The Importance of Vitamin K2 for Heart Health

Vitamin K2 is a lesser-known but crucial nutrient for maintaining a healthy heart. While most people are familiar with the benefits of vitamin D and C, the role of vitamin K2 in heart health often goes unnoticed. As an expert in the field of nutrition, I have seen firsthand the impact that vitamin K2 can have on cardiovascular health. In this article, I will delve into the science behind vitamin K2 and its importance for maintaining a strong and healthy heart.

The Basics of Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for proper blood clotting and bone health.

It is part of the larger family of vitamin K, which also includes vitamin K1. While both vitamins play a role in blood clotting, they have different functions in the body. Vitamin K1 is primarily found in leafy green vegetables and is responsible for activating proteins that help with blood clotting. On the other hand, vitamin K2 is found in animal products and fermented foods and is responsible for activating proteins that help with bone metabolism and cardiovascular health. The most common form of vitamin K2 is called menaquinone-4 (MK-4), which is found in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy.

However, there is another form of vitamin K2 called menaquinone-7 (MK-7), which is found in fermented foods like natto, a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. MK-7 has been shown to have a longer half-life in the body, making it a more effective form of vitamin K2 for promoting heart health.

The Role of Vitamin K2 in Heart Health

Now that we understand the basics of vitamin K2 let's dive into its role in heart health. One of the main functions of vitamin K2 is to activate a protein called osteocalcin, which is responsible for binding calcium to bones and teeth. However, recent research has shown that osteocalcin also plays a crucial role in regulating calcium in the arteries. When there is an excess of calcium in the arteries, it can lead to the formation of plaque, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Vitamin K2 helps to prevent this by activating osteocalcin, which then binds to excess calcium and removes it from the arteries. This process is essential for maintaining healthy and flexible arteries, which are crucial for proper blood flow and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to its role in regulating calcium, vitamin K2 also has anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit heart health. Chronic inflammation is a significant risk factor for heart disease, and vitamin K2 has been shown to reduce inflammation markers in the body. By reducing inflammation, vitamin K2 can help to protect against damage to the arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The Link Between Vitamin K2 Deficiency and Heart Disease

Despite its importance for heart health, many people are deficient in vitamin K2.

This is because it is not as readily available in our modern diets as other vitamins. The Western diet tends to be low in animal products and fermented foods, which are the primary sources of vitamin K2. Additionally, certain medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, can interfere with the absorption of vitamin K2 in the body. A deficiency in vitamin K2 has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that individuals with the highest intake of vitamin K2 had a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to those with the lowest intake.

This highlights the importance of ensuring adequate intake of vitamin K2 for maintaining a healthy heart.

How to Incorporate Vitamin K2 into Your Diet

Now that we understand the importance of vitamin K2 for heart health, you may be wondering how to incorporate it into your diet. As mentioned earlier, the best sources of vitamin K2 are animal products and fermented foods. Some examples include:
  • Egg yolks
  • Grass-fed butter and cheese
  • Natto
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Kefir
If you are unable to consume these foods regularly, you may want to consider taking a vitamin K2 supplement. Look for supplements that contain MK-7, as it is the most effective form of vitamin K2 for promoting heart health.

The Bottom Line

Vitamin K2 is an essential nutrient for maintaining a healthy heart.

Its role in regulating calcium and reducing inflammation makes it a crucial component in preventing heart disease and stroke. However, many people are deficient in this vitamin, making it important to incorporate vitamin K2-rich foods into your diet or consider taking a supplement. As always, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or supplement regimen.


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Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient. Retrieved from

Minnie Ocenasek
Minnie Ocenasek

Professional explorer. Typical internet scholar. Twitter nerd. Extreme food trailblazer. Hardcore web specialist. General travel practitioner.

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