Vitamin K2, as we only recently discovered, is responsible for shuttling calcium to the correct places to go in the body - like a broom, K2 whisks calcium out of the arteries, where it cause plaque build-up in the arteries, and out of the kidneys, where it can build up and causes kidney stones.
Once at its proper destination, however, K2 can work synergistically with D2 and calcium to give you stronger teeth and bones, a lower risk of cavities and tooth decay, plus better overall cardiovascular health as well.
Today 97% of people are deficient in vitamin K2. This is largely because K2 is a vitamin that although once in abundance in the American diet, when we raised our own livestock for consumption, can only be found in abundance in foods like natto, a fermented, sticky, Japanese bean dish and in organ meats, neither of which are consumed widely in the U.S.
K2 can also be found in deeply colored, orangish-yellow egg yolks from grass-fed chickens. This is because when animals eat K1 rich grasses, the vitamin K1 transforms into K2 within the body, and then we absorb it from the animal or animal products that we eat.
In truth, we are just beginning to fully understand the importance of vitamin K2 and its many health benefits. Here are just four of K2’s most impressive abilities.
Lower the risk of prostate cancer
In 2008, doctors in Germany conducted a study examining the relationships between dietary intake of vitamin K1 and K2 on the development of prostate cancer in 11,319 men over an 8.6-year follow-up. Compared with the lowest intake of vitamin K2, men with the highest vitamin K2 dietary consumption showed a 63% reduced incidence of advanced prostate cancer.
Just keep in mind, vitamin K2 can interfere with blood thinning medications and a doctor should be consulted in any case, especially if one is on blood thinners.
Avoid the dangers of osteoporosis and degenerative bone disease
Osteoporosis affects women worldwide after menopause, increasing the risk of broken bones and falls, especially as one grows older. The good news is that vitamin K2 actively slows the progression of bone density loss by triggering a calcium-binding action of two proteins: osteocalcin and GLA protein, both of which help maintain bones.
In studies, K2 helps slow bone density loss and to reduce spinal and hip fractures by over 60%.
Prevent heart disease and atherosclerosis
Vitamin K2 activates a protein called Matrix GLA protein that prevents calcium from accumulating in your arteries, where it can build up and cause heart problems of all kinds. Without this buildup, blood circulation is better and blood vessels remain smooth and healthy – and do not gain the kind of stiffness associated with heart disease.
In studies, patients with the highest K2 intake had decreased calcification of the arteries - and in a three-year double-blind study, women who supplemented with just 180 mcg a day of K2 experienced decreased calcification of the arteries.
A “miracle worker” for your teeth
K2 is very protective of the teeth. In fact, what prompted dentist Weston A. Price to go on his world tour to examine the teeth of varying cultures was his suspicion that the Western diet was somehow causing extremely accelerated tooth decay and the kind of health problems that follow including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
What he found by examining increasingly older cadavers and by visiting other countries all around the world was that other cultures do not have the kind of dental deterioration Americans do nor did our ancestors from decades before the increasing influx of processed foods. After years studying cadavers from increasing decades back, Price finally concluded that an “activator” - once present in our diet - had, somehow, become extinct.
In addition, Price said, whatever it was, it came from some sort of healthy fat in the diet. This is why - when he finally experimented with a butter/cod liver oil mixture as a supplement - he literally cured cavities in his lab. They actually disappeared!
In studies, vitamin K2 has proven to prevent cavities, to aid in balancing the oral microbiome, and to help facilitate the remineralization of the teeth.
To help you get more K2 in your diet, here’s a list of foods richest in K2 for you to try and enjoy!
Foods highest in K2
- Natto (best source, but – be warned – it’s an “acquired” taste)
- Grass-fed butter (raw)
- Grass-fed cheese (raw), especially Brie and Gouda
- Grass Fed/Pasture-Raised Egg Yolks
- Chicken livers
- Grass fed Beef
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Sources for this article include: