Vitamin K2-7 – the little known vitamin with a large impact
Vitamin K2 (MK7 version) (also called Menaquinone or MK7 ) is a vitamin produced by intestinal bacteria and also derived from natto and other fermented cheeses.
Heart disease, various forms of cancer, diabetes, muscle spasms, neuropathy, neurodegenerative diseases, bone fractures, etc, all seem to be linked to a deficiency of Vitamin K2 (MK7) The Western diet is almost completely absent of Vitamin K2 (MK7)
Three key areas that need K2 (MK7)
- Liver: K2 activates the clotting factors to facilitate the clotting cascade can then develop a formal blood clot.
- Bone – K2 activates a protein called osteocalcin. This protein puts calcium on the bones and requires K2 for the activation of that process.
- Soft Tissue Calcification: Vitamin K2 activates a protein called “matrix Gla protein” which prevents calcium deposits in the body in and removes it from soft tissues such as the inner walls of the arteries. Once this supply of K2 is exhausted, the body can no longer remove calcium from the body and calcification occurs.
Let’s visit these areas in more detail.
The Liver: Top-Priority in Vitamin K2 Utilization
When Vitamin K2-7 is consumed, it is absorbed through the intestinal lining and pulled up through a portal vein directly to the liver. The liver takes first priority in Vitamin K2 utilization. If the body is Vitamin K2 deficient, it won’t perform the important clotting cascade. If this occurs, a person could die from a simple cut or internal bleeding. The Vitamin K2 that the liver doesn’t use is then sent outside the liver to utilize in other tissues.
It is important to note that since the liver uses Vitamin K2- 7 first, if a person has depletion of Vitamin K2-7– it doesn’t usually show up in the liver. These deficiencies will usually be found in other tissues and organs such as: bones, cartilage, arteries, muscles, nerves, brain and heart
Vitamin K2 and Bone health
Many of us think about Vitamin D as the essential vitamin for bone health, but it is only part of the true picture. Vitamin D3 stimulates bone building osteoblastic cells that release a bone building protein called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin starts in an inactive form called Glu Osteocalcin. Vitamin K2-7 is what actually activates osteocalcin. The active osteocalcin, called Gla Osteocalcin, then takes the calcium and basically adheres it on the bone. Vitamin K2 is critical to assist in developing bone and calcification of bone in the appropriate way.
Vitamin K2 also reduces a process called bone resorption. The body looks to bone to grab calcium to use in other things like nerve conduction, muscle contraction, etc. Vitamin K2 helps slow down this process of bone resorption which is typically at a quick or high rate in most people so tend to lose more bone then they build. If this occurs too quickly, weak bones are created.
- Soft Tissues and calcium removal
There is a protein formed known as “Matrix GLA Protein” that is the only known mechanism to remove calcium from soft tissues in the body such as the inner walls of the arteries. Calcium is an inert, hard mineral that gets into the circulatory system and if it is not properly directed it actually gets embedded into your tissue. Vitamin K2 activates this Gla protein so that it can actually undo this calcification. If Vitamin K2 is depleted, calcification of soft tissue can occur.
Areas where calcification can form are:
- small and large arteries
- heart valves
- brain, where it’s known as cranial calcification
- joints and tendons, such as knee joints and rotator cuff tendons
- soft tissues like breasts, muscles, and fat
- kidney, bladder, and gallbladder
Key Products we carry at Renovare that support Vitamin K2-7
Information from Kiran Krishnan – Chief Science Officer of Microbiome Labs, Vitamin K2 Presentation.
Pictures from Kiran Krishnan Presentation