Vitamin K2: Arguably the Most
Important Supplement to Take
With Adequate Use it Can Save the Life of 2 Out of 3 of Your Patients!
- Article Written by Meg Bowman, MS, MA, CNS
Vitamin K2: This Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life
Vitamin K2 has been featured in the press a lot lately, and for good
reason. This little known vitamin plays a critical role in heart, brain,
bone, and endocrine health, and people simply don’t get sufficient
quantities through their diets.
Recently, Microbiome Labs’ chief science officer Kiran Krishnan was
interviewed by Rebel Health Tribe founder Michael Roesslein. K2 is one
of the very few supplements that Roesslein recommends to the general
population primarily because so few people get sufficient quantities in a
typical Western diet.
In the following paragraphs you’ll find a summary of the interview, but
feel free to watch the entire interview by clicking here:
Interviewer: Michael Roesslein, Co-Founder at Rebel Health Tribe, Inc.
Interviewee: Kiran Krishnan, Microbiologist and Chief Science Officer of Physicians Exclusive, LLC.
Vitamin K2: Bone and Cardiovascular Health
There are two forms of vitamin K, phylloquinone (also known as K1) and menaquinone (also known as K2).
Vitamin K1: Sources and Activity
You are likely familiar with vitamin K1—unless otherwise noted, it is
the vitamin K that you will find in many multivitamins. Vitamin K1 is:
Vitamin K2: Sources and Activity
- Found mostly in leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
- Named for its role in coagulation (koagulation in Danish).
thinning drugs like warfarin work by inhibiting vitamin K-dependent
activation of certain coagulation factors. If you are taking warfarin,
you should keep dietary intake of vitamin K consistent, and consult with
your physician before considering vitamin K supplementation.
One of the reasons you haven’t heard of vitamin K2 is that it was
assumed to be a different form of K1. Researchers now know that K2 has
its own important roles in human health apart from coagulation.
High Dose Vitamin D Supplementation Without K2: Risk for Hypervitaminosis
- The liver packages vitamin K2 into lipoproteins before delivering them to the rest of the body.
- Some of the highest concentrations are found in the brain.[i] [ii]
in highest quantities in a fermented soy product, natto. Vitamin K2 is
also found in fermented cheeses, grass-fed butter and organ meats from
the form of vitamin K2 present in natto, has greater biological
activity than K2-4, the synthetic form of vitamin K2. Along with being
the most bioavailable form, K2-7 is also the most stable form.
- Bacillus spores produce some amount of K2-7 in the gut.
K2-4 and natto are both used as medicine in Japan. The primary use of
K2-4 is osteoporosis, and natto is used as a treatment for dementia.
primary role of vitamin K2 is to carboxylate (activate) vitamin
K-dependent proteins (VKDPs) that then perform essential functions in
- Vitamin K-dependent proteins are responsible for bone production, cardiovascular health, energy production and brain health.
Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in the West, as is very high
dose supplementation of D3 in order to correct these deficiencies. But
what happens when you regularly take high doses of D3? A fat soluble
vitamin, D3 can accumulate in tissues, promoting vitamin D toxicity
Because vitamin D enhances the intestinal absorption of calcium, too
much vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia and calcification of arteries,
kidneys, and other organs.
But what if you are low in vitamin D and need to supplement?
You need to make sure that the calcium you absorb makes it to your bones, rather than ending up in your arteries or organs.
Osteocalcin is one of the proteins activated by vitamin K2. It takes
calcium out of the blood and uses it to create bone. Vitamin D triggers
the release of the inactive version of osteocalcin which then requires
K2 to remove calcium from the blood and add it to bone.
High dose vitamin D supplementation combined with a K2 deficiency (which
is tremendously common) will lead to increased levels of inactivated
osteocalcin and therefore an increase in calcification of arteries and
High levels of un- or under-carboxylated osteocalcin will increase your
risk for osteopenia, osteoporosis, and hardening of the arteries
Crivello, N., Casseus, S., Peterson, J., Smith, D., & Booth, S.
(2010). Age- and brain-region-specific effects of dietary vitamin K on
myelin sulfatides. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 21(11), 1083–1088.
Okano, T., Shimomura, Y., Yamane, M., Suhara, Y, Kamao, M, et al.
(2008). Conversion of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) into menaquinone-4
(vitamin K2) in mice: Two possible routes for menaquinone-4 accumulation
in cerebra of mice. Biol Chem 283:11270-11279.
So how exactly does vitamin K2 help calcium get into bones? Another
vitamin K2-dependent protein, Matrix Gla Protein (MGP), removes calcium
from the blood vessels. If you can’t activate MGP, you risk
calcification of your arteries as shown in some early studies in mice
with blocked MGP. These mice died of massive calcification in their
arteries within 8 weeks of birth.[i] Studies in humans show that MGP is active in both soft tissue and blood vessel calcification.
In a few extreme cases, you can see a honeycomb structure in arteries that is attributed to inactivated MGP.
