Posted on 20 January 2020 with 0 comments
What do you know about vitamin K2? Would you be able to list its characteristics and explain the importance it has on your overall health?
In this article, we will cover all the fundamental notions about this particular vitamin, also known as “menaquinone,” and considered to be a primary ally in the anti-aging process, the prevention of several illnesses, and the maintenance of bone health.
Vitamin K and its subdivision into three groups
The first thing we have to remember is that vitamin K is a fat-soluble component that accumulates in the liver and does not need to be taken continuously through the diet. Our body takes care of releasing this vitamin gradually, when its presence is useful to the activities of the body.
The fundamental purpose of vitamin K is to provide valuable assistance in blood coagulation while ensuring the functionality of the proteins that guarantee good bone health.
Vitamin K is divided into three main groups:
- Vitamin K1, aka filokinone. It comes from vegetables and is assimilated through the diet. It plays a key role in the blood clotting process.
- Vitamin k2, aka menaquinone. It is of bacterial origin, and its role is to promote the absorption of intestinal micro flora, which is vital for keeping bones and teeth in good health.
- Vitamin K3, aka water-soluble menadione. Its origin is synthetic. It can be found in drugs that are specially formulated to regulate blood-clotting processes.
Vitamin K2: a formidable ally for your teeth and bones
Vitamin K2 is synthesized by various bacteria that are naturally present in our intestinal flora, and especially by Gram+ bacteria.
One of the critical features of this vitamin is its ability to activate a particular protein, called Osteocalcin, which helps to incorporate calcium into our bones and teeth. In practical terms, a body that produces the right amount of vitamin K2 will be less prone to bone fractures, regardless of bone mineralization levels.
When associated with vitamin D, vitamin K2 creates a synergy that contributes positively to bone density. It also stimulates the calcification of cartilage tissues, strengthens the structure of intervertebral rings, contrasts the development of degenerative osteoarthritis – particularly spondylarthrosis.
What are the other practical benefits of this precious vitamin?
- Increased dental mineralization
- Reduced risk of bone fractures
- Reduced risk of osteoporosis
- Improved bone architecture
- Improved calcium apposition for bones and teeth
- Osteoclastic inhibition
- Increased bone mass during the developmental phase
- Improvement of diabetes, with better control of insulin peaks and carbohydrate metabolism
- Preventive action in cardiovascular diseases thanks to the activation of the MGP protein, that helps to remove calcium in excess from soft tissues and arteries
- Prevention of neoplastic proliferation, especially in prostate and lung cancer, but also in myeloma and leukaemia, breast and liver cancer
- Support in the management of hepatitis C
- Anti-aging action caused by antagonizing the normal aging process of the body
- Prevention of brain damage in case of stroke
- Positive neurotrophic activity in the hippocampus, with a positive action on the survival of different types of neuronal cells
- Anti-inflammatory effect, very useful in the case of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
In general, and mainly when associated with other vitamins such as D, C or A, vitamin K2 not only contributes to a wide range of functions in the body but also prevents calcium in excess from depositing in the soft tissues and the arteries. Moreover, vitamin K2 favours the assimilation of calcium in the bones and teeth, contributing to their maintenance and health.
To encourage the synthesis of vitamin K2 by the body, it is always suggested to consume foods such as natto (fermented soybeans), egg yolks, butter and fermented cheese.