I take vitamin K2 for two reasons. It is being shown to prevent calcium from forming plaque on arterial walls. And, it is thought to strengthen bones.
Several studies suggest that vitamin K2 prevents supplemental calcium from being deposited into arteries. The buildup of these calcium deposits leads to the development of arterial plaque. Reduction of these calcium deposits may lower the risk of heart disease. The article that follows explains the importance of Vitamin K2 in preventing arterial stiffness.
Rather than clogging arteries, Vitamin K2 directs calcium to go, where it is intended, into bones. So, Vitamin K2 has implications, not only for heart disease, but for osteoporosis, as well. The scientific article that follows explains reasons why calcium needs to be paired with Vitamin K2 . It highlights implications for bone strength and other health concerns.
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient. But, distinctions need to be made between the forms of Vitamin K since each one serves a different purpose. The two forms of vitamin K that have been found to be important to the human diet are K1 and K2. They are considered to aid in blood clotting, heart health, and bone health.
It is believed that most people get enough vitamin K1, which is important for blood clotting, from daily food sources. I believe that I get adequate vitamin K1 through my diet by consuming foods such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and blueberries. In addition, at this time, I do not have issues with my blood’s ability to clot. Therefore, vitamin K1 is not a topic that I have studied.
On the other hand, it is vitamin K2 that is being studied for its role in reducing arterial plaque and directing calcium into bones. This notion is significant for me since I am consuming a vast amount of supplemental calcium to assist my osteoporotic bones. If vitamin K2 can prevent this calcium from forming plaque in my arteries; then my bones, brain, and heart will surely benefit. So, for the past five years, I have been experimenting with various forms and daily amounts vitamin K2.
Food sources are always superior to supplements for absorbing nutrients. But, unfortunately, getting enough vitamin K2 from food sources is not possible for most people (unless one is a fan of goose liver or natto). So, my focus has been on vitamin K2 from supplements.
There are many variations of supplemental vitamin K2. But, the two forms that are advocated for their ability to direct calcium into bones instead of arteries are Vitamin K2 MK-4 and Vitamin K2 MK-7.
Since I take a large dose of supplemental calcium (1,000 mg of calcium citrate daily), I understand the importance of taking Vitamin K2. The challenge for me has been to discover which of these forms is optimal. Some sites argue that Vitamin K2 M-K4 is most effective, while other sites insist that Vitamin K2 M-K7 is best.
Some studies show that vitamin K2 MK-7 is well-absorbed by the body. Whereas, vitamin K2 MK-4 has poor bio-avaiability. The articles that follow address this finding.
From early 2017 through 2018, I took 180 mcg of MK-7. At the end of 2018, my DEXA scan results showed some modest improvement for osteoporosis. But, I was having sleep issues, which I suspected were related to the form of K2. I then switched from MK-7 to Mk-4. But, a DEXA scan in 2021 showed a deterioration in my bone density. I have since gone back to the MK-7, and this time, I am not having sleep issues.
It should be noted that many articles strongly recommend pairing vitamin K2 MK-7 with a meal containing a lot of dietary fat. I have always followed that recommendation. Some articles suggest that fat soluble vitamins should not be taken at the same time because they compete with each other. But, I am continuing to take my Vitamin K2 in the morning along with Vitamin D.
The following links will shed more light on vitamin K2 supplementation:
- Calcium supplementation without adequate vitamin K2 may be harmful.
- Vitamin K2 is being studied for its ability to reduce calcium deposits in the arteries. It may be a significant factor in fighting heart disease, osteoporosis, dental issues, and cancer.
- Health benefits of Vitamin K2 include implications for the brain, the heart, bones, kidneys, and cancer prevention.
- Vitamins D and K have been shown to slow the calcification of arteries and aid in maintaining suppleness of blood vessels. Arterial stiffness is associated with many health disorders including heart attacks, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, and type 2 diabetes.
My concern in this area is with the damage I may have already done over thirty years while consuming 1200 - 2000 mg of unmitigated calcium carbonate daily. I wonder how much arterial plaque is now clogging my arteries. Will vitamin k2 help to reduce it, or will it just prevent more plaque from accumulating? I will be looking further into this area.