Vitamin K (German for “Koagulation” = blood clotting) is important for:
- neuroprotection (1)
- increased mitochondrial function (2)
- reduction of inflammation (3) and therefore helpful in autoimmune diseases (antioxidant) (4)
- reduction of anxiety and depression in metabolic syndrome (5)
- protection against Vitamin D toxicity via calcium regulation (6) → takes calcium where its needed most minimizing kidney stone, arteriosclerosis and heart disease risk while promoting bone and teeth resistance (7)
- blood coagulation (8)
- insulin production and sensitivity (blood sugar stabilization, diabetes protection) (9)
- sex hormone optimization (testosterone and fertility increase in males, normalizing of male hormone levels in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)) (10)
- cancer protection (11)
What Vitamin K form is best?
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) → travels to liver → makes the proteins involved in blood clotting
- Vitamin K2 → separated into different menaquinones named “MK-X”
2 main types of Vitamin K2:
MK-7 → travels to bones which then produce hormone “osteocalcin” → improves metabolic and hormonal health and increases exercise performance → some travels to liver
MK-4 → reaches most other tissues → taken up very rapidly
MK-4: 1 hour
K1: 1,5-7,5 hours
MK-7: 56 hours → stays active much longer than K1 before being broken down = better than K1 at supporting blood clotting + better and more consistent Vitamin K status → lower dosage is needed!
Vitamin K2 is an overall better choice than Vitamin K1!
MK-7 tops MK-4 because of its long half-life!
How to get enough Vitamin K?
1. Natural food resources
Vitamin K1 can be inefficiently converted to K2 in the body (only 10 % is used by the body) so K2 intake should be prioritized!
Primarily found in plant food and most abundant in leafy greens:
Spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, kale and mustard greens
Most abundant in animal food (grass-fed should have higher levels)!
Very good sources: Goose liver paste 369µg/100g, butter oil 80µg/100g, egg 31–65µg/100g = ~ 20-42µg/egg (L), chicken meat 60µg/100g, …
The more yellow/orange the color of butter/egg yolks the more beta-carotene content associated with vitamin K1 → indicates the amount of vitamin K1 and K2 in the butter!
I would recommend eating a bit of natto each day because that’s obviously the best source! Chicken meat and a few eggs could also help you with reaching your Vitamin K goal and for variation of MK!
And: Always eat your food choice with added fat or else you won’t get benefits from taking it (most sources have fat in it already)!
2. Supplementation with Vitamin K
You have 3 options:
MK-4 supplementation: synthetic form, does not remain in therapeutic levels in the blood for very long → periodic dosing every few hours is required! (Thorne Research has a good one.)
MK-7 supplementation: Just take 1-2 pills per day for hour-long effects! (This is from NOW Foods.)
MK-4 + MK-7 supplementation: Look out for supplements with the highest MK-7 content! This one has 200µg which is sufficient. You have the added benefit of MK-4 which is absorbed rapidly by tissue which desperately needs it!
Remember to always take your vitamin K supplement with fat for optimal absorption!
MK-7: 180 mcg/day
MK-4: 600 mcg/day or more
Caution: Don’t take supplementation when on blood thinners or pregnant!
I’m no doctor so please talk to your doctor or therapist before taking any supplements!
Not particularly needed. You should up your Vitamin K intake when you:
- get antibiotics, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants (Phenytoin, Phenobarbital), salicylate (Aspirin)
- supplement with high doses of Vitamin E, Vitamin D or Vitamin A
- don’t eat enough food rich in Vitamin K
Human Undercarboxylated Osteocalcin test (ucOC/ELISA)
With this test you can’t test specifically for Vitamin K but see if you’re seriously Vitamin K deficient already! The following markers will be detected when deficiency is present in your body:
– PIVKA-Prothrombin (PIVKA-II)
– Undercarboxylated Osteocalcin (ucOC/PIVKA-Osteocalcin)
No adverse reactions were detected! But there are possible side effects:
- High-dose vitamin K could contribute to vitamin E deficiency so don’t take too much of it when not really needed!
- A little bit of vitamin K is broken down to menadione → some of that is used to synthesize MK-4 → high concentrations of menadione are toxic! → some menadione is converted to glutathione (antioxidant + cell detoxifier) → excreted with urine therefore high vitamin K dose could deplete glutathione → impaired detoxification
Synergy Effects with Vitamin K
- Vitamin D → increases the effect of Vitamin K against osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis (see my blog post)
- Vitamin A → immune support
- Zinc → most likely promotes intestinal absorption of Vitamin K
- Exercising, standing and a good thyroid status → increases carbon dioxide production → Vitamin K2 needs carbon dioxide to activate Vitamin K-dependent proteins which then can bind to calcium!
I hope this article helped you find something to try out for yourself! If you should have any questions regarding this article please feel free to ask me in the comment section below. I’d be thrilled if you would share your experience regarding Vitamin K with me 🙂