“For Klotting and Kalcium”
Vitamin D helps you
tells your body where to put it
Conversion of K1 to K2 in body?
Is K stored in the body?
Good Online K references
Vitamin K is well known as a blood clotting agent, without which, an injury
could cause us to bleed to death –
vitamin K was named after the German word
“koagulation”. Most people get sufficient dietary K
to maintain adequate blood clotting. HOWEVER, they do NOT obtain enough or the
right type of vitamin K to perform the more
recently discovered important functions/roles of
vitamin K, including:
Supports bone health
(helps body utilize calcium in
the right places)
Keeps calcium out of blood vessels, cartilage
and other soft tissue
Boosts immune functiion
Ensures healthy skin
Relieves menstrual cramps
Enhances liver function
Encourages the flow of urine
Increases vitality and longevity
(fights premature aging)
Supports growth and development
Provides powerful antioxidant benefits
cells against oxidative damage)
Boosts memory function
Keeps your normal blood sugar
Arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease
and varicose veins
Brain health problems, including dementia
(maintains strong bones in the elderly)
liver cancer and leukemia
Diabetes / INSULIN resistance
Fat-Soluble vitamin K exists in two basic natural forms, K1 and K2 –
now found to have
quite DIFFERENT physiological functions:
(PHYLLOQUINONE) - ~90% of
intake in typical
K1 is preferentially used by the
helps maintain a healthy blood clotting
Found in leafy green
vegetables. olive oil and other plant foods - E.g.
Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, green beans, asparagus, broccoli,
kale, leaf/romaine lettuce, cabbage,
spinach, parsley, watercress, cauliflower
and mustard greens.
Cruciferous vegetables should be cooked to avoid suppressing
thyroid hormone production.
Vitamin K is important for those with blood
type O - since they
lack several clotting factors in their blood
thru 14) - ~10% of vitamin K intake in
typical Western diet found in primarily fermented foods and aged cheeses; also
produced by gut bacteria
is preferentially used by vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than your liver
K2 benficially directs calcium to be deposited
in such as bones and teeth - and conversely, prevents it
from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues
Spronk, H.M., Soute, B.A., Schurgers, L.J., Thijssen, H.H., De Mey, J.G.,
Vermeer, C., 2003. Tissue-specific utilization of menaquinone-4 results in the
prevention of arterial calcification in warfarin-treated rats. J. Vasc. Res.
40(6), pp 531-537.
Sperm contains a
protein that relies on K2
Your brain uses K2
Saliva contains K2 to protect against tooth
has several subforms (with repeating 5-carbon units in the side chain of the
- denoted as menaquinone-n
or MK-n, where n is the number of 5-carbon units) :
found in organ meats, marrow, brain, and fish
eggs; also butter fat from animals fed lush green grass or K-rich cereals (e.g.
green alfalfa, wheat-grass);
in egg yolks, a trace in meats; MK4 is now known to be Dr.
Weston A. Price’s so-called “Activator X”. During the 1930’s, this Cleveland
dentist traveled the world investigating the health of isolated primitive
peoples. He found that when included in their diet,
“Activator X” (K2 MK-4) not
only kept people’s teeth free of tartar, but also prevented and healed cavities,
and is needed for mineral utilization. Short half-life of about one hour – remains mostly in liver as a
blood clotting agent.
MK-7, 8, 9 and 10 come from bacterial
found only in natto (not in the other more palatable
fermented soy products e.g. miso and
tempeh); The MK-7 form is longer acting (half life of about 3 days) and is the
usual supplement form (derived from natto).
MK-10 and higher –
found in meat, fish, dairy products
Beneficial gut bacteria (called probiotics)
produce several subforms of vitamin K2 –
these lactic acid bacteria
partially contribute to body’s K-status
as the K2 is
absorbed in small amounts from
the distal small intestine (ileum).
have been shown to reduce
in the gut by nearly 74%.
Conly, J; Stein K (1994). "Reduction of
vitamin K2 concentrations in human liver associated with the use of broad spectrum
antimicrobials". Clinical and investigative medicine. Médecine clinique et
experimentale 17 (6): 531–539.
Probiotics also aid in
digestion and assimilation of
vitamins - including
vitamin K . The best source of probiotics is fermented foods and drinks.
