Vitamin K might be the least popular among all the fat soluble vitamins. Moreover, you won’t be seeing any supplements that are made of Vitamin K alone. It’s usually incorporated in multivitamins together with other vitamins and minerals. But how important is it and what does it do for our body? Here are the details:
But first, what is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone, is a form of Vitamin K that can be found in animal sources and fermented food sources. It has a lot of benefits compared to its counterpart Vitamin K1.
1. Acts as an activator of two proteins and facilitates the proper distribution of calcium
Vitamin K2 activates two proteins, namely osteocalcin and matrix-GLA. The former protein is essential in proper facilitation of calcium minerals in bones and teeth. On the other hand, the latter activates proteins such as elastin and collagen.
Vitamin K2’s primary role is to transport calcium to the areas needed by the body, such as the bones and teeth. Not only that, but it also regulates and prevents calcification of other body areas such as blood vessels, arteries, kidneys, and other soft tissues. Vitamin K2 is useful for preventing conditions such as varicose veins, kidney stones, and heel spurs.
2. Prevents inflammation
Vitamin K2 also exists in two forms, the MK-4 and MK-7. A study conducted in Belgium found evidence that Vitamin K2, particularly MK-7, can prevent inflammation from occurring in the body. This form of the vitamin inhibits markers in the body that signals inflammation. Usually, these markers are produced by our white blood cells. A high concentration of white blood cells in the body dictates the presence of an infection or inflammation.
3. Regulates blood sugar and prevents type II diabetes
The protein osteocalcin, which is activated by Vitamin K2, has other functions aside from calcium distribution in the body. It also has a role in maintaining proper glucose metabolism in the body. Therefore, vitamin K2 is essential for proper blood sugar regulation. If glucose can be metabolized appropriately, there will be no problem in terms of insulin production. This will prevent type II diabetes from developing.
4. Enhances energy expenditure during exercise
Vitamin K2 also helps the skeletal muscle to use energy efficiently during aerobic respiration such as exercise. It triggers a signal to the muscles to convert sugars and fats into energy. Regular intake of vitamin K2 might have potential in helping athletes to improve their endurance and use energy more efficiently during their workout and training.
5. Regulates hormone production
Some studies prove that Vitamin K2 has a vital role in hormone production, especially in women. Results showed that Vitamin K, coupled with supplementation of Vitamin D, showed significantly decreased levels of dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone in women. These two hormones are highly expressed in women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, which can affect fertility.
Regular intake of vitamin K2 also has positive effects on men. Studies showed that MK-4 is being utilized in steroid production. Moreover, it can generate an increase in testosterone levels.
6. Has anti-cancer potential
A study conducted in the University of Illinois revealed that Vitamin K2 has a chemopreventive mechanism against prostate cancer. Specifically, the mode of action of K2 is apoptosis, which is a mechanism of programmed cell death. Apoptosis removes damaged cells, which can include cancer-forming cells. Another study showed that vitamin K2 has a function in inhibiting the adhesion and proliferation of breast cancer cells.
Introduction of a diet rich in Vitamin K2 in cancer patients may reduce the risk of the disease and can be beneficial in cancer treatment and management.
7. Promotes cardiac health
Calcification of soft tissues such as the heart, as well as arteries and veins, can increase the risk of cardiac diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and even a heart attack. Vitamin K2 prevents calcium from getting into the circulatory system, therefore reducing the occurrence of these cardiovascular diseases.
8. Promotes cognitive health
Vitamin K2, uniquely matrix-GLA has a vital role in the prevention of stroke. Also, it has been proven to prevent damage and death of nerve cells that can result in brain damage. Vitamin K2 has a role in blocking oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
Not only that, vitamin K2 has memory-boosting benefits, too, by promoting an increased blood flow in the brain.
Vitamin K2 is the least popular in all the vitamins known today, but you’ll be impressed by the benefits it can do to your body. Aside from the proper distribution of calcium in the body, it can also help you achieve better heart and brain health. Not only that, but it also has anti-cancer properties. So make sure to include animal protein source and fermented foods in your diet for your regular intake of this amazing vitamin.