by: Paul Fassa
(NaturalNews) There is very little publicity about Vitamin K. It is generally known as important for blood coagulation. However, it is essential for your health beyond that. It`s a nutrient that can help prevent serious health issues like heart disease, especially arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. And it`s important for preventing osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become brittle.
What is Vitamin K?
There are three kinds of vitamin K: K1, K2, and K3. Vitamin K is generally classified as a fat soluble vitamin. This means in order to absorb vitamin K it`s necessary to consume some dietary fat along with your Vitamin K source.
Vitamin K`s are distinguished by their side chains, the basic compounds of which they are made. Vitamin K1 is made of phylloquinone compounds.
Vitamin K2 is essentially comprised of a group of compounds called manaquiones. With K2, there are different manaquione side chain lengths manifesting different characteristics. The MK7 variety is the most readily metabolized and abundant form of K2.
Vitamin K3 is comprised of menadione, which is a synthetic version of vitamin K. It`s used primarily for intravenous medical interventions with infants, sometimes with toxic side effects. K3 won't work as a nutritional supplement!
Food Sources of Vitamins K1 and K2
Vitamin K1 is well known as an essential blood clotting agent. It was discovered in Germany in 1929 and named koagulation, which we know as coagulation. Vitamin K1 is found in plants, especially leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale, salad greens, parsley, mustard greens and broccoli to name a few.
K2 is the Vitamin K that strongly supports heart and bone health. Most vitamin K typically eaten in Western diets is of the MK-4 variety which doesn`t confer the same heart benefits as the MK-7 variety.
The best food source of vitamin K2 with MK-7 is natto, a fermented soy dish that`s been part of the traditional Japanese diet for the past 1000 years. But it demands an acquired taste for westerners.
The best sources of vitamin K2 with MK-7 for western palates is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, fermented cheeses and dairy foods like grass fed butter, and organ meats. A Dutch study also found the MK-7 form of vitamin K2 in Edam cheese. Not to be confused with the large holes of Swiss cheese, fermented cheeses have very little holes within their bulk.
Inadequate intestinal bacteria may keep you from assimilating K2. Vitamin K supplements derived from natto could be added to the list of appropriate foods.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K2
Inadequate levels of vitamin K2 leads to hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) and osteoporosis. There appears to be a direct corollary relationship between excess calcium in the blood and inadequate calcium in the bones.
Weak bones are caused by a lack of calcium in bone tissue, while excess calcium in the arteries results in coronary heart disease (CHD) and other degenerative conditions. Vitamin K2 is an excellent calcium regulator.
It is able to move excessive arterial calcium into bone tissue where it belongs and is needed, while removing it from arteries where it can cause arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Vitamin K2 is essential for healthy arteries and strong bones, and it also promotes skin, brain and prostrate health.