One Crucial Vitamin Vegans Overlook! The Missing Link Between Diet, Disease and Death

Vitamin A, B, C and D get all the glory, as if the vitamins exist in the same sort of line-up-in-alphabetical-order, unjust universe of grade school. Life just isn’t fair for those middle children of the alphabet, is it? People never seem to get around to worrying about whether or not they get enough Vitamin K.

This vitamin is rare in the Western diet and hasn’t received much mainstream attention.

However… this powerful nutrient plays an essential role in many aspects of health.

In fact, vitamin K2 may just be the “missing link” between diet and several killer diseases.

Related: THIS DELICIOUS VEGAN FOOD IS NO1 AGAINST STROKE, HYPERTENSION, AND CHOLESTEROL!

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 as an essential nutrient for blood coagulation (blood clotting).

The initial discovery was reported in a German scientific journal, where it was called Koagulationsvitamin. That’s where the “K” comes from (1).

It was also discovered by the legendary dentist Weston Price, who travelled the world in the early 20th century studying the relationship between diet and disease in different populations.

He found that the non-industrial diets were high in some unidentified nutrient, which seemed to provide protection against tooth decay and chronic disease.

He referred to this mystery nutrient as Activator X, but this is now believed to have been Vitamin K2.

There are two main forms of Vitamin K… K1 (phylloquinone) is found in plant foods like leafy greens, whereas Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is found in animal foods and fermented foods (2).

Vitamin K2 can be further divided into several different subtypes, but the most important ones are MK-4 and MK-7.

Bottom Line: Vitamin K was initially discovered as a nutrient involved in blood clotting. There are two forms, K1 (plants) and K2 (animal foods).

Related: ONE OVERLOOKED PLANT THAT KILLS CANCER CELLS AND YOUR VEGAN DIET NEEDS!

How do Vitamins K1 and K2 Work?

Calcium is an incredibly important mineral.

It is more than just building material for bones and teeth, it plays a crucial role in all kinds of biological processes (3).

The main function of Vitamin K is modifying proteins to give them the ability to bind calcium.

In this way, it “activates” the calcium-binding properties of proteins.

However… the roles of Vitamin K1 and K2 are quite different and many feel that they should be classified as separate nutrients altogether.

Vitamin K1 is mostly used by the liver to activate calcium-binding proteins involved in blood clotting, while K2 is used to activate proteins that regulate where calcium ends up in the body (4).

Bottom Line: The main function of Vitamin K is to activate the calcium-binding properties of proteins. K1 is mostly involved in blood clotting, while K2 helps regulate where calcium ends up in the body.

Check out HOW ‘UNNATURAL’ IT IS TO BE VEGAN AND TAKE A SUPPLEMENT?

Vitamin K2 May Help Prevent Heart Disease

Calcium build-up in the arteries around the heart is a huge risk factor for heart disease (567).

For this reason, anything that can reduce this accumulation of calcium may help prevent heart disease.

This is where vitamin K2 is believed to help, by helping to prevent calcium from being deposited in the arteries (8).

In the Rotterdam study, those who had the highest intake of Vitamin K2 were 52% less likely to develop calcification of the arteries, and had a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease, over a 7-10 year period (9).

Another study of 16,057 women found that participants with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a much lower risk of heart disease. For every 10 micrograms of K2 they consumed per day, the risk of heart disease was reduced by 9% (10).

For the record, vitamin K1 had no influence in either of those studies.

{VEGAN FOODS CAN PROVIDE ALL NUTRIENTS UNLESS YOU ABSORB THEM POORLY! 3 CRUCIAL STEPS TO MAKE SURE YOU DO!}

Vitamin K2 May Help Improve Bone Health and Lower The Risk of Osteoporosis

One Crucial Vitamin Vegans Overlook! The Missing Link Between Diet, Disease and Death

Check out 5 SIGNS OF NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES THAT ARE WRITTEN ALL OVER YOUR FACE

Osteoporosis (“porous” bones) is a common problem in Western countries.

It is especially common among elderly women and strongly raises the risk of fractures.

