What Makes Vitamin K So Special?
Vitamin K may not be a vitamin that you would regularly reach for; it often appears as an added ingredient in bone supplements, but lately, it is become a stand-alone vitamin and for good reason. Vitamin K is most well known for being responsible for blood clotting. Blood cannot clot without vitamin K because it activates the protein that is responsible for forming clots. Vitamin K is often added to supplements for bone health because
it helps to convert specific proteins within your body required for bone production. New research has identified Vitamin K as a critical element in the growth and maintenance of the bone matrix that tends to break down with ageing. It has shown promising results in the prevention of hip fractures and osteopenia, especially in postmenopausal women. Vitamin K, when teamed up with Vitamin D, helps the calcium you consume or acquire from supplements get to your bones where it is needed. Without it, your bones would not hold on to the calcium as efficiently. Lack of calcium in bones is related to osteoporosis. If the calcium in your body is not getting into your bones where it is needed, it enters into the bloodstream, which over time can cause calcification of the arteries. Vitamin K plays a primary role in delaying the accumulation of calcium build up in the artery walls, especially with individuals that are taking warfarin. (Warfarin is a blood-thinning drug that inhibits the body’s uptake of Vitamin K, causing a deficiency). Calcification (mineralization) of the arterial walls naturally occurs with age, the result of which can create a build-up of minerals causing the arterial walls to change from smooth muscle cells into hard “bone-like cells,” which reduce the elasticity of the artery and over time reduces the effectiveness of blood flow, (hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis).
Understanding Where Vitamin K Comes From
There are three types of Vitamin K. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), which is obtained through the consumption of green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone), which is found in some sources of meat, organ meat and egg yolks and natto. Vitamin K3 is a synthetic form of the vitamin. K3 may have toxic effects on the liver. Your body uses bacteria in your large intestine to convert Vitamin K1 into Vitamin K2, which is then stored in your fatty tissue and liver, then transported to your cells. The amount of Vitamin K your body has on reserve depends on the health of your gut (where conversion begins). Certain medications affect your vitamin K reserves, as well malabsorption diseases (Crohn's, Colitis, Celiac disease). The Vitamin
K2 form is presumed to be more effective for the absorption and prevention of the illnesses mentioned above. We like Natural Factors Vitamin K2. It contains MK-7, the most bioavailable form of Vitamin K derived naturally from natto bean, (natto is a fermented soybean). Due to the effect of Vitamin K and blood clotting, consult your physician if you are on medications for blood thinners.
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