By Kurtis Frank and Sol Orwell from Examine.com
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is one of the four fat soluble vitamins in the body, and alongside Vitamin D, works to support bone integrity and structure while also controlling calcium in the body. It is commonly known as a synergist of vitamin D (increasing the benefits of vitamin D on bone tissue), but even by itself vitamin K appears to be highly beneficial to the body.
Why is Vitamin K Important?
Vitamin K is most involved in controlling blood clotting (a deficiency of vitamin K causes hemorrhages) and controlling calcium in the body. High supplemental dosages of vitamin K appear to support bone mineralization and possibly increase bone size alongside definite increases in strength and reductions in fracture risk, and vitamin K can additionally reduce calcification of soft tissue. Calcification of soft tissue is when calcium gets deposited where it should not, and this can lead to instances such as hair loss (if calcium is deposited in hair follicle cells) and stiffened arteries (if deposited on the blood vessel wall) amongst other things.
Vitamin K works through a series of proteins known as ?vitamin K dependent proteins. When vitamin K levels go up, these proteins tend to be more active and the benefits they contribute to the body are what we refer to as the benefits of vitamin K supplementation.
Why Should I Supplement with Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is traditionally recommended to be taken in a variable dose of 60-120mcg daily (depending on where you are located in the world). This recommendation is based on eliminating hemorrhages (historical note: the original RDA for vitamin D was to eliminate rickets. The RDA for Vitamin D at least has been upped as we realize how important it is).
That being said, the above recommendation is just based on one goal. When looking at other goals, such as calcification of soft tissue and bone health, these tend to be maximized at an oral intake of 1,000mcg daily. This is about 10-fold higher than the current recommended intake, and is both safe and appears to maximize the benefits of Vitamin K supplementation.
Like Vitamin D, Vitamin K in the ?ideal? levels is very hard to get via food. In order to get sufficient levels of vitamin K in the diet one must either puree/juice large quantities of kale (fun note: eating kale straight up would not be as effective as it wouldn’t get absorbed well; you need to damage the plant tissue to free it up) or consuming the fermented soy product known as natto. If neither of those are eaten daily, supplementation would be required to bridge the gap.
What Benefits should I Expect?
Over the short term, no noticeable benefits should occur with Vitamin K supplementation. Over the long term there appears to be a greatly reduced risk of fractures and increase in bone integrity that is most potent when paired with Vitamin D and calcium, and the rates of calcification of the arteries are significantly reduced with daily vitamin K supplementation. Since arterial stiffness appears to be a very effective predictor of cardiovascular death, it is reasonable to assume that vitamin K reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.
Basically, it’s not a short-term bandaid. But for the long term, it has an amazing set of benefits.
Is it Safe?
Vitamin K appears to be remarkably safe. A large body of research from Japan had people using 45mg of vitamin K2 daily for up to two years. Even at 45,000% of the recommended daily intake, there was no toxicity issues.
So yes, 1mg/day is very safe.
What Form do I Need?
Vitamin K comes in two forms, K1 and K2.
K1 is known as phylloquinone, and is the plant based form of vitamin K.
K2 is a series of molecules known as menaquinones, and are based in animal or bacterial products. They differ by how long a side-chain is, and these menaquinones (MK) are designated as such. MK-4 is a menaquinone with four groups in its sidechain, MK-7 has seven groups.
All forms of vitamin K appears to be effective in increasing vitamin K status of the body, and the 1000mcg recommendation was based on K1. Either K1 or MK-7 are recommended for daily supplementation, as, although MK-4 is also effective, it spends less time in the body and needs a higher dose to be equivalent to MK-7.
Our General Recommendations
Vitamin K (by virtue of being a vitamin) is an essential part of anyone’s diet. Similar to how the RDA for vitamin D was found to be too low, the RDA for vitamin K is too low to fully unlock its optimal benefits.
Unless one is eating natto or frequently blending kale-drinks, supplementation is the way to go to fully unlock vitamin K’s benefits. We recommend you take it with vitamin D, and calcium if you don’t get enough of that (calcium is a lot easier to get via diet).
We’ve been making sense of scientific research on supplementation and nutrition for the past 2.5 years. An independent organization, we recently released The Supplement-Goals Reference Guide, which lets you quickly and easily identify supplements that would be a useful addition to your particular health goals. All backed and cited with scientific papers.
FIRST! Oh yeah. What about butter oil as a supplement?
My favourite supplements are pizza, ice-cream, having fun and having sex.
Perfect response. What is this doing on 180?
Exactly. After years of avoiding pizza and ice cream hiding from social activities, I’m kinda out of practice with the last part of your list and no amount of vitamin K is gonna get me a girl :(
Haha. Funny, but should we turn “Eat The Food” into another dietary religion? Sounds a little bit too much like Paleos who brag about all the meat they eat. Don’t think that Matt’s recommendations are less prone to become another orthodoxy.
Eating pizza, ice-cream etc in large quantities can be fine occasionally or even for longer periods of time if you are coming out of a period of dietary restriction, but if you keep it up beyond a certain range, you will soon get your just desserts :) Anyway, that’s my opinion.
Nettle infusions are also high in K, along with magnesium & calcium in proper ratios and iron. My ferritin went from no-way-you-should-donate-blood levels to “perfect” in a few months of having a weekly quart of nettle infusion (more like 3.5 cups, spread out over two days,with lots of honey. Don’t freak out about “too much water!”). Also – NO MORE MENSTRUAL CRAMPS. Yeah ladies, its that good! Flow also lightens up as your body is able to clot properly with the K.
