Do you have osteoporosis or weak fragile bones? Are you taking either calcium or vitamin D or both? Are you suffering from heart disease or cardiovascular problem? Do you know what can happen to your body if you don’t have this little known vitamin? How many of you know about vitamin K2, probably some of you know some doesn’t. Vitamin K2 plays extremely crucial rules in terms of cardiovascular as well as bone health. Here you will know about Vitamin K2-A crucial vitamin for benefits of heart and bone health.
Vitamin K2 belongs to vitamin K family which mean it needs fat for processing inside your body. And also your body can store it. You may probably heard role of vitamin K for the case of proteins which we need for blood clotting. Vitamin K has two groups, vitamin K1 (single molecule, Phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (multi molecule, menaquinones). They differ from each other in terms of length and also from degree of saturation of carbon tail. Although both belong to the same group each of them provide health benefits through very different way.
Vitamin K2-A crucial vitamin for benefits of heart and bone health
Scientific study had shown amount of calcium deposit in artery put you in risk of cardiovascular disease, larger the amount deposited greater the risk. Calcium deposits lead to formation of hard plaque in artery as well as narrowing and hardening. Which further interrupt blood flow.Coronary artery calcification is associated with heart diseases by narrowing coronary artery. (2)
On 4180 subjects from the population-based study, Hermann et al. found that individuals suffering a stroke have significantly higher coronary artery calcification (CAC) values at baseline than the remaining individuals. Further they concluded that coronary artery calcification is an independent stroke predictor in addition to classical risk factors for those patients at low or intermediate vascular risk. (1)
But problem is here. You don’t want calcium deposition in your blood vessel but also need calcium circulation as calcium has vital roles in your health.
Matrix Gla protein(MGP) an extracellular protein plays important role which accumulates calcium and thus inhibits calcium deposition in artery. MGP has two forms active and inactive and inactive MGP requires vitamin K to carboxylate it for its activation. Deficiency or impairment of MGP or blocking carboxylation i.e. absence of vitamin K action or low vitamin K level lead to rapid and extreme calcification of the artery. Activity of MGP completely depends upon vitamin K, and thereby also can be modulated by extra vitamin K intake. Since MGP is a peripheral protein, vitamin K2 is the vitamin mostly available to carboxylate MGP.(3,4,5)
Numbers of studies had shown dietary K2 helps in preventing calcium deposition as well as lower coronary heart disease. Vitamin K2 improves arterial function, stiffness as well as its ability to contract and relax. (6,7,8)Another study on 402 participants as published in the journal of Hypertension in 2017 found that combination of low vitamin D and K was associated with increased blood pressure and a trend for greater hypertension risk.(9)
Related article 9 proven ways to lower your risk of heart disease.
An active process runs through your bones which involves osteoblasts (absorption) and osteoclasts(reabsorption). Reabsorption refers to breakdown of old tissue and absorption refers to reconstruct your structure with new tissues. And so your body need both the process absorption as well reabsorption for healthy structure. In osteoblasts a protein osteocalcin promotes the accumulation of calcium in your bones as well as teeth. And K2 activates it to be absorbed by your bones.(10)
Vitamin D promotes production of vitamin K dependent protein which requires vitamin K for activation. While vitamin D helps in absorption of calcium from food and maintains its blood levels vitamin K helps in placing calcium in right place i.e. in your bones not in blood vessel. (11, 12)
Three years study of supplementation of vitamin K2 (MK-7) on 244 postmenopausal women had shown MK-7 improves bone strength, prevent bone loss as well as significantly decreases the loss in vertebral height.(13)
Joint supplementation of vitamins D and K might be more effective than the consumption of either alone for bone and cardiovascular health.(14)
Is there any link between osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease?
In a cross-sectional, population-based study of 2,543 men and 2,726 postmenopausal women aged 55-74 years indicates that low bone mass is associated with an increased risk of echogenic calcified atherosclerotic plaques. (15)Other studies had also shown association of bone health with cardiovascular diseases.(16,17, 18)
Calcium supplementation and risk of cardiovascular disease
You have an idea now where the calcium can go if you don’t have vitamin K2. It can deposit in your artery rather than bones in absence of vitamin K2.
A 12 year follow up study on of 388 229 men and women aged 50 to 71 years suggest that high intake of supplemental calcium is associated with an excess risk of CVD death in men but not in women.(19)
Calcium supplements, with or without vitamin D, are widely used for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. But a seven year, randomized, placebo controlled trial in 36 282 community dwelling postmenopausal women had concluded Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D has increased risk of cardiovascular disease.(20)
Another study conducted on 10,555 52-62-year-old women had also shown Calcium or calcium+D supplementation appears to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. (21)
Overall vitamin K2 is a very crucial nutrient that our body needs. It has very important roles in not only heart and bone health but also in some other critical parts of the body. As fat soluble vitamin you need small amount of fats along with it. Food sources of vitamin K2 are very limited. Vitamin K2 can be considered as important nutrient for bone health along with calcium magnesium vitamin D and Zinc. Study had shown dairy product enriched with D3, K1 or K2(MK-7) and calcium had significantly increases bone mineral density with more favorable changes. (22) Magnesium is needed for calcium magnesium balance as well as many other important function. Zinc has also has many healing properties. You can consider MK7 is one best form of vitamin K2.
Some supplementation come together with D3 along with K2 in health food store. You may also combine calcium and magnesium. You can also read my next article with other important roles of vitamin K2 on critical parts of the body along with food source as well as daily dose. Stay tuned.
You can read more more Vitamin K2 food source database and also why you need vitamin K2 supplementation in present environment.
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.
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2. Kohichiro Iwasaki and Takeshi Matsumoto,Relationship between coronary
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