The power of vitamin K2

Catching up with K2

Since the first release of my book on vitamin K2 three years ago, research on the little-known nutrient with big health benefits continues to grow, with new studies confirming early findings. Of course, vitamin K2 science is still a decade or two behind that of its nutritional crony, vitamin D, but at least the ball is rolling. Here is a very brief look at some of the newly illuminated vitamin K2 benefits.

Vitamin K2 is an artery-clearer.

Well, okay, we knew that in 2011, but the evidence was in its infancy – some population-based research (including the compelling Rotterdam study), animal trials and case reports. Now the body of knowledge in this department is a full-fledged toddler, running fast although we can still catch up. A recent clinical trial looked at hardened arteries in hemodialysis patients – a group that is especially prone to this problem.  The study concluded that supplementation with MK-7 provides a novel approach to reducing vascular calcifications. This has important implications for everyone, since heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis are a leading killer of both men and women, even those without kidney disease.

Vitamin K2 is an anti-inflammatory.

This makes sense. Inflammation is central to the development of heart disease. Why bother reducing arterial plaque without addressing this fundamental contributor to the development of the disease?

Vitamin K2 is a testosterone booster.

More good news for you, guys. Vitamin K2 has been shown to enhance the production of testosterone in animal studies. The popularity of prescription testosterone replacement for mojo maintenance is huge right now, despite controversy over possibly raising the risk of heart attack. I’m not saying K2 supplementation will have the same effect as testosterone shots, but it is worth making an effort to optimize your natural androgen production before seeking the injections. It would be nice to see more human trials in this area, however since K2 is well-known to be non-toxic you’ve got nothing to lose, except arterial plaque.

New research has also shown that MK-4 supplements, the synthetic form of vitamin K2, can be helpful in doses a lot lower than the traditional, yet seemingly random, dose of 45 mg (45,000 mcg). Recent trials have used as little as 600 mcg of MK-4 to boost bone density. This is still way beyond what Canadian consumers can legally purchase (I’m glaring in your direction, Health Canada), so it is still a good idea to stick with MK-7 supplements, which are beneficial at much lower doses. Studies continue to support the use of MK-7 in a 180mcg daily dose.

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