Well, having just suffered thru the monthly “cramp day,” that sounds worth a try. Also have a tendency toward low iron.
While I know I could gather fresh nettles, etc., what’s the *laziest effective method* for making this infusion that I could get away with? A couple months ago, I saw Traditional Medicinals teas had a Nettle variety. Would that be good/strong enough to use? What potency in general?
And timing: Which two days?
i’ve also read some interesting things about if you have a tilted-back uterus causing cramps. i’ve read that there is some sort of massage technique that can help tip it forward. also, posture. like allowing your gut to hang out instead of always going around with it pulled in like some sort of sports illustrated super model. like the natives do in national geographic. sitting up straight instead while you work, instead of in a reclined postion… etc.
i’ve got a little theory that the tipped-back uterus comes from your MOTHER not having enough nutrition during pregnancy–perhaps it is due to a narrow pelvis.
My pelvis is wide, the uterus was tipped until I started practicing yoga, then it went back to where it belongs.
How would I know about a tipped uterus? (I’ve never been pregnant, so it wouldn’t have come up in that context.) I do know that I’ve never managed to get menstrual cups to work for me, if that’s a clue.
Haha, I definitely don’t spend too much time sucking my gut in! Not my jam.
Alisha, that’s fascinating. But I really don’t like yoga, which is hard to say because it feels like saying, “I really don’t like kittens, ice cream and rainbows.” Maybe someday I will try to like it again.
Haha! Glad you said that about yoga, ice cream and kittens and stuff. Whenever I tell people I don’t like yoga I get this weird pariah response. But I really dislike all those bendy yoga positions, the required yoga outfits and the superior yoga attitude that many people adopt. I’m more of a quiet walk in nature or a fab camping trip type person. Sticking my butt up in the air with a bunch of overly serious yoga peeps just makes my day go dark.
Glad I’m not the only one! I get the same reaction from people.
I have a platelet disorder – my blood does not clot properly (I bleed easily and wear a medical bracelet)…I was reading a little online about nettle infusions after seeing your post – but seemed to find conflicting info as to whether it helps your blood clot or prevents clots – do you have a website to share with more info?
Hi, can you tell me what are Nettle infusions, I am low in Ferritin and my hair is falling like crazy, mine it’s 43 and I heard it should be in the 80’s so your hair don’t fall out
I guess it’s hard to convince me that we should supplement a nutrient above and beyond what is available in an average natural diet, rather than just eating quality food. Especially way above. Not that it seems beyond the realm of possibility that we could benefit from it, but more that it seems unlikely that it is really necessary in order for a person to be very adequately healthy. Is there really so much information out there that we should be convinced that most of us need to supplement vitamin K at such a high level? We seem a little too complicated to reduce to the simple equation add more vitamin K = X health benefits, and supplementing beyond what is easily attainable in a whole foods diet purposefully containing some high Vit K foods is a red flag. I mean I would have to eat 6 cups of brussles sprouts a day, one of the highest vit K containing foods according to one chart, in order to reach the “ideal” level for supplementation! So, isn’t that basically using it as a drug? What could that lead to? Are there really enough long term well designed studies to prove that is a good idea? Of course not, because our bodies, lives and diets are too complicated to know that. Perhaps it’s the precautionary principal at work, like we might need it, so better be on the safe side, but then that can get us to do all kinds of stuff that we might not need to do and does, especially in the health realm. Better not eat this because there is negative research. Better optimize that because study X indicates that more might be better = More dietary/health neurosis and more cash out of pocket. Given the information presented, Vit K seems worth considering for intervention in a medical sense, to rebuild depleted bone etc… but as a long term solution, I have to question the quality of information, or logic that led the authors to make this recommendation. The precautionary principal can work in the other direction too, as in better not supplement that because the there may be unforeseen consequences, or for the foreseen consequences, like a dwindling bank account… or for the more self aware people often found on this site, another way to over think health and dietary decisions leading to reinforcement of neurosis. Plenty of room to convince in the comments section. I didn’t find the article convincing, though maybe food for thought.
You have to remember that the food we eat today is grown in soil that is so depleted of minerals that the nutritional content is quite different than it was in days of old.
That is true and worth considering. My understanding is the Vitamin K is added to most fertilizer to make up for this. Does the plant take it up sufficiently, I don’t know. Worth investigating rather than jump to the conclusion that we should jump on the Vitamin K bandwagon.
However, in this case, it would be true not just of Vitamin K but all Vitamins. Of course, the best solution is to buy local organic (not from Whole Foods, in other words), where vegetables and fruits are grown on rich soil and picked ripe (one problem is not just the soil but the fact that the fruit/vegetable is picked before it’s ripe).
I would have thought that vitamin K was manufactured by the plants. Maybe you mean potassium which is represented by the letter K as one of the 3 plant macronutrients NPK? Either way, it seems feasible that levels could vary in plants grown under different conditions. I wouldn’t have any idea how that works, but if you look at the quantities contained in foods in the charts, it’s hard to believe it would make enough difference to get us even close to 1000 mcg day.
You are probably right Steven e. I am probably mistaking the one for the other.
