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Vitamin K2 and Cardiovascular Health

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 12:13 PM
I've become increasingly interested in vitamin K2, especially since finding out that it is almost surely the elusive "X-factor" discovered by Weston Price in the early 1900's.  Dr. Price suggested that this "X-factor" was one of the most important mineral activators, having a profound influence on calcium metabolism in the body.  He also knew that it was found in the diet mostly in butter from grass-fed cows.  Vitamin K1, on the other hand, is found in leafy green vegetables, and is mostly known for it's role in blood clotting.  Regardless, what role might vitamin K2 have to play in human health?  Well, I found an excellent blog post by a cardiologist discussing in detail the potential benefit of K2 for cardiovascular health.  Here is a particularly useful excerpt from his blog post:
 
Here lies the real interest in high dose vitamin K2 replacement to minimise and reverse vascular calcification as part of general prevention and management of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
This is consistent with separate research also showing superior health benefits from vitamin K2, including:
  • The Rotterdam Study the first study demonstrating the beneficial effect of vitamin K2, showed that people who consume 45 μg/d of K2 daily live seven years longer than people getting 12 μg/d
  • Data from the Prospect EPIC Cohort published in
    Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases
    Gast et.al. Volume 18, Issue 7 Pages 504-510, September 2009
    suggested a high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD). 16,057 women, enrolled between 1993 and 1997 and aged 49–70 years, who were free of cardiovascular diseases at baseline. Intake of vitamin K and other nutrients was estimated with a food frequency questionnaire. After a mean follow-up of 8.1±1.6 years, with 480 incident cases of CHD. Mean vitamin K1 intake was 211.7±100.3 μg/d and vitamin K2 intake was 29.1±12.8 μg/d.After adjustment for traditional risk factors and dietary factors, the authors observed an inverse association between vitamin K2 and risk of CHD with a Hazard Ratio (HR) of 0.91 [95% CI 0.85–1.00] per 10 μg/d vitamin K2 intake. This association was mainly due to vitamin K2 subtypes MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9. Vitamin K1 intake was not significantly related to CHD
 
Another potential benefit of vitamin K2 may be prostate cancer prevention, as reflected in this study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
 
Sources of vitamin K2 in the diet:  Butter (preferably from grass fed cows), soft and hard cheeses, egg yolk, beef (preferably from grass fed cows), natto, among others.
 
Important:  Talk with your doctor before taking vitamin K supplements if you are on blood thinners or have blood clotting concerns.

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