Vitamin K2 is one of the forms of vitamin K, a substance essential for the normal functioning of the organism. The name vitamin K refers to a group of chemical compounds that includes: K1 (produced by plants) and the substance of interest to us, K2 (foods of animal origin and fermented foods of plant origin).
Vitamin K2 is also divided into several subtypes, among which the most important are short-chain MK-4 and long-chain Mk-7. The misterious figures are nothing but the number of peripheral chains attatched to the main quinone ring which affect the transport to various target tissues.
Detailed studies on all forms of vitamin K2 have revealed that it is definitely more efficient than K1. It is absorbed much quicker and has much better bio-availability. For that reason, benefits for health obtained from consuming it are much bigger.
Vitamin K is commonly associated with blood coagulation. The assocciation is reasonable but it mainly vitamin K1 that participates in that process. The main function of vitamin K2 is stimulating proteins responsible for calcium management in the organism. It is thanks to K2 that calcium reaches the points where it is needed the most.
If we do not make sure that the level of vitamin K2 in the diet is right, there is great risk that calcium will be deposited in the wrong place, for example in artieries, causing arterial calcification, which is dangerous for our health and leads to atherosclerosis. Apart from that, calcium deficiency can negatively affect the bones which, in turn, may result in their fragility and vulnerability to fractures.
Interestingly, the total level of calcium in blood tests is frequently normal; it is its distribution in the organism that fails and leads to numerous dangerous diseases. Vitamin K2 is, therefore, a substance crucial for normal calcium management in the organism.
Conducted research shows promising results of using vitamin K2 in cancer prevention. Its efficiency has been proven in connection with several types of cancer and, according to tests, it significantly reduces the risk of liver and prostate cancer. Curiously, vitamin K1 does not exhibit such properties.
The consumption of vitamin K2 in modern diets is terrifyingly low. A good source are products with a high content of butterfat (only those produced from milk taken from cows fed with grass in free-range systems), offal and egg yols (again, only organic husbandry). On the other hand, fermented products of plant origin, such as natto or miso, are eaten very rarely.
The human organism (or, to be more exact, its intestinal flora) can produce vitamin K2 on its own but only when the flora is functioning properly. Vitamin K2 supplementation is, therefore, worth considering, as studies show that its effect on the functioning of the organism is so huge that it can save our health, and sometimes even life.