"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vitamin K2 - Kicking Butt and Taking Names

The mighty vitamin K2. Not K1 (phylloquinone or phytonadione) or K3 (synthetic) but K2 (menaquinone)--the forgotten giant. Vitamin K2 is a necessary cofactor for facilitating the removal of calcium from arteries and for its deposition into bone . Think decreased chance of cardiac-related death, and osteoporosis and hip replacement prevention. The protein found in atherosclerotic plaque that depends greatly on vitamin K2 for getting rid of calcium is known as Matrix G1a-protein (MGP), and in the bone the vitamin K2-starved protein is known as osteocalcin. Calcified plaque is more prone to burst so one can appreciate the benefit of not having excess calcium loaded into his or her arteries. Osteoporotic bone is vulnerable to breakage so calcium assimilation there is da bomb.

Where does one find Vitamin K2 in the food pyramid? In foods demonized because they're either fat-, salt- or cholesterol-infested. Foods like meat, egg yolks, fermented cheese, curds and natto. We've all heard that vitamin K is plentiful in green, leafy vegetables, but that's a reference to vitamin K1, not K2. There is slight conversion of some K1 to K2 in the body but the average American is likely low in K2 body stores. Perhaps this is a reason our milk-happy and calcium supplement-happy nation is still awash in heart disease and osteoporosis. Plenty of calcium but an element finding its way into an unwanted locations--arteries, and not finding its way into a desired location--bone! Vitamin D3 and the need to put away the sunscreen is a big player too in this calcium shuffle but that's a topic for another day.

In what is known as the Rotterdam Study (2004), scientists followed over 4,000 Holland residents for several years and monitored nonfatal heart attacks, coronary heart disease-related death and death from all causes, inclusively. Not surprisingly, the people with the most (but not too much) Vitamin K in their blood stream died less often both in the all-cause category and relative to coronary heart disease-related death. With respect to coronary heart disease-related death the relative risk reduction for the group with Vitamin K2 intake > 32.7 mcg/day was 57% less than group that consumed <21.6mcg/day.> Some propritary products that are likely suitable for supplementation include MenaQ7, Synergy K , Jarrow's MK-7 and mercola.com's Vitamin K2 .

And of course if you're taking the medication Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix (clopidogrel), aspirin or any other medication or product that "thins" the blood (increases your INR) never take a vitamin K supplement without consulting with your physician first. The same holds true if you have any condition(s) that affects your ability to clot. Vitamin K1 is used quite often in hospitals to combat bleeding or to lower the risk for bleeding.

Disclaimer: This post on observationhubie.blogspot.com, or any post on this blog for that matter, is NOT to be construed as medical advice. These posts are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or manage disease. Consult with your personal physician with regards to all health care matters.



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