Your body requires vitamin K2 to build bones. It activates osteocalcin, a protein that supports the movement of calcium into bones and teeth.
Is vitamin K2 good for bones?
When I went for an annual physical in 2004, I had no symptoms of osteoporosis. Because I was 61, my doctor recommended the DEXA Scan lab test for bone density. For the test, I lay down on a bed in the lab and an X-Ray machine scanned my left hip and lumbar vertebrae. (The test assumes that the bone density will be similar for the left and right hip.) My diagnosis was osteopenia, borderline osteoporosis.
My doctors didn’t frighten me by talking about the risk of bone fractures. I didn’t believe I needed to do anything specific for my bone density. Instead, I got DEXA scans every few years to monitor any changes.
For my overall health, I researched nutrition. I tried out protocols that looked promising. During my research I discovered the benefits of vitamin K2 and began taking a supplement. I did this on my own. None of my doctors recommended vitamin K2 for osteopenia.
Between 2004 and 2010, my bone density improved with each DEXA scan, increasing by 41.5% in my spine and 8.9% in my left hip. Improving my nutrition helped my bones.
Today, my spine density is higher than normal, but I still have osteopenia in my left hip. I include foods in my diet that are rich in vitamin K2. I still take supplements in the form of concentrated butter oil and emu oil which I purchase online.
Butter made from grass-fed cows is spun in a centrifuge. The result of this process is concentrated butter oil rich in vitamin K2. Weston A Price, a Canadian dentist, developed this supplement to help patients suffering from cavities, narrow faces with crowded teeth and other degenerative diseases.
What is vitamin K2 and how does it aid bone health?
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body needs to build strong bones. It activates two key proteins. The first, osteocalcin, attracts calcium into bones and teeth, where it belongs. The second, matrix GLA protein (MGP), removes calcium from blood vessels and other soft tissues. There are several forms of vitamin K2. Menaquinone-4 (MK-4), also called menatetrenone, is found is grass-fed animal products. Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) is found in natto, a soy food produced by bacteria.
Which foods are rich in vitamin K2?
Raw, organic, 100% grass-fed aged cheese, ghee (clarified butter), and butter are rich in K2. You can find these products in your local health food store or online. Other rich sources come from pastured animal products: egg yolks, duck fat, beef tallow, and pork lard.
How much vitamin K2 do you need?
In 2001, the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine set an Adequate Intake (AI) for vitamin K (K1 and K2 combined) at 120 mcg for adult men and 90 mcg for adult women. Because K1 and K2 support different functions, it is unfortunate that they are combined in the AI. Blood clotting requires K1, whereas bone building needs K2.
What is the difference between the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and the Adequate Intake (AI)? The RDA is the estimated daily amount of a nutrient required to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people. When the FNB determines there is not enough evidence for an RDA, it establishes an AI. (The daily amount assumed to be enough.)
Your dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.
Recipes rich in vitamin K2
What vitamin K2 foods do you like?
Let me know your favorites in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.
For more information:
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-known Vitamin Could Save Your Life
by Kate Rheaume-bleue
Chris Masterjohn, Start here for vitamin K2
Results of a K2 test of several foods performed by VitaK Lab
A Campaign for Real Milk, information and sources of raw milk
Local chapters of the Weston A Price Foundation
Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets