Vitamin K2, similarly to all compounds that are hidden under the term “vitamin K”, takes part in the process of blood coagulation. For many years it was attributed only this one role. However, studies prove that vitamin K2 is also responsible for healthy bones, prevents calcification of vessels and the development of circulatory system diseases. What are other benefits from supplementing vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2 is not a single substance, but a group of compounds collectively called “menaquinones” or the abbreviation “MK-n”, where “n” indicates the amount of unsaturated isoprenoid residues in the C3 carbon (from 1 to 13).
Vitamin K2 is one of the main compounds, which are hidden under the term “vitamin K”. The remaining are vitamin K1 (phytomenadione) and K3 (menadione). Vitamins K take part in the synthesis of protein factors of blood coagulation and for many years they were attributed only this role. However, it results from the research that certain kinds of vitamin K also play other functions. Vitamin K2, apart from taking part in the process of blood coagulation, is also responsible for the health of bones, prevents calcifications of atherosclerotic plaques and the development of circulatory diseases and even the growth of cancer cells.
Vitamin K2 may prevent osteoporosis
Until recently, it was believed that only one vitamin is responsible for healthy bones and teeth – vitamin D. Currently, it is believed that vitamin K2 plays an equally important role to vitamin D in maintaining proper state of bones. The functioning of osteocalcin – a protein synthesized in the cells responsible for bone creation (osteoblasts) is dependent on vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 is essential for the proper functioning of the skeletal system.
The task of osteocalcin is binding calcium in bones – a mineral, which is their basic building material. In case of vitamin K2 deficiency, osteocalcin is inactive and at the same time, it is unable to bind calcium in bones, which may be the case of decreasing bone mass and lead to osteoporosis and consequently – to the increased risk of fractures. The dependency between healthy bones and vitamin K2 was proven in many scientific studies. For example, researchers from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands indicated that vitamin K2 is essential to maintain proper bone endurance in women after menopause and is a factor influencing the improvement of mineral content of bones and the width of femur shaft.
Vitamin K2 may prevent circulatory system diseases
The loss of elasticity of blood vessels as a result of storing calcium-phosphorus salts is one of the causes of circulatory system diseases. A solution to this problem may be vitamin K2, which – according to some scientists – may be used in the future in order to treat or prevent calcification of vessels, especially in the group of patients with the high risk of vitamin K deficiencies or calcifications.² In what way does vitamin K2 prevent calcification of blood vessels? There is a protein called MGP in the blood serum, which binds calcium-phosphorus salts and at the same time it inhibits their deposition in vessels. Its functioning is dependent on vitamin K2 – in case of its deficiency, MGP protein is inactive and cannot inhibit the process of calcification.
People taking antithrombotic drugs before vitamin K2 supplementation should consult with a physician, as this vitamin disturbs the activity of these drugs.
Vitamin K2 – the symptoms of deficiency and excess
Lack of vitamin K2 may lead to the occurrence of hemorrhages (e.g. gums), problems with wound healing, difficulties in bone mineralization (which results in fractions). Apart from this, vitamin K2 deficiency may lead to calcification of arteries and consequently – hypertension, clots and heart attacks.
No undesirable effects were observed in the application of doses up to 45 mg per day or even higher.
Vitamin K2 – dosing. How to use vitamin K2?
The daily application of vitamin K2 has not been determined. Such recommendations are related to all compounds under the name “vitamin K’. An adult should take ca. 55-65 µg of vitamin K per day.