Agreed, Steven. We would be bankrupt of we bought all the things some study said are beneficial and ate all the superfoods that are hyped by diet gurus and media. If primitive cultures were not using juicers and eating huge amounts of vegetables & few were eating fermented soy, nobody could have been ingesting such amounts. Note that Weston Price was comparing native foods to depleted modern foods, not whole foods and we need to look at how foods raise or lower our needs, not act like someone guzzling coke and French fries and soybean oil has the same nutrition needs as someone eating steak, eggs, liver, orange juice, bone broth, cheese, and potatoes.
Is the apparent need for a vitamin a solution of just a symptom of a bigger problem? If there is an apparent deficiency of a substance, is this due to a dietary lack or due to a process in the body that is suboptimal?
Who determines the recommended dosages and by what criteria, anyway? Is it even possible to isolate every substance and assign an absolute need regardless of thousands of other factors and in relation to the sitation as a whole?
That should read “Is the apparent need for a vitamin a solution OR just a symptom of a bigger problem?”
I agree with Steven.
I have to be a bit skeptical, though I don’t want to rule this out. The first red flag that comes up for me is that, according to the authors, Vitamin K can basically be found in two sources: Natto and Kale juice. Now I hate to sound Paleo here, but surely there must be other sources. I’m a European American and I doubt that my ancestors were eating natto and/or sucking down Kale juice, although coming from the southern part of the United States, I ate plenty of Kale and turnip greens growing up.
Of course, I know the fallacy of basing our diet choices on ancestral diets, but it needs to be at least taken into consideration as to why we would need this extra supplementation of Vitamin K. I mean Vitamin D supplementation makes sense. Most of us work in offices and don’t get out in the sun enough, but it’s hard to believe that most of us suffer from a deficiency of Kale Juice or Natto. Unlike our peasant ancestors who spent hours working in the field under the sun and got lots of Vitamin D, our families never ate natto or drank kale juice in the first place. Now the fact that Japanese suffer much less heart disease than, say, Americans do suggests there MIGHT be something to your statements. However, I don’t know how you would create a control to prove that it’s the Natto that is a factor. Unless I am missing something, all you have posited here is based on EXTRAPOLATION.
I understand that some benefits may indeed appear over the long-run rather than the short-term, but I have to be skeptical of this claim. We are told that a lot of things are good for us, but then no benefits ever show up. Most of us here have experienced the problems associated with “good-sounding” theories that failed either dramatically or, at best, just have no effect.
For most of us here, our blood clots when we bleed, our bones heal when broken, why would we need to supplement with Vitamin K?
I hope that the authors will address my concerns. I wasn’t intending to be flippant, and I am not trying to beat up on them. I just have legitimate concerns. After all, most of us here have been through the vitamin Merry-go-round with little to show for it, except depleted bank accounts. Why did you choose to write on Vitamin K, instead of some other vitamin?
The blood clotting issue with vitamin K is not really relevant to supplementation (since most people eat enough to not be deficient) and bones do heal. Beyond that though, Vitamin K has repeatedly been shown to reduce fracture risk (suggesting improved bone integrity) and can reduce arterial calcification (ie. arterial stiffness). These mechanisms are maximized in rate at the oral dose recommended (1mg).
While natto and kale were emphasized, that was because they are the best sources of vitamin K and you may be able to reach the 1mg with them when consuming a normal amount. Other foods can be used to reach 1mg, but they would need to be overconsumed quite a bit (its doable, but impractical).
For the most important part, the ‘why should we supplement vitamin K’, it is mainly due to arterial calcification and reducing stiffness. This phenomena is actually a damn good predictor of cardiovascular disease risk (and any intervention to reduce stiffness is thus seen as therapeutic) and all cause mortality. Plus, vitamin K reduces the possibility of subclinically overdosing on vitamin D (of which the main adverse effect is arterial stiffness).
Kurtis, thank you for your response. You’ve got me interested in Vitamin K now! If not the supplement then at least keeping it in mind for food sources. I am very interested in its potential to reduce arterial calcification, but I am also interested in what you say regarding Vitamin D. I find that I need the upper-limit of Vitamin D, either through sun or supplementation. It’s one of those things that makes a notable difference. So sounds like I need to keep the Vitamin K in mind as a means to balance that.
I am not a big fan of supplementation, but sometimes there may need to be these kinds of interventions. Thanks for your work. The website is fantastic.
I’ve got interested in VK back in the day when I read the Seth Roberts blog. He claimed that he got his calcification levels measured repeatedly and that it went down over time. He attributed it to the VK he consumed in pastured? butter he was consuming daily.
Then as we know, pretty much everyone, even those immaculately clean paleo people had at least some sludge in their veins. So taking into account the VK’s capabilities to fight it offI think that stuff is worth trying.
Hmmmm… could be scienceitis http://zentofitness.com/scienceitis/
For most of us here, our blood clots when we bleed, our bones heal when broken, why would we need to supplement with Vitamin K?
My Dad’s blood clotted and his bones healed. He also had arteries as stiff as nails and clogged to the hilt. Quadruple bypass almost killed him.