As mentioned above, Vitamin K2 plays a central role in calcium metabolism, the main mineral found in bones.

Vitamin K2 activates the calcium-binding activity of two proteins called Matrix gla protein and osteocalcin, which help to build and maintain bones (1314).

Interestingly, there is also quite a bit of evidence from controlled trials that K2 has major benefits for bone health.

A 3-year trial in 244 postmenopausal women found that those taking vitamin K2 supplements had much slower decreases in age-related bone mineral density (15).

Lengthy studies on Japanese women have shown similar benefits, although they did use very high doses. Out of 13 trials, only one failed to show significant improvement.

Seven of those trials also reported fractures and found that vitamin K2 reduced spinal fractures by 60%, hip fractures by 77% and all non-spinal fractures by 81% (16).

In line with these findings, the Japanese officially recommend vitamin K supplementation for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis (17).

Vitamin K2 May Improve Dental Health

One Crucial Vitamin Vegans Overlook! The Missing Link Between Diet, Disease and Death

Also see 8 VEGAN FOODS WITH POWERFUL MEDICINAL PROPERTIES YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT

Researchers have speculated that Vitamin K2 may affect dental health.

However, no human studies have tested this directly.

Based on animal studies and the role vitamin K2 has in bone metabolism, it is reasonable to assume that it impacts dental health too.

One of the main regulating proteins in dental health is osteocalcin, the same protein that is critical to bone metabolism and is activated by vitamin K2 (20).

Osteocalcin triggers a mechanism that stimulates growth of new dentin, which is the calcified tissue underneath the enamel on your teeth (2122).

Vitamin A and D are also believed to play an important role here, working synergistically with vitamin K2 (23).

Bottom Line: It is believed that Vitamin K2 may play a critical role in dental health, but there are currently no human studies to support this.

Vitamin K2 May Help Fight Cancer

Cancer is a common cause of death in Western countries.

Even though modern medicine has found many ways to treat it, new cancer cases are still on the rise.

Therefore, finding effective prevention strategies is of utmost importance.

Interestingly, several studies have been done on Vitamin K2 and certain types of cancer.

Two clinical trials suggested that vitamin K2 reduces recurrence of liver cancer and increases survival times (2425).

An observational study on 11,000 men also found that a high vitamin K2 intake was linked to a 63% lower risk of advanced prostate cancer. Vitamin K1 had no effect (26).

Hopefully we will have some better studies on this in the near future.

Bottom Line: Vitamin K2 has been found to improve survival in patients with liver cancer. Men who consume the most K2 have a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer.

Plant-Based Vitamin K Sources

Leafy Greens

One Crucial Vitamin Vegans Overlook! The Missing Link Between Diet, Disease and Death

Check out 4 SUPPLEMENTS TO MOST DEFINITELY CONSIDER ON A VEGAN DIET AND WHY

There are many reasons why you should be eating leafy greens.  Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Parsley, Romaine Lettuce are all extremely high in vitamin K, and other nutrients.  The super stars are Kale, Spinach and Collard Greens; all 3 provide over 1100% of the daily value of vitamin K in one cooked cup. Keep in mind that Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, and fat can significantly increase its absorption from food (7). Since green leafy vegetables naturally contain very little fat, it is a good idea to add some fat or oil when preparing them.

Cruciferous Vegetables

One Crucial Vitamin Vegans Overlook! The Missing Link Between Diet, Disease and Death

Here’s another reason to start eating more brussels sprouts, not just at Christmas!!!  Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage are also excellent sources of vitamin K.  Brussels sprouts and broccoli are the 2 ringers of the cruciferous vegetables; they provide over 100% of the daily value in one raw cup.

Fruits

One Crucial Vitamin Vegans Overlook! The Missing Link Between Diet, Disease and Death

We all know that blueberries are a superfood because of their antioxidant properties, but they are also an excellent source of vitamin K.  One of the highest out of any fruit, one cup of blueberries will provide you with 35% of the daily value.  Prunes, grapes and raspberries are also a very good source of vitamin K.

Sources here and here.