Vitamin K has been classified as an important vitamin for many years, but recently another form of vitamin K has been in the spotlight. We break down the qualities of both vitamin K1 and K2, and why you can benefit from both in this week’s article.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient that was first discovered in the late 1920s by a Danish biochemist that observed the effects of this vitamin deficiency on chickens. When the chickens were given fat-free food for over 2 weeks, they developed problems with excessive bleeding. Feeding the chickens other known fat-soluble vitamins of the time, such as vitamin A and vitamin D did not remove the problem. It was only when he began supplementing their feed with green leafy vegetables that he concluded there was another unknown vitamin that helps regulate blood coagulation. He named it “Koagulations vitamin” which we know as vitamin K. Chances are you had a vitamin K shot right after birth. It takes time to build up vitamin K in the system, so to prevent complications, newborn babies often receive a one-time vitamin K shot.
Different Forms of Vitamin K
Vitamin K1: Also known as phytonadione or phylloquinone, this vitamin is present in green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach and other nutritious foods such as seeds and animal livers. The daily recommended value for vitamin K1 is 120 mcg for adult males and 90 mcg for adult females.
Vitamin K2: Also known as menaquinone, this vitamin can be created by beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract or obtained from fermented foods and animal products. Food sources include natto (Japanese fermented soybeans), blue cheese, gouda cheese, swiss cheese, eggs and chicken. This is available in supplement forms as menaquinone-4 or menaquinone-7. Menaquinone-7 is more biologically active and is retained for a longer period of time than menaquinone-4 supplements.*
How Much Vitamin K2 Should I Take?
Currently there is no set daily recommended value for vitamin K2, but that may soon change as more discoveries are made about its unique benefits apart from vitamin K1. Most scientific studies have used a vitamin K2 dosage ranging from 10 to 45 mcg per day.*
Benefits of Vitamin K1 and K2
Proper Blood Clotting: As previously mentioned, vitamin K1 is absolutely essential for healthy blood clotting. In healthy individuals vitamin K1 supports the body’s creation of proteins required for blood coagulation.*
Bone Health: Vitamin K2 may aid in the regulation of calcium within the body.** Vitamin K2 influences a protein called osteocalcin which not only affects the binding of calcium to bone but the endocrine system.**
Cardiovascular Health: Calcium is an essential mineral, but it can sometimes end up in the wrong place such as within the arteries. Vitamin K2 may support the efficient use of calcium in the body and discourage the deposit of calcium within the arteries, however more research is needed.*
Anti-Aging**: As we age, bone density decreases, especially within the face. Loss of bone within the face can cause sagging and other superficial changes to facial appearance. Maintaining healthy and dense bones may support a more cosmetically youthful appearance of the face.**
Sources of Vitamin K1 and K2
If you want to make sure you are getting adequate vitamin K1 and K2, eat your leafy green vegetables along with healthy vegetable oils. Fermented foods such as hard cheeses and natto are a wonderful source of vitamin K2. You can find both forms of vitamin K in our One Daily and Six Daily Multivitamins. Our Vitamin D3 Plus formula contains 125 mcg of vitaminD3 and 100 mcg of vitamin K2 per capsule to promote strong and healthy bones.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
** Limited scientific studies support this benefit.
Vitamin K. Mount Sinai Health System. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-k Vitamin K. Mount Sinai Health System. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/vitamin-k
Langstein, MD, H. N., Shaw Jr., MD, R. B., Katzel, MD, E. B., Koltz, MD, P. F., Kahn, MD, D. M., Puzas, PhD, E. J. (2012, November 1). Facial Bone Density: Effects of Aging and Impact on Facial Rejuvenation. Academic.oup.com. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://academic.oup.com/asj/article/32/8/937/317790
Southward, K. (2015, January 19). A hypothetical role for vitamin K2 in the endocrine and exocrine aspects of dental caries. Medical Hypotheses. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987715000328
Moser, S. C., van der Eerden, B. C. J. (2019, January 10). Osteocalcin-a versatile bone-derived hormone. Frontiers in endocrinology. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335246/