The irony is, that after heart surgery, you go on a blood-thinner like Coumadin. Then you have to AVOID Vit K and the list is extensive. It’s in way more foods than kale and natto: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/vitamin-k-foods-to-avoid-while-on-coumadin.html
It is observed that vitamin K and warfarin do not go well together. There are certain chemicals in vitamin K foods that interact with Coumadin (warfarin) and minimize its efficacy. Thus, vitamin K and Coumadin interaction can make the medicine substantially ineffective, thereby increasing the chances of developing more blood clots. So, for best results, one should considerably minimize intake of vitamin K rich foods whenever taking a daily dose of Coumadin. They are mentioned below:
Vegetables that include kale, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green onions, spinach, alfalfa, swiss chard, turnip greens, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard greens and collard greens, watercress and green pepper
Fruits such as avocado and blueberries
Green tea and chamomile tea
Herbs such as parsley, endive, St. John’s Wort, bilberry, ginger, garlic, feverfew, red clover, willow bark, licorice, turmeric and ginko
Vegetable oils that include soybean, olive, cottonseed and canola
Certain meat products are a strict no-no as they are found to be high in vitamin K. So, if you are taking Coumadin, avoid eating pork liver and beef liver.
Moderate Sources of Vitamin K
Celery, cooked peas, green apple, peanut butter and summer squash.
Low Vitamin K Foods
Vegetables such as cucumber, cauliflower and carrots
Fruits that include oranges and strawberries
Fish (salmon, canned tuna)
Breakfast cereals (Kellogg’s Cornflakes)
Nuts (cashewnuts, pistachios)
Milk and dairy products such as yogurt
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/vitamin-k-foods-to-avoid-while-on-coumadin.html
Additionally, most Natto supplements have Vitamin K removed as their effects cancel each other out. Natto and Warfarin break up fibrins and clots (that can be deadly), Vitamin K can promote it. K is a tricky thing. I personally wouldn’t supplement with it because I eat plenty of foods that contain it and less clots is a nice thing for a menstruating woman- the suggestion that kale JUICE and a man made food like natto are your only hopes of making the cut is, uh, well….
Like Thomas may have alluded to, getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D through food is tricky, yes….but it’s actually kinda more like a steroid and is acquired primarily through exposure to the sun- at the right latitudes, at least. So one can see why getting that particular nutrient in proper amounts would be challenging through diet. But if K intake at numbers only attainable through manipulation of two specific foods is what we NEED for good health, then I think the verdict is in: Paleo ain’t the way to go, man. Not unless there was a juicer in the cave.
Though, I would wager that if you’re eating a varied diet of foods grown on rich soils, you’re probably fine.
Timbo, people on warfarin do not need to ‘minimize intake of vit k to avoid interaction…’. You can eat as much vita as you want if you titrate the dose of warfarin up accordingly. Of course, ppl may not want to take heaps of the drug, but there is no need in principle to avoid vit k foods. It’s a matter of consistency, and, if there is inconsistency, of changing the dose accordingly through rigorous management…
Thomas, your European ancestors were probably getting a good amount of Vit K, the authors forgot to mention that Gouda cheese is a very good source of K2. Ummm…who made Gouda cheese? ;)
Jon O, thanks. Gouda is a hell of a lot tastier than Natto (yuck…I sometimes have lunch with a couple of Japanese girls here at lunch…that stuff looks like snot)
Natto: 775 mcg per 100 gram serving
So around 200 mcg of VK per ounce
Gouda: 20 mcg per ounce
Foie Gras: 100 mcg of vitamin K per ounce
I just checked with my Japanese. The typical serving of Natto is around 38 grams (around an ounce and a half). So they are 300 mcg/serving of Natto.
You’d have to eat 15 ounce of Gouda. And 3 ounces of Foie Gras to get equivalent amount of Vitamin K.
Personally, I couldn’t eat Natto. I will eat Gouda, but at most, just a few ounces. Foie Gras looks like the best bet. Easy to eat 3 ounces. Of course, some will have moral issues around eating Foie Gras. I understand that.
Furthermore JonO, let’s be clear about one thing. My European ancestors were 100 percent White Trash. They didn’t eat no fancy Gouda cheeses. Hell no! They ate Cheez-Whiz and Beanie-Weenies. They probably had an Economy size Velveeta when they came over on the Mayflower or however they hell they got here. Just in case you didn’t know, Cheez-Whiz and Beanie-Weenies have no Vitamin K in them. I doubt they have any vitamins in them at all!
Why are vitamin K supplements illegal in Canada? There must be some major downside?
We’re both Canadians, and we can both buy it … ?
There is a pharmacological dosing protocol using one variant of vitamin K2 (MK-4) which is dosed in the 45mg range, and this particular protocol as well as MK-4 may be falsely viewed as pharmaceuticals due to that.
MK-7 and Vitamin K1 are not illegal, and I wouldn’t assume that if Canada makes something illegal that it is bad because L-Carnitine couldn’t be sold in the past.
Love these guys,
They have done a fantastic and rigorous search work with examine.com …. my favorite source of information related to supplements.
Thanks so much to put such data for free!
Who do you love most Acaru…these two guys or Coldmember?
Despite my questions and doubts expressed above, I have looked at the Examine.com site. Their information appears to be well researched, and I will be getting their ebook.
Thank you. We have nutritionists and other professionals who recommend our work to their own students: http://examine.com/testimonials/
Yep, their ebook sounds pretty cool :).
I kinda feel as if this article should be on livestrong.com :P
Anyway, I’ve been supplementing with vitamin K2 for a few weeks now. I did some research. Although you say mk-7 is better for supplementation because it stays longer in the body than mk-7, I am not sure if that is sound reasoning.
I’ve read the reasoning that mk-4 gets used more easily and that is why it doesn’t stay as long in the body.
