• Liyan Lu

Vitamin K

Updated: Sep 23

Dr. Leon Schurgers researched vitamin K at Maastricht University in the Netherlands 20 years ago. He is currently one of the leading researchers in the world on vitamin K. He found out vitamin K2 (K2) is virtually equivalent to vitamin D for bone health and prevent severe arterial calcifications. Before, vitamin K1 (K1) and K2 were only well known for blood coagulation in the past. K2 actives the vitamin K-dependent proteins, which help load calcium in the bones and stop calcium deposits on the intravascular lining. K2 helps calcium stay where it needs and removes calcium away from where it should not be. K2 also is essential for blood flow into the brain. It may help prevent plaque deposits in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and deliver cellular energy for Parkinson's patients.

Scientists found that Vitamin K1 mainly goes to the liver and stays, then breaks down there. K2 also goes to the liver and is transported into the bones and vasculature for its job. K1 is highly available in green, leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. But the absorption of vitamin K1 from food is only 10%. Bacteria produce K2 in fermentation, and K2 is nearly 100% absorbed. The fermented foods contain certain bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis making K2. People can get 400 to 500 mcg of vitamin K2 (a clinically therapeutic dose) in a two-ounce serving of fermented vegetables using a starter culture specifically designed to optimize K2.

Dr. Schurgers recommends eating a minimum of 200 grams of vegetables for vitamin K1 and consuming the fermented food for K2 daily. He clarifies it is safe to consume vitamin K for people who are not taking an oral anticoagulant drug. But people using blood thinner medication should check with their doctor and do prothrombin measurements before taking vitamin K, which could reduce the anticoagulants effect.

Measuring the active and inactive forms of MGP (vitamin K-dependent protein matrix Gla protein) in the blood is more accurate to determine if a person's sufficiency in vitamin K or not. Checking the vitamin K level only reveals what you ate the day before, and it is hard to judge the sufficiency or deficiency.

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