I like to keep my eye on vitamin K2 as MK-7 (menaquinone-7). I haven’t quite figured out why it doesn’t get as much attention as calcium, magnesium or vitamin D.
Especially when you realize the power of vitamin K2 as MK-7 for building bone strength, helping to prevent osteoporosis, protecting the heart and even reducing overall mortality.
Here are the latest reasons why you should get optimal amounts of vitamin K2 as MK-7:
- Vitamin K as MK-7 improves cardiovascular health in healthy postmenopausal women. Noted vitamin K expert Dr. Cees Vermeer recently led a study that showed long-term use of vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 has a positive impact on heart health. Vitamin K helped reduce the amount stiffening of the artery walls related to aging, as well as improved vascular elasticity. The study monitored 244 healthy post-menopausal women for three years.
- As dietary intake of vitamin K goes up, mortality risk goes down. In a recent diet analysis of 7,216 participants, dietary intake of vitamin K was inversely associated with mortality risk. Those who increased their vitamin K1 and K2 dietary intakes over the nearly five year follow-up period had a 43% and 45% reduced risk of overall mortality compared to those whose intakes were unchanged or reduced. Those with increased vitamin K2 intakes during follow-up had a 59% lower risk of death from cancer.
- K2 plays a role in preventing fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. An analysis of the results of 19 different studies focused on postmenopausal women with osteoporosis showed that vitamin K2 plays a role in improvement of the vertebral bone mineral density and the prevention of fractures.
So you see why it’s important not to overlook vitamin K2 as MK-7 in your diet!
How much vitamin K2 as MK-7 should you get every day?
Would you believe that there is no actual recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin K2? For most people, I recommend a therapeutic dose of 90-200 mcg of vitamin K as MK-7 on a daily basis. Important note: The only exception is for those on the blood thinner Coumadin because supplementing with vitamin K will reduce the effectiveness of Coumadin.
Unfortunately, the average U.S. intake is only 9-12 mcg, if any at all! For more information on vitamin K2 as MK-7, read my in-depth article about the many benefits of vitamin K.
Huang ZB, Wan SL, Lu YJ, Ning L, Liu C, Fan SW. Does vitamin K2 play a role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis for postmenopausal women: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Osteoporos Int. 2014 Dec 17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25516361 (accessed 04-29-2015)
Knapen MH, Braam LA, Drummen NE, Bekers O, Hoeks AP, Vermeer C. Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women: double-blind randomised clinical trial. Thromb Haemost. 2015, Feb. 19 (Epub ahead of print) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25694037 (accessed 4-29-2015)
Martí Juanola-Falgarona et al. Dietary Intake of Vitamin K Is Inversely Associated with Mortality Risk. J Nutr
2014;144(5):743-750. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/03/19/jn.113.187740 (accessed 04-29-2015)
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.