K2 subforms found in animal
(especially organs and pastured dairy),
curds and fermented foods – many of them containing saturated fat:
Natto, miso (fermented
Hard and soft
fermented cheese – E.g. Aged Goat
cheese, Camembert, Blue Cheese,
Stilton, Port du Salut, Feta, Aged Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano. (Provolone,
Ricotta, and Mozzarella have no
Butter from grass-fed animals
K2 in fermented
Foods is dependent on type of
K2-producing bacteria used for fermentation
Cheeses – E.g.
Swiss Emmental cheese and Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese use the genus
Proprionibacterium (creates CO2 bubbles that make the familiar holes in the
cheese). These bacteria can make large amounts of
in the form of MK-9
Fermented soy foods - the most important
bacteria are Bacillus genus, which create the MK-7 subform
of K2. Studies demonstrate that
higher blood levels of MK-7 (obtained by
consuming Bacillus in fermented soy)
are associated with lower risk of hip
fracture in older Japanese women. Natto has been an integral part of Asian
cuisine for many centuries. Bacillus
(E.g. B. subtilis var. natto strain used in natto production) has
the potential ability to stay alive for
several days in the lower intestine after
consumption providing the body with
Newborns are sometimes given
shots to prevent intracranial hemorrhage –
to tide them over until at just over a week old,
their intestinal bacteria produce K2 and the
the infant has been ingesting K in
colostrum, breastmilk or non-soy based
formula (contains more K than breastmilk);
circumstances, gut bacteria
or enzymes in cell metabolism can convert
from food and convert it into
maintaining an optimal balance between the K1
and K2 forms of this vitamin. The mammary
glands are especially efficient at producing K2
from K1, presumeably to supply growing
Certain factors can interfere with the
Older individuals (over age 70) require higher levels of
Tsugawa N, Shiraki M, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2006
Fat absorption problems
conversion ratio is said to be
about 10:1 and is enhanced by the
presence of fat
Although animals can convert
evidence suggests that the human
diet needs to contain preformed K2 for optimal health:
bacteria can convert
we seem unable to affectively absorb more than a small amount of the
K2 they produce - since most
of the vitamin K2 produced in the intestine
are embedded within bacterial membranes.
Unden, G. and J. Bongaerts (1997).
"Alternative respiratory pathways of Escherichia coli: energetics and
transcriptional regulation in response to electron acceptors." Biochim Biophys
Acta 1320(3): 217-234.
is preferentially used by the liver to make blood clotting factors –
whilst K2 is preferentially used
for other tissues, and much more than just bones
K2 is inversely associated with
heart disease in humans while intake of
Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE, Schurgers LJ, Knapen MHJ, van der Meer IM,
Hofman A and Witteman JCM. “Dietary intake of
menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: The
Rotterdam Study” November 2004;
J Nutr 134:3100-3105
Vitamin K2 is
at least three times more effective than
at activating proteins related to skeletal
K2 (MK-7) increased the percentage of
OSTEOCALCIN in humans three times more powerfully than did synthetic
Schurgers LJ, Vermeer C., 2000. Determination of Phylloquinone and Menaquinones
in Food. Haemostasis. 2000; 30: 298-307
The study showing
dramatic role in treating prostate cancer,
vitamin K1 had
Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC),
is better absorbed than
and remains active much longer
is cleared by the liver within 8 hours,
but measurable levels of
have been detected 72 hours after ingestion
Teunissen KJ 2007)
absorption from natto
is almost 100%, compared to
absorption rate from 200-400g green vegetables, which ranges from 5-15%
depending on how much fat is present –
interestingly, absorption rate is
higher for smaller portions (~5oz spinach is 17%, ~2oz serving is 28%)
Gijsbers et al., 1996; Garber et al, 1999
Phylloquinones present in green
leafy vegetables are tightly bound to the thylakoid membranes in plant
chloroplasts, and are not well solubilized and absorbed without the concomitant
intake of fat, which stimulates bile secretion
Gijsbers et al., 1996; Schurgers and Vermeer, 2000; Schurgers, 2002;
Vermeer et al., 2004
K2 is carried
in the lymph in mixed micelles composed of bile salts, and subsequently released
into the circulation.
Higher /more stable plasma levels of
were reached with supplements containing
vitamin K2 (MK-7)
compared to those
The length of the side
chain of the menaquinone form affects bioavailability -
medium-length side chains
(e.g., MK-7) are better absorbed compared to those with short (MK-4) or long
(e.g., MK-8 and MK-9) side chains
Schurgers and Vermeer, 2000; Schurgers, 2002.