Researchers are increasingly studying vitamin K2 and its relationship to bone and cardiovascular health:
Rotterdam Study, 2004[ii]:
- This population-based study followed 4807 subjects for 10 years.
- Participants were split into two groups, with one receiving minimal K2 supplementation and the control group received none.
pointed out that the group receiving the minimal, suboptimal dose of K2
had more than 50% lower mortality risk from cardiovascular disease.
Clinical Chemistry, 2000[iv]:
- A cross-sectional study of 564 post-menopausal women looked at K2 intakes in relation to coronary calcification.
- A higher K2 intake was associated with a decreased coronary calcification risk.
JPOS (Japanese Population-Based Osteoporosis) Study, 2006[v]:
- This study monitored the bone remodeling of two cosmonauts before, during and after space flights.
- Undercarboxylated osteocalcin increased early and remained high through the flights
- Vitamin K supplementation restored carboxylation of osteocalcin
British Journal of Medicine, 2012:
- This study looked at how the intake of natto (high in K2-7) influences bone mineral density and bone mineral change over time.
- Natto intake helped prevent postmenopausal bone loss
Kids and Bone Health
- This study looked at the health of post- and peri-menopausal women supplementing with calcium
- For every one positive result related to osteopenia/osteoporosis, there were two negative heart-disease related results.
Our bodies begin to lose bone density in our late 20s to 30s. There are
many ways to prevent bone loss, including a healthy diet, strength
training and supplementation, but some degree of bone loss appears
unavoidable. Therefore, it is especially important to consider whether
our children are getting the nutrients they need to form strong bones.
Kiran mentions in the interview that children’s bones regenerate or turn
over at approximately 8 times the rate of adults. Osteocalcin
concentrations are very high in young children, eventually reaching
adult levels at puberty. Because of all this activity building bone,
children have an increased need for nutrients that support calcium
utilization. Unfortunately, many children’s diets don’t include the
right nutrients to create bone.
While studies on children are more limited, the evidence suggests that
vitamin K status directly influences bone development and metabolism:
British Journal of Nutrition, 2008[vi]:
Vitamin K2: Diabetes, Cancer & Neurological Diseases
- This longitudinal study looked how vitamin K2 influenced bone mass acquisition in healthy children
- Children who had better vitamin K status were associated with a marked increase in total body bone mineral creation.
Beyond bone and heart health, vitamin K2 plays important roles in
diabetes, insulin sensitivity, and various types of cancer. And K2
researchers are increasingly seeing a role in neurological diseases such
Here are some of the highlights:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (the EPIC-Heidelberg study), 2008[vii]:
Diabetes Care, 2010[viii]:
- 25,000 participant study with approximately 12,000 men.
- This study evaluated the association between dietary intake of K2 and total and advanced prostate cancer.
was an inverse association between total prostate cancer and total K2
intake with the strongest association with advanced prostate cancer.
Early Parkinson’s Research, 2012[ix]:
- This prospective cohort study featured 38,000+ Dutch men and women aged 20-70
- Dietary K2 intakes were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire
- Increased intake of K2 showed a linear, inverse association with risk of type 2 diabetes
American Journal of Medicine:
shows promise in an animal model to treat mitochondrial pathology, as
we see in Parkinson’s patients suffering from a Pink1 or Parkin
Kiran also mentioned other health conditions where K2 shows promise such as:
study looked at people with hepatitis and their risk of liver cancer.
Normally, people with Hep B and C have a much higher risk of liver
cancer than the general population.
- One group was supplemented with K2, one was not.
K2 group had a 10% chance of developing liver cancer, as opposed to the
control group without K2 who had a 47% chance of cancer.
Introducing MegaQuinone – The World’s Most Complete Vitamin K2 Supplement
- A reduction in diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve-related pain)
- 15% Increased cardiac output for increased athletic performance
- Combating muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS)
Kiran has been working with raw materials for K2 for 15 years, and has
helped several companies develop their own K2 products. After
experiencing a lot of frustration product stability, quality control and
dosing, Kiran and the Microbiome Labs team decided to product their own
K2. MegaQuinone is the result.
Stability - It features a very stable compound which
does not degrade and reduce potency. MegaQuinone is the only all-natural
pharmaceutical-grade K2 on the market with 100% potency guaranteed.
Optimum Dose – 150 micrograms is generally the highest
dose you’ll see on the market, but research points toward a larger
optimum dose closer to 320 micrograms/day.
This dose has shown a 97% carboxylation of proteins, a good measure of
effectiveness. This dose is designed to increase cardiac output, reduce
neuropathy, and influence mitochondrial/energy production. Megaquinone
is the only product on the market with an optimal dose of 320
Supportive Ingredients – The three main co-factors for
Vitamin K2 efficacy (magnesium, zinc, and boron) are included in this
formula, as is vitamin K1. MegaQuinone is the only K2 on the market with
these essential co-factors included for maximum effectiveness.
Microcrystalline cellulose, vegetable capsule (hydroxypropyl methycellulose)