The Role of Vitamin K2 in the Human Diet - Eat Complete
July 19, 2017

The Role of Vitamin K2 in the Human Diet

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Vitamin K is an essential micronutrient. The EU nutrient reference value (NRV) is 75?g(1)and the US Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is 120(2). Both intakes are easy to achieve with a varied Western diet. Vitamin K’s primary function is that it’s needed for efficient blood clotting and vessel integrity, and it therefore has a role in wound healing. In addition, vitamin K is also involved in maintaining bone health.

The primary form of vitamin K is phylloquinone, which is also known as vitamin K1. This is found naturally in plant products and is abundant in a varied diet, and this is why vitamin K deficiency is rare in older children and adults. Another form of vitamin K is menaquinone or vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is, in fact, a group of several subtypes which all differ structurally with menakinone-4 (MK-4) and MK-7 being the most commonly found and have the most significant biological activity(3). MK-4 is the only form of vitamin K2 that can be synthesised from vitamin K1(4).

Vitamin K2 has not generally been thought of as essential in its own right over and above vitamin K1 for the reason that there are no deficiency symptoms apparent from not consuming it. However, vitamin K2 can be used as an alternative form of vitamin K to prevent deficiency and is often the supplementary form prescribed by doctors. Despite not being ‘essential’ in the same way as other nutrients are essential, there are a number of demonstrated health benefits from including it in our diets. Vitamin K2 performs the same functions as vitamin K1 by assisting in blood clotting and vessel integrity, and it has also has been shown to help as an anti-inflammatory agent, with consequential cardiovascular benefits(5,6), as well as improved bone health(7,8,9,10). It may also…

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