“Two forms of vitamin K2 supplements are commercially available: menaquinone-4 (MK-4), also called menatetrenone, and menaquinone-7 (MK-7). MK-4 is a synthetic product that is believed to be chemically and physiologically identical to the vitamin K2 found in animal fats. This form has been used in most of the animal experiments and in the Japanese osteoporosis studies. Although synthetic, it is effective, and there is no known toxicity. MK-7 is a natural extract of natto, a fermented soy food popular in Eastern Japan. MK-4 is much less expensive than MK-7, but no studies have yet compared the efficacy of these two forms.”
Ops seems like I quoted the wrong part :P
This is what I meant…
“There are no studies available, however, comparing the efficacy of MK-7 to that of the MK-4 found in animal products. MK-9, and presumably MK-7, stays in the blood for a longer period of time than does MK-4, but this appears to be because tissues take up MK-4 much more rapidly.30 Whether the rapid uptake of MK-4 or the longer time spent in the blood by bacterial menaquinones have particular benefits or drawbacks is unclear. Future research will have to clarify whether the vitamin K2 synthesized by animal tissues and by bacteria are interchangeable, whether one is superior to the other, or whether each presents its own unique value to our health.”
When I first started getting smart on nutrition, I fell for every supplement claim I read and was taking a handful a day. For the last couple years, my only supplements have been a daily Vit K (Mk-4/7 combo) and 2500IU Vit D3 in winter months.
I think there is ample evidence to show we have lost our ancestral connection with Vit K and need more than diet can provide.
Sure adequate K2 and D3 levels sound like a reasonable thing to pay a little attention to, but thanks to 180degreehealth we know they don’t mean a thing without a solid flow of calories to maintain a high BMR.
Meh. All vitamins and minerals are important, are they not? I’ll just eat the food and skip the supplements thanks.
Indeed they are all important. But some are far easier than others to obtain.
Sol, which vitamins does your research show to be the hardest to obtain, even for somebody eating a good, broad-based diet?
Vitamin K, Vitamin D. By miles.
“one must either puree/juice large quantities of kale (…) or consuming the fermented soy product known as natto. If neither of those are eaten daily, supplementation would be required to bridge the gap.”
This is so much wrong. Eating everyday 3000 grain calories plus 4+ pounds of well cooked vegetables, I always get more than enough vitamin K from these sources. The problem is that statements such as “kale and natto are the only source of vitamin K” assume that people eat like anorexic little birds. If you eat whole foods in large amounts you’ll get all your vitamins very easily.
Francesco, they didn’t mean that kale and natto are the only sources of vitamin K. They argue that those are among the foods that contain enough to reasonably achieve the amounts of Vitamin K they think would be beneficial to avoid arterial stiffness.
I might be the one guilty of accusing them of saying that only kale and natto have Vitamin K. Sorry about that.
Now the level of Vitamin K you are getting is probably fine for most purposes. But say you come from a family with genetic predisposition for cardiovascular problems (or have personally suffered from cardivascular problems). If so, then maybe you would want to offset that by increasing your levels of Vitamin K beyond what is reasonable to get from most food sources. In that case, you might want to supplement or eat more of these Vitamin K intense food sources.
On the contrary my dear ThomasSeay! For example, eating 4 pounds of lettuce a day, which I happen to be doing often these days, I get 2000 mcg of Vitamin K, which is twice the amount recommended by this article for the people at high cardiovascular risk.
And lettuce isn’t even one of the vegetables known for being rich in K.
And there are many high K vegetables other than kale, spinach comes to mind.
The thing is, the article assumes that people eat like birds. If you eat several pounds of greens a day, you’ll be getting thousands of mcg of vitamin K.
You have to concede, Francesco, that most people, including even those on this site, are not routinely consuming 4lbs, or even 2lbs of greens per day. Good on you if that works for you, but you’re in the minority. I think you’ll have an easier time encouraging folks to consider supplementing than getting them to consume pounds of greens each day.
Yes I agree that it’s great if people supplement vitamin K and it’s great to try and get people to supplement, and I agree that most people don’t eat so many vegetables.
I just didn’t like the sweeping statement “no other way to get vitamin k other than kale natto or supplements” when there are so many ways to get it. Like for example 200 grams of spinach a day, not so uncommon.
Also I think people should be getting two pounds of greens a day regardless. 2+ pounds of greens isn’t that much extraordinary, many health authorities propose that much, and it isn’t difficult, the best way to do it is to give the greens a preliminary cooking to deflate them then put them in a blender and you get a green cream, then you put them back in the pot to cook them further and you get a concentrated vegetable broth/cream that still has all the water soluble nutrients and is incredibly easy to drink or to use as cooking water for something that absorbs it, like rice.
Alright so this was a bit off topic but I hope anybody reading this will be inspired to try it, would make me very happy. The benefits of eating 2 or 4 pounds of quality, naturally grown greens are wonderful, it’s easy and doesn’t prevent one from eating any amount of other food, much less “the food”.
I am definitely going to add this to my daily rice, thanks! :)
4 pounds of lettuce Francesco? Fuck that. You win the pissing match, dude. I’ll swallow a pill before I’ll do that. I am surprised that you have time for any activity other than eating!
I wasn’t trying to one-up anybody I swear. It really is easy to eat like this if you know how, I described the technique in one the posts above – I don’t even notice that I’m eating so many greens when they get completely “absorbed” in the carbs I eat – and it does confer many benefits other than vitamin K.
And anyhow, it only takes 200 grams of spinach to make 1000 mcg of vitamin K, not so hard or rare.