Humans appear to have a
finite ability to absorb vitamin K1 from vegetables, which dietary source may
not be enough to support skeletal needs –
US mean intake of K1 is <150
mcg/day and blood levels increase with dietary intake up to 200 mcg/day, after
which they plateau. The Dutch have a mean intake of 250 mcg/day, but their K1
plasma levels have no relationship to dietary intake,
et al, 2002) suggesting that humans are unable to absorb much more
than 200 mcg of K1 /day from vegetables. As mentioned above, our absorption of
K1 declines as the amount we consume increases
strengthening the interpretation that we might only be able to absorb
~200 mcg/day. Study subjects required an oral dose of 1000mcg of a highly
absorbable pharmacological preparation of vitamin K1 to maximize the activation
of proteins important to bone metabolism.
(Binkley et al, 2002)
If we can only absorb
one-fifth of this amount from vegetables,
we cannot support our skeletal system with vitamin K1 regardless of how
efficiently we may be able to convert it to vitamin K2.
vitamin K ( as other fat-soluble vitamins
E.g. A, D and E)
depends on healthy
liver, gallbladder and digestive function - deficiency is more
likely in people with digestive problems such as pancreatic disease, celiac
disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or
those who have had intestinal bypass surgery.
Binkley NC, Grueger DC, Kawahara TN, Engelke JA, Chappell RJ, Suttie JW. 2002. A
high phylloquinone intake is required to achieve maximal osteocalcin
Am J Clin Nutr. 2002; 76: 1055-60.
Garber AK, Binkley NC, Krueger DC, Suttie JW. 1999. Comparison of
Phylloquinone Bioavailability from Food Sources or a Supplement in Human
Subjects. J Nutr. 1999; 129: 1201-1203.
Gijsbers BLMG, Jie K-SG, Vermeer
C. 1996. Effect of food composition on
vitamin K absorption in human volunteers.
Br J Nutr. 1996; 76: 223-229.
McKeown NM, Jacques PF, Gundberg CM, Peterson JW, Tucker KL, Kiel KP, Wilson
PWF, Booth SL.2002. Dietary and nondietary determinants of vitamin K biochemical
measures in men and women.
J Nutr. 2002; 132(6): 1329-1334.
Schurgers LJ, Vermeer C., 2000.
Determination of Phylloquinone and Menaquinones in Food. Haemostasis.
2000; 30: 298-307
Teunissen KJF, Hamulyak K, Knapen MHJ, Hogne V, Vermeer C.
2007. Vitamin K-containing dietary supplements:
comparison of synthetic
vitamin K1 and natto-derived menaquinone-7.
2006; [Epub ahead of print].
Vermeer, C. 2003. Pharmacokinetics of
after ingestion of natto
food and natto capsules. (Natto-1 Study). VitaK/University of Maastricht.
Research Project, July 25, 2003.
Vermeer, C., Shearer, M.J., Zittermann,
A., Bolton-Smith, C., Szulc, P., Hodges, S., Walter, P., Rambeck, W., Stocklin,
E., Weber, P. 2004. Beyond deficiency: Potential benefits of increased intakes
of vitamin K
for bone and vascular health. Eur. J. Nutr. 43(6), 325-335.
Is K stored in the body?
Although vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, the body stores very little of it,
and its stores are rapidly depleted without regular dietary intake
Unlike the other
fat-soluble nutrients (vitamins A, D and E),
significantly stored in the body - Beneficial bacteria
(called probiotics) produce vitamin K2,
but absorption of this source is poor (especially in those with digestive
problems) and most people are short of
these beneficial bacteria.
Vitamin K must be provided
daily to avoid a K- deficiency, which can develop in as few as 7 days on a
vitamin K-deficient diet.
Israels LG, Israels ED, et al,
The riddle of vitamin K1 deficit in the
Semin Perinatol. 1997
cycle conserves K –
allowing a small amount of
vitamin K to be recycled many times in the
gamma-carboxylation of proteins. (see
Health Benefits of
Vitamin K). Warfarin/Coumadin
blocks this recycling, effectively creating a functional K-deficiency
Some Good Online K references
Linus Pauling Institute: