In the present environment food sources of vitamin K2 is not very encouraging. Food sources of phylloquinone or K1 are abandoned mainly from the leafy green. However, sources of menaquinone are limited. For the synthesis of menaquinones, it needs a bacterial presence except for MK-4. I have picked databases and shortlisted best vitamin K2 food sources with the highest content. I don’t know how much it will help you.
In earlier I talked about how vitamin K2 places calcium of circulation in right places i.e. in bones as well as teeth and prevent calcium deposition in blood vessels.
I also discussed benefits of vitamin K2 in neurological as well as brain health, skin or beauty, in prevention of kidney stones, cancers and also may improve in insulin sensitivity. We also discussed in the same article about the best form of Vitamin K2 or menaquinones, daily adequate dose as well as safety and interaction.
Daily Adequate Intake
Before jumping to the sources you should know how much vitamin K2 do you need on a daily basis on an average. MK-4 and MK-7 are the two most studied vitamin K2 or menaquinones and also have similar health benefits.
Although it is not updated in all regions till now, research suggests daily as 45-50mcg for children and as up to 180 micrograms for adults as the safest upper limit. (1) . Vitamin K2 has not reported any adverse result due to its low potential for toxicity. For that reason, it appears as extremely safe. As it has blood coagulant properties people taking anticoagulant medicine such as warfarin, should consult with a healthcare providers first.
Also read MK-4 VS MK-7: which form of vitamin K2 should you take?
Some Best vitamin K2 food sources
Natto is probably the richest food source of vitamin K2 with MK-7 as major traditionally made from fermented soy food in Japan. 100 g of natto contains more than 800 mcg of MK-7 in general. However as it is a fermented food the bacterial derived smell some people may like or dislike. If you can tolerate it you can try for it.
However all the soy forms are not necessarily healthy in fact many soy products available in the super market are from genetically modified sources. Alternatively you may also use other beans like black bean in place of soybean. Black bean natto contains nearly same amount of K2 content as soybean natto. During fermentation beans become more easily digestible and absorptive. You may also add proper topping or seasonings to taste better or reduce the scent.
Cheonggukjang is an another fermented soybean food used in Korean cuisine. It contains whole as well as ground soybeans. 100 g of cheonggukjang has menaquinone content ranging from 112 mcg to 461 mcg majorly in the form of MK-7. (2)
Organ meat from an animal source
Goose liver may contain 317-419 mcg per 100g as MK-4, Goose leg contains 28.2-33.1mcg per 100g as MK-4, chicken breast and legs contain around 8 mcg per 100g as MK-4. (3)Other meat like bovine, pork, beef contains more or less amount of K2 which varies region wise.
Australian emu oil
Both Australian emu oil and gouda cheese are rich sources of MK-4.
Egg yolk also contains MK-4 with varying percentages depending upon region, food habits, etc.
Cheese and butter also contains vitamin K2. Hard cheese is a better source of Vitamin K2 than soft cheese.
Other sources contains comparatively lesser content of K2. I have also attached a list below.
Factors that affect vitamin K2 content in food sources:
- Vitamin K2 content may vary in the same food sources from region to region
- Vitamin K2 has fat-soluble property therefore stored in fat
- Whether the animals were raised on grass-fed or grain-fed food sources. Grass-fed sources are better sources of MK-4 due to the conversion of K1 to K2 in general. Usually, MK-4 is stored in organs. You can’t expect a good source of K2 from grain feed animal sources of foods.
- The strain of bacterial culture
- Length of fermenting
We have already got enough evidence about how crucial vitamin K especially vitamin K2 is to our health. Some traditional foods have high menaquinones content. However, as we all are from the different region it is hard to get benefits from those. With progress of industrialization peoples are eating less greens, the grass-fed animal is converting to grain fed. Mammalian can convert phylloquinone to MK4 to an extent but will it enough for replenishing the store? Human gut microflora also produces long-chain menaquinones or K2 but can our body utilize it? I will come in the coming article. If you are taking varying foods with vitamin K2 content from the right sources, you may balance K2 intake to an extent.
Menaquinone content (μg or mcg/100 g; mean ± SD or range)(4)
Representative ranges of measured menaquinone concentration in food.
nd stands for not determined; nr stands for reported.
|2 ± 3||nr||nr||939 ± 753||nr||nr||nr|
|Hikiwari natto (chopped natto)||nd||nr||nr||827 ± 194||nr||nr||nr|
|Black bean natto||nd||nr||nr||796 ± 93||nr||nr|| nr |
|Beef liver||0.4 ± 0.4||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr|
|Bovine liver||6.8 ± 1.03||nd||9.44 ± 0.118||25.6 ± 0.59||13.8 ± 0.55||9.8 ± 0.7||14±1.7|
|Pork liver||10.8 ± 1.44||nd||nd||16 ± 2.7||25 ± 5.2||6 ± 1.8||8±2.9|
|Chicken liver||14.1 ± 2.0||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr|
|Pork thigh||6 ± 2||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr|
|Pork chop||3.1 ± 0.46||nd||nd||0.12 ± 0.035||nd||nd||nd|
|Chicken thigh||27 ± 15||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|Chicken meat, leg and thigh||60 ± 8.2||nd||nd||nd||nd||nd||nd|
|Whole egg||7 ± 3||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|Egg white||1 ± 1||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|Egg yolk||64 ± 31||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|Whole milk||2 ± 0.3||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|Milk 1% fat||0.3–0.4||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr|
|Milk 2% fat||0.4–0.5||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr||nr|
|Cream||8 ± 3||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|21 ± 7||nr||nr||nd||nr||nr||nr|
|Soft||3.3–3.9||0.2 –0.4||0.5–0.7||0.9 – 1.1||10.7–12.2||35.1–42.7||nr|
|Processed||5 ± 2||nr||nr||0.3 ± 0.1||nr||nr||nr|
|Caerphilly||nr||nr||1.6 ± 0.1||nd||1.6 ± 0.1||32.4 ± 0.8||nd|
|Cheshire||nr||nr||1.6± 0.2||nd||5.8 ± 0.2||24.2 ± 0.4||nd|
|Edam||3.3 ± 0.2||1.0 ± 0.1||0.6 ± 0.1||1.3 ± 0.1||10.5 ± 0.8||30.0 ± 2.6||0.9 ± 0.1|
|Gamalost||1.0 ± 0.0||0.6 ± 0.0||0.3 ± 0.0||0.9 ± 0.1||4.8 ± 0.7||42.3 ± 7.0||2.1 ±0.4|
|Leicester||nr||nr||2.0 ± 0.1||2.1 ± 0.1||4.8 ± 0.2||16.2 ± 0.3||4.4 ± 0.2|
|Norvegia||5.1 ± 0.9||nd||0.3 ± 0.1||1.3 ± 0.2||5.3 ± 0.5||29.6 ± 3.6||nd|
|Whole milk, sour||0.6 ± 0.02||0.3 ± 0.002||0.2 ± 0.03||0.4 ± 0.04||2.0 ± 0.1||4.7 ± 0.2||nd|
|Whole||1 ± 0.1||nr||nr||0.1 ± 0.2||nr||nr||nr|
|Plain||0.4 ± 0.03||0.1 ± 0.006||nd||nd||nd||nd||nd|
Disclaimer: Information provided here are generalized information for
educational purpose only, not intended to provide one to one health
consultation or replace practice of a qualified practitioner. Different
people may have different health condition and may have different reaction
to the same food. Hence it has been advised to consult with health care
provider before application of any of above guidelines.
Source and References:
1.Beulens JW, Booth SL, van den Heuvel EG, Stoecklin E, Baka A, Vermeer
C.,The role of menaquinones (vitamin K₂) in human health,
Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(8):1357-68
2.Muhammad Yasin, Masood Sadiq Butt and Aurang Zeb (March 22nd 2017).
Vitamin K2 Rich Food Products, Vitamin K2, Jan Oxholm Gordeladze,
IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/63902. Available from:
3.Determination of Phylloquinone and Menaquinones in Food, Effect of Food
Matrix on Circulating Vitamin K Concentrations, Schurgers L.J. · Vermeer
C., Haemostasis 2000;30:298–307
4.Barbara Walther and Magali Chollet (March 22nd 2017). Menaquinones,
Bacteria, and Foods: Vitamin K2 in the Diet, Vitamin K2, Jan Oxholm
Gordeladze, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/63712. Available from:
Nice continuing article on vitamin K. Yes it is an important vitamin. Plays role in many physiological processes. We must make sure a daily intake.
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