Sorry if I missed it, but what form of k2 do greens have? For me, I want to be sure to get the mk4 form. I did a lot of research prior to seeing this post and determined that would be the best for me, but can’t remember the food sources of mk4 – thought it was just in butter and cheese from grass feed cows and other hard/expensive to get foods.
I have been taking Thorne Research K2 for about a week – hope it works since it is on the expensive side. I give it to my kids too since they are very prone to cavities. It is the only supplement I’ve ever given them.
You are losing sight of bioavailability.
Just because an onion has quercetin doesn’t mean it’s being used.
Bioavailability was one of the reasons I chose k2 mk4 over others – according to what I read it was better that way. I’ve never seen your site, just trying to do the best I can sorting out through ALL of the info, reviews, testimonials, etc., out there……
The below link contains some comments to a review – among other things I read, Dee’s comments convinced me to go with K2 mk4. I know there are other people’s reports, studies, reviews, etc. that say mk7 is better but I did look at many views and reports and went with what I did – I still think I made the right decision. I have an advanced degree in science so I am aware of how science works – including the pitfalls.
I read the Amazon exchange. IMHO, Dee is just pissed off because her sister’s nose bled on her new furniture.
Beyond the debate about MK-7 versus Mk-4, is there any reason to buy such an expensive product as that K2 by Thorne. Carlson appears to offer an MK-4 product at a much more reasonable price:
Maybe anger was behind her comments, though I didn’t sense that. Who knows? But I thought her comments as well as other pointed out that just because mk7 is found in blood serum longer, doesn’t mean that the body is going to absorb or use it more. And though many of the studies favor mk7, I saw a lot of reviews from individuals saying they had improvement from taking mk4, much more than I saw with mk7. I do believe science is the best way of finding truth but isolated studies are usually very limited and can’t explain things completely – so at least with supplements, I like to take a look at research and first hand experience.
As far as brand – I did do a limited search before going with Thorne and don’t think I had seen the K2 from Carlson – I was kind of eager to order K2 at the time. I do think a liquid vitamin is much easier for my kids to take (maybe I’ll save the Thorne for them and get the Carlson for me, since I have since seen it favorably reviewed on many forums). Per mg of MK4, Carlson is about half the cost of Thorne I think. The disadvantage with taking a capsule over a liquid is portion control and if the body can only absorb so much MK2 at a time, there might not be a cost advantage of Carlson over Thorne – I break up taking the K2 from Thorne in 2 doses in a day – 2 or 3 drop at a time so 5 to 6 drops total per day or 5 to 6 mgs a day which is roughly the same amount in a Carlson capsule. I can’t remember why I decided to take that amount split like that, but I think I’ll stick with that for now – doesn’t seem too excessive, I hope.
Lounie, you haven’t been on here too long, have you? If you had, you would know that I am just having a bit of fun at “Dee’s” expense. :) Although I am suspicious when people go on rants like that.
You probably broke up the dosage due to the short half-life of MK4.
Well the article you posted here says that the 1000mcg recommendation is based on K1 and pureed kale is an appropriate way to get it, if the K1 in pureed kale is sufficiently bioavailable I don’t see why the K1 in other pureed vegetables shouldn’t be.
i just want to point out that it might be more logical to eat a fatty food to get a fat-soluble vitamin than to eat a vegetable.
i’m a homesteader, and i’d rather raise a dozen free-range eggs per day to feed my family of four rather than 16 pounds of lettuce per day. and not only will the K be there but the A, D, E as well as protein…well– everything a living being (chick) needs to grow from feathered-butt to beak.
i’m not saying it is any EASIER, because if i was raising the grain that my chickens need (in addition to the greens they eat for free) it would be about even.
not only that, i also get to eat the chicken when it stops laying, including the broth and the organs… you aren’t going to get gelatin from lettuce.
The richest sources of fat soluble vitamins aren’t necessarily fatty foods. Sockeye salmon is the richest food source of vitamin D. Liver is the richest source of vitamin A. The low-fat sources of K have already been pointed out. Vitamin E is needed in proportion to PUFA intake, which is why the highest sources are nuts and seeds, but you only need it if you eat lots of nuts, seeds, and vegetable oil.
Just pointing that out because WAPF-ers commonly make that mistake, engulfing lots of butter and lard and whole milk thinking they have to eat plenty of fat to get their fat soluble vitamins. That’s just not true.
well, i would say an egg and salmon are both fattier than lettuce!
there may be some carbs in liver, but i’m not going to eat 4 pounds of it in homes of getting my carbs for the day.
god i’ve gotta start reading this crap i post.
i would say that i’m glad to learn that i could possibly do the work of the chicken and eat all those greens and get the nutrition i need. in a survival situation that might be useful.
but i’d rather grow eggs than lettuce (god the lettuce in my garden just goes to seed, boring stuff) and i’d rather eat a banana pancake with 2 free range eggs in it than 4 pounds of lettuce any day!
also, from what i’ve seen, the chicken would rather eat the bug and make him do the work of eating the greens.
Please, forget about the 4 pounds of lettuce, that was a different point I was making; in fact, truly moderate portions of boiled spinach/kale are enough for your fat soluble vitamin requirements.
