less bruises. See, your liver creates proteins that are blood clotting, and vitamin K helps to form those. These proteins decrease your chances of your skin bruising and help to heal them faster. If you’re bruising easily, you may need more vitamin K. This was the original reason for vitamin K being used, and recommendations were only small enough to help fix this problem.
With recent discoveries, however, many researchers agree that it’s time to increase the recommended daily amount of vitamin K. In addition, you need to beware of certain blood thinning medications. Medicines such as Warfarin can disrupt K’s function, so you need to talk to your doctor beforehand before you take more vitamin K and see what you can do about it.
4. Vitamin K reduces cancer, or at least has the potential do. A lot of supplements claim to do this, but vitamin K has some studies to back it up. In particular, a study in Europe of over 11,000 for nearly a decade found that if you take enough K2, your risk of prostate cancer goes down. For the women, vitamin K2 can help prevent certain liver cancers if you have viral cirrhosis of the liver. Leukemia is another cancer that is being looked at.
5. Vitamin K helps to improve your skin and may help to stop wrinkles. This is because the lack of vitamin K may lead to damaging on the connective elastin on your skin. In other words, if you don’t have enough vitamin K, you can become wrinkled. This is because calcium is deposited in your skin’s elastin fibers.
In addition, vitamin K helps form proteins that keep your skin cells happy. This may prevent such skin problems such as acne. Vitamin K has been reported to be an effective treatment of acne and acne scarring., so that’s a plus.
This vitamin sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. There are plenty of benefits from vitamin K. But how do you obtain more of it?
Vitamin K Foods
If you want more vitamin K1, you can find it in kale, romaine lettuce, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Vitamin K1, however, is hard to convert. By eating healthy fatty foods with your greens, it will help to increase your chances of absorption. However, due to its difficulty, you’re better off finding more vitamin K2 sources.
For vitamin K2, the best source would be natto. What is natto, you may ask? It’s a fermented soy dish, found in Japan. It’s a delicacy there, and because people eat so much of it, they tend to have lower chances of osteoporosis and hip fractures than most people in Europe and the US. Of course, the problem is that natto isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like Japanese food, you may not like it. So what do you do? Thankfully, there’s a solution. There are natto supplements out there that allow you to get the same benefits, so that problem is solved.
What are other good sources of K2? Liver, kidney, and other meats made from organs are good. Egg yolks from free range chickens work great as well. Grass fed meats and butter are also good. Many fermented foods can help, such as kefir and sauerkraut, and hard cheeses like Swiss are filled with K2.
Overall, vitamin K is something that people need to be more aware of. Vitamin K has many benefits, but because people don’t know about it, they might not be getting enough. Try some of these foods and watch as your health improves. It will definitely help you out now and for the future.