Many people know that vitamin K1 helps to clot the blood. It occurs in plant foods, especially in green leafy vegetables. Examples are green cabbage, green cabbage, spinach, green beetroot, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin K1 deficiency is rare.
Another vitamin – K2 – is essential for its completely different functions.
Vitamin K2 helps:
• Preventing cardiovascular disease
• Form strong bones and teeth
• Preventing osteoporosis
• Prevent kidney stones
• promote healthy skin and prevent wrinkles
• Prevent cavities and more.
K2 is mainly found in animal products and fermented foods.
Food sources for Vitamin K2 are listed below.
While K1 and K2 are similar in structure, they appear to be so different. Is there a connection between the two? And if so, what is it?
Ways Vitamin K2 prevents cardiovascular disease
K2 promotes the deposition of calcium in bones and teeth, especially when combined with vitamin D3. This is because K2 activates osteocalcin and other proteins related to skeletal growth and bone formation.
But K2 also prevents calcium from settling in soft tissues where it does not belong. As a result, it can help prevent calcification of the arteries and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
This is its connection with the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Why are animal products the primary source of K2?
The human body can convert K1 to K2, but its ability to do so is limited. Animals are better in the conversion process.
And here we find the connection between the two vitamins.
Animals get their K1 by eating grass and other plants. Convert K1 to K2.
- So eating cheese or butter isn’t enough to get K2, for example, although some sources simply list these foods. Instead, due to the K1 / K2 connection, we have to choose cheese or butter from grass-fed cows.
- Fermented cheese – such as Jarlsberg, Gouda, Cheddar, Brie and Blau – contains vitamin K2, which is produced by the bacteria that are used in their production. Cheddar and Brie contain a lot of K2 due to the type of bacteria used.
- Ghee (clarified butter) from grass-fed cows is an excellent source of K2, even better than regular butter.
- Egg yolk is another good source of K2, but it should come from free-range chickens that eat grass.
- Dark chicken and beef are good sources of K2, but they should also come from grass-fed animals.
Two other sources are goose liver and chicken liver. In line with other information on K2, I would also recommend eating outdoor versions of these animal products.
What should vegans eat to get K2?
- Fermented soy natto is one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin K2 and has a high content of K2.
- Sauerkraut is another source of K2. I suggest real fermented sauerkraut. This means that only 2 ingredients should be present on the label: cabbage and salt. Maybe even water. Avoid a “standard” product with vinegar. It would actually be a pickled cabbage, not fermented sauerkraut.
- Kimchi is fermented vegetables and also contains K2.
So there is some information on vitamin K2. Since we can convert K1 to K2 to some extent, I would recommend eating many green leafy vegetables – for many health reasons, but also getting lots of K1.
If you have blood clotting problems, contact your doctor to make sure eating green leafy vegetables are a good option for you.