Lettuce looks to be about 15% fat. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2475/2 Of course, almost everyone puts pure oil on salad, and salads ending up being more like 80% fat. Sockeye salmon is 43% fat. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/ethnic-foods/10460/2
As far as eggs are concerned, I’m far from blown away by their fat soluble vitamin content. I’m sure what the chickens eat makes a huge difference compared to standard references, but still.
that is amazing about lettuce having fats. learn something new every day. i don’t see why not. 15% of the calories of lettuce are fat. huh!
i had a delicious wedge salad smothered with blue cheese last night. god it was awesome and i mentioned the fats in the lettuce to my dinner partner but he didn’t believe and said “people will say anything on the internet.” :)
there is wisdom in letting the chickens forage. from late winter and little patches of green between the snow banks, from high drought in summer, to freeze and unfreeze november they are much better at scrounging nutrients from the earth than i am. think of them as little nutrient foraging robots if you will. they also eat little rocks matt! rocks!
a chick comes out of an egg–a whole living being, bursting with health, able to chirp and run! bones, liver, brain, eyes… i’m always blown away by eggs and i doubt i’ll ever NOT be!
i suppose a good way to test a battery-raised egg’s nutrition is to try to hatch one against a free-range egg of the same breed. it may surprise you and not be that bad off! although the lifestyle of a battery hen is horrid, hens must be fed pretty well to keep producing.
Maybe I made a mistake in pointing at lettuce in particular, I didn’t mean that it’s a good choice for vitamin K, in fact I mentioned it precisely because it is NOT, I just meant that if you happen to be eating the larger amounts of vegetables which some health minded people eat, then you’ll be getting enough vitamin K even if your vegetable choices fail to include the higher-K ones.
But if you want to compare low-fat vegetable sources of K to fatty animal sources, then it’s best to compare say eggs to say kale or spinach; with those very small amounts are sufficient, and even those small amounts become really, really tiny and easy to eat if you puree/cook them, because vegetables shrink and deflate with cooking and become very very easy to eat.
Likewise one should think of pureed carrots for vitamin A, pureed chicory for vitamin E… all these vegetables are really strong in their respective “main” vitamin and very easy to eat thanks to the shrinkage that comes with cooking.
Vegetables also digest fast and leave you with an empty stomach which allows you to eat plenty of calories during the rest of the day, and as Matt sometimes points out, the more animal protein you eat the less overall calories you tend to eat because of the very satiating effects of animal protein, so maybe stuffing oneself with eggs in certain cases and for certain people might backfire.
TL;DR —– you don’t need to eat 10 pounds of vegetable a day for your fat soluble vitamins; one cup of boiled spinach a day is enough.
(enough for K, A, and E too if PUFA’s are low)
and I do mean the higher K recommendation of 1000 mcg/day.
well, if you want vitamin k in your diet, then don’t be too quick to write off the wapf, since that IS price’s x factor, according to chris masterjohn. price’s foods of choice were fermented traditional cod liver oil and spring/fall butter oil in his experiments in which he reversed dental decay.
it is important to get all the fat solubles, not just k but e, d, and a. they work in concert. and at the same time, lots of minerals from real food so that those fat soluble vities can do their thang.
i THINK that many fermented foods have some K in it. you can produce K in your gut if you have good flora. i assume ALL cheeses have some, not just gouda. is it produced when fats ferment? i’m forgetting.
dairy produced by cows on rapidly growing grass, high fat seafoods like shellfish, pastured eggs, the organs of pastured animals, insects…
the swiss got it from their dairy, the celts from their fish, the native americans from their organ meats.
probably we lack it because the animals from which we derive food are no longer raised on pasture. how to find pastured foods? raise them or ask your local chapter leader.
Thank you Queenbee. As I was reading the comments I was thinking, geez, did everyone miss Chris’s WAPF article on this? “Using a chemical test, he [Price] determined that this compound?which he called Activator X?occurred in the butterfat, organs and fat of animals consuming rapidly growing green grass, and also in certain sea foods such as fish eggs.”
I craved greens when I was in my third trimester. I always obeyed my cravings, then and now. Usually for dairy, steak, beef, greens. I occasionally get a hankering for greens and cornbread. Pan fried kale with garlic is delicious!
My grandmother used to boil greens with ham-hock. Serve it with corn pone. That was good.
There seems to be some confusion with Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. From what I remember reading, most do not need to supplement with K1 (the one that deals with clotting) because we only need a small amount and our bodies will recycle it because clotting is pretty darn important and it doesn’t want to go without.
Vitamin K2 is what leads calcium into the bones and away from heart tissue and other soft tissues and joints. Basically Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, but Vitamin K2 directs the absorbed calcium on where to go. Weston A. Price did amazing research on the effects of mothers supplementing Vitamin K2 during their pregnancy and how that affected the baby’s bone development (think wider jaws, less crooked teeth).
Vitamin K2 is highest in natto, but it is also plentiful in grassfed butter & cheese (cows convert grass to this vitamin in their milk, which is why grassfed is important here) and pastured chicken eggs. You know when you open a farm egg and the yolk is SUPER orange? That’s Vitamin K2. One of the reasons we are short on this vitamin now is because we are not eating as many (or any) old school farmed eggs or grassfed butter/cheese as our grandparents did. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a snobby “grassfed only” standpoint, I promise. Lol. Just how the cow’s body works.
Yeeeeeeeah, I’m kind of a nerd.
This is where I learned all of the above. It’s amazing. A real page turner and game changer.
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleue
The body makes K2 out of K1 as far as I can tell.
Mark Sisson says the worst case conversion rate between the two is 1/10. If that’s true, then vegetables are a more than adequate source of even K2, because the amount of K1 in vegetables is huge. That’s probably the reason why K2 was never identified as an essential vitamin.
Actually I think K2 wasn’t identified as an essential vitamin because it wasn’t realized it existed until pretty recently.
“The body makes K2 out of K1 as far as I can tell.
Mark Sisson says the worst case conversion rate between the two is 1/10. If that’s true, then vegetables are a more than adequate source of even K2, because the amount of K1 in vegetables is huge. That’s probably the reason why K2 was never identified as an essential vitamin.”
Read my comment below: http://180degreehealth.com/2013/07/vitamin-benefits#comment-86888
Vitamin K is also a by-product of healthy gut flora activity. This helps to explain the practice of circumcising on the 8th day – by that time the infant would have been nursing and have cultivated adequate gut flora to be producing his own vitamin K. Before that point blood clotting would be tenuous, risking fatal hemorrhage in the infant.
This is NOT an endorsement of circumcision, just an explanation. Perhaps K deficiencies relate to poor gut flora in contemporary folks – drinking chlorinated water, taking antibiotics, etc.
I believe Swiss chard hasn’t been mentioned, and it is a good source of vitamin K. It is much easier to grow than spinach or lettuce because it doesn’t bolt in the heat. It also tolerates frost, so it grows well through the fall. I put a lot on the soups I make and eat most days for lunch. frost,
A lot of pharmaceutical drugs deplete or disrupt absorption of vitamins. One of the most popular, that I was on for years, is nexium. It causes deficiencies in D, B, calcium, zinc etc. . Some doctors suggest supplementation to help with this. In a perfect world no one would take drugs and we would all get our vitamins from our food. In my case I have to supplement with a lot of vitamin D. In light of some of this info on K I may supplement to help counteract some of the problems of the heavy D supplementation.
Sauerkraut for K2! Get yer Polish on!
Unfortunately, not all fermented foods are high in K2. Natto is; kraut isn’t.
I second the recommendation of Kate Rheaume-Bleue. There’s a good interview (podcast) on her site. Speaking of books, has anyone read the book of the guy who megadoses on Vitamin D3 and claims all kinds of benefits? He also takes K2–at least he’s done some homework. It’s on Amazon for $2 or $3 (Kindle).
Are you talking about Bill Sardi: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-sardi/vitamin-d-benefits_b_1540695.html
No, I’m talking about this guy:
Thanks. That looks like a fun book to read ICG. I am an Amazon Prime Member, so I can read it for free.
Kraut is good food!
But it’s good to no we survived without adequate Vit K!
And I’m as far from Paleo as you can get!!
Looks like an advertisement to me!
Vit k helps me with tooth sensitivity and cavities when I take with calcium rich foods. I can feel the effects within a few days.
I thought that we made vitamin k2 in the digestive tract with the right ki d of “flora,” Am I remembering this correctly?
“I thought that we made vitamin k2 in the digestive tract with the right ki d of ?flora,? Am I remembering this correctly?”
The Bacillus species of bacteria sythesize a nice amount of K2, but it’s unknown how much of this is absorbed in the large intestine, let alone used.
Eating vitamin K1 is not a feasible way to increase K2 levels in the body, since the amount of K1 absorbed from the intestines is capped in order to prevent menadione toxicity (via attempted conversion to MK-4). I believe a maximum of 200mcg of K1 can be absorbed daily from the diet. This does not apply to K2 (any of the menaquinones.)
It’s wiser to eat K2-rich foods or supplement with this nutrient. It’s not easy to be K1 deficient if there are any greens in your diet.
As far as MK-4 vs MK-7, MK-4 not only prevents soft tissue and artery calcification and places calcium into the bone matrix, but it also activates the blood clotting factors, just like K1. MK-7 does not boast this same versatility as MK-4.
I am amazed nobody noticed that Vitamin K-2 makes hard cheese into a health food. Even grain fed cattle produce cheese that is one of the better sources of Vitamin K-2. Cattle that eat grass and hay produce more K-2. I see all the cows grazing in the Tillamook area, so I am hoping Tillamook cheese is worth the extra cost. Somebody on an internet site said they stop getting cavities when they ate 2 ounces of cheese each day.
I was able to photograph and film while riding, something I wouldn’t be able or
even try to do for most of the rest of the trip. also helps when spraying anything to use different angles.
When matched against finished job by paint brushes and rollers, paint sprayers go a step further.
I had inflammation in my mouth that would not go away. Then I started eating spinach every day. After about 2 months, I no longer have inflammation; but, I still have to eat the spinach often, in order to keep the inflammation under control. If I eat too much sugar, the inflammation comes back; but, each time I return to eating spinach and get control again.
From my local library; I read this book: “Cure Gum Disease Naturally: Heal Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease with Whole Foods” by Ramiel Nagel
I have tried taking vitamin K as a supplement and have not felt like I received any benefits from it.
Now I realize the goal is to consume five servings of green vegetables every day.
The spinach may be alkalizing your mouth, or it may just be from the extra chewing. In more recent times, I’ve gained a lot of confidence about CHEWING specifically as a fantastic dental remedy for a wide spectrum of issues. You might try mastic gum or “chewelry” sold on Amazon. Hard biting in particular really strengthens the teeth in a fundamental way. I eat no vegetables, sugar all day (literally cookies, candies, and sugared drinks), and I haven’t brushed my teeth in 2 entire years!!! No dental problems whatsoever. I also benefit a lot from eating a diet really low in vitamin A, which raises D levels among other things.