Sunday, 4 January 2009

Vitamin K

From The atheroma 'junk' in the media is cholesterol + calcium in older people.

After Vitamin D, Vitamin K may be the "next big thing" you hear about in the media. Why? Just Google "Vitamin K" and see what comes up. At the top of the list is good ol' Wikipedia.

Vitamin K used to be thought of as only the blood clotting (Koagulation) vitamin, as the liver needs it in order to synthesise Factor X. Some new-borns need Vitamin K injections, to achieve proper blood clotting.

However, Vitamin K is also needed for the carboxylation of osteocalcin in Bone Matrix Gla Proteins. The what of what in what? In simple terms, Vitamin K is needed to ensure that dietary calcium goes into your bones, rather than into your artery walls, kidneys, nervous system, brain, pancreas etc. A lack of Vitamin K can cause osteoporosis. To prevent/treat osteoporosis, either Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) or Vitamin K2 (menaquinone or menatetrenone) will suffice. Only Vitamin K2 can remove calcium from the media of artery walls.

I used 15mg/day of Vitamin K2 (plus 1.5g/day of Ca plus 400mg/day of Mg plus ~1,000iu/day of Vitamin D3) to reverse osteoporosis in my lumbar spine (bone density by DEXA went from -2SD to 0SD) in 3 years. My endocrinologist told me that this was impossible. It definitely happened! Miracles take a little longer ;-)

From The Rotterdam Study:-"The relative risk (RR) of CHD mortality was reduced in the upper tertile (~40.9ug/d) of dietary menaquinone (K2) compared to the lower tertile (~15.1ug/d), RR 0.43, 95% CI: 0.24, 0.77.
Phylloquinone (K1) intake was not related to any of the outcomes."

RR 0.43 means, on average, 57% reduction in heart attack deaths. I've now put K2 in Cholesterol & Coronary Heart Disease.

Vitamin K2 is required for blood glucose regulation. See Vitamin K₂ prevents hyperglycemia and cancellous osteopenia in rats with streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes.
Vitamin K2 is required for brain health. See Look after your brain.

Good food sources of Vitamin K2 can be found here.

Warfarin antagonises Vitamin K, so it can result in arterial calcification. Anyone taking warfarin should ask their GP for regular check-ups to keep an eye on this potential problem. Taking Vitamin K supplements makes warfarin ineffective.

As we age, arteries can harden, bones can soften and joints can become painfully calcified. See Calcium shift: An interesting hypothesis for an hypothesis explaining how this can happen, a list of other diseases caused by Calcium Shift, and how to prevent and/or reverse it (the answer's in this post!).

NEW! Speculations on vitamin K, VKORC1 genotype and autism.
"Recent research has documented the protective effect of Vitamin K on neural cells and its role in maintaining normal neural development. Of interest, specific neural effects of Vitamin K overlap with key brain development aberrations, including those associated with autism. Furthermore, Vitamin K protects against oxidative stress associated with toxic exposure."

"...a small sample of severely autistic children of Somali descent residing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota were genotyped and found to have a higher than expected genetic substitution that results in reduction in the efficiency of the Vitamin K cycle."


Richard Nikoley said...

Here's a comprehensive article on K2 (MK-4) by Cris Masterjohn of the Weston Price Foundation:

I assembled some other links in this post on K2 a few months back:

Nigel Kinbrum B.Sc.(Hons) Eng said...

Hi. Thanks for that. I've seen Chris Masterjohns site and I gather that he's identified Vitamin K2 as being Price's "activator X". I also regularly look at

Suffice it to say, I've been supplementing since 2003 with 15mg/week of MK-4 from HERE.

Cheers, Nige.

Rosso said...

Hi Nige,

Zipvit has these here at a considerably less dosage and price to what you're taking.

How would supplementing weekly as you mention in your follow up reply fare against daily? Does half life come into play here?

Have you seen the Throne Research $60 1mg drops here? What is your take on the delivery system, integrating it with MCTs?

Also on a separate note, do you think there might be some synergism with Conjugated Linoleic Acid and MK-4?

TedHutchinson said...

There are some very good articles about Vitamin K2 here
Wholehealth source
Stephan is a very intelligent guy who has the knack of explaining his views very clearly and he thinks very logically.
Since reading his blog I've been scrounging marrow bones (butchers give them away for free) and turning them into home made stock. It really does make a difference to soups stews etc. I also add a little vinegar to the stock water so the calcium content is raised as well.

Nigel Kinbrum B.Sc.(Hons) Eng said...

Hi Rosso. I wondered where you'd got to. Did you get my e-mail?

Anyway, VRP's K2 caps contain 300 times more K2 than ZipVit's K2 pills but they're nowhere near 300 times the price.

Fat-soluble nutrients are stored, so they don't need to be taken daily. Theoretically, you could take a week's supply of omega-3 EFAs once a week, but that would be a bit hard to swallow!

I haven't investigated any alternatives to VRP. Studies on CLA show mixed results in humans so I don't think that it's worth paying money for CLA supps.

Rosso said...

Hey Nige, have got your email and have replied. I'll go ahead and order from VRP as your recommendation. It says 1 or 2 tabs per day on the site, just to check its 1 tab weekly right?

Nigel Kinbrum B.Sc.(Hons) Eng said...

Yup. 15mg K2/week gives you ~2,000mg K2/day which is more than enough to prevent calcification.

Rosso said...

Nige I was having a look at the list of IARC Group 3 carcinogens and to my shock and horror, Vitamin K is listed there.

click me

Nigel Kinbrum B.Sc.(Hons) Eng said...

Don't be too shocked. See Vitamin K Carcinogenicity

"One study conducted in the United Kingdom in 1970 found a nearly two-fold increase of leukaemia in children administered synthetic Vitamin K1 phytomenadione intramuscularly, but later studies have failed to find whether Vitamin K is carcinogenic or not."

Conclusions: a) Don't use synthetic Vitamin K1. b) Don't read too much into one study. c) Take Vitamin K2.

Rosso said...

Hey Nige, how you doin mate? Hope all is well with yourself and your mother.

I found the following on Wiki whilst looking for something to rid me of dark circles around my eyes...

Vitamin K as a Beauty Product

A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology examined the effect of applying a gel containing 2% vitamin K plus 0.1% retinol, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Fifty-seven adults with dark circles participated in the 8-week study, in which 47% of the testers noted "fair to moