Every few years, a new superstar supplement enters the spotlight. And right now, the latest and greatest is vitamin K2.
Now, my patients and longtime readers will recognize immediately that there’s nothing “new” about K2. I’ve been recommending this supplement for years. But the fact is that, until now, it never quite got the recognition it deserves.
So just in case you can’t quite remember our previous conversations — or if this actually is the first time you’re hearing about vitamin K2 — I’ll tell you exactly why this nutrient deserves every bit of the hype it’s received…
Vitamin K isn’t as common as you think
Let’s start with the basics: Vitamin K, as a blanket term, refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds. And because your body can only store so much K at one time, it’s important to periodically “stock up” on vitamin K-rich foods to avoid deficiency.
There are two main types of K — vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone, or MK). K1 is abundant in leafy greens, and makes up 90 percent of most Americans’ vitamin K intake.
Depending on the food source, you’ll encounter different subgroups of K2. Meat, for example, is rich in menaquinone-4, or MK-4. While fermented foods, like the Japanese soybean dish natto, are rich in MK-7 — which also happens to be the most active form of the K2 nutrient. (Interestingly, your microbiome, or gut, can generate K2 as well, though scientists are still figuring out the mechanics behind that.)
Most of our K2 comes from animals that generate the nutrient from the K1-rich grass diet. So clearly, grain-fed livestock presents a problem for consumption — with lower K2 levels emerging as another consequence of humans meddling with the food supply.
K2 is even lower in lean and low-fat animal products. So needless to say, mainstream nutritional guidelines aren’t helping anyone meet their daily quota. And you can count the recommended daily allowance (RDA) among this nonsense, which advises a low and rather useless 120 micrograms for men and 90 micrograms for women.
Unfortunately, modern medicine doesn’t really acknowledge a difference between K1 and K2. This is unfortunate, because structurally, there are some big ones. And in the case of K2, at least, it means bigger benefits to your health, too.
Safe, drug-free bone protection
K2’s strongest evidence demonstrates its efficacy as a bone builder and heart protector. (Not a shocker to me, of course — but clearly news to the powers-that-be, bless their hearts…)
Let me explain. Generally speaking, vitamin K plays a key role in activating bone-forming proteins. K2, in particular, pulls calcium into the bones and blocks bone breakdown when paired with vitamin D3. And the MK-7 form of K2 is especially good at this — which is why it’s the form that I generally recommend.
Ultimately, supplementing with K2 — either alone, or in combination with D3 and calcium — can reduce your fracture risk by as much as 80 percent. And studies show it also helps osteoporotic patients to maintain bone density.
In fact, one 2017 review suggested that a combination of K2 and D3 combats osteoporosis just as effectively as bisphosphonate drugs. But of course, without the risk of toxicity or other notorious side effects — like jaw bone loss.
(I recently wrote about the dangers of bisphosphonates and other bone drugs in the March 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives, entitled “URGENT WARNING: Study shows popular osteoporosis drugs destroy bones — from the inside out.” Subscribers can read this article by accessing my full archives via www.DrPescatore.com. If you’re not yet a subscriber, simply click here.)
So it may not surprise you that K2 supplementation is now standard of care for treating osteoporosis in Japan. (A far cry from the U.S., where it’s just one expensive bone drug after another.)
Vitamin K2 has also been found to activate proteins that block the buildup of calcium on your blood vessel walls. However, research shows that deficiencies can actually contribute directly to calcification. And here’s why that’s such a big deal…
Recently, unfounded reports made headlines and caused much alarm upon linking calcium supplementation among older adults and postmenopausal women to increased heart risk. As it turns out, this risk is completely preventable by simply pairing your calcium with K2.
In fact, K2 is just plain good for your heart — period. A recent study including about 4,800 subjects showed that people with high K2 intakes not only benefited from reductions in aortic calcification — but also steep declines in heart disease and all-cause mortality risk. And the real kicker: K1 had no such protective benefits.
The bottom line is this: K1 isn’t enough — and neither is calcium or magnesium. If you really want to do your bones and your heart a favor, take your calcium and magnesium with K2 as MK-7 instead. I generally advise 45 mcg, twice per day. You can easily find this supplement in most grocery stores, pharmacies, health supplement stores, or via online retailers.
And for more all-natural options to prevent and reverse heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, check out my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. Click here to learn more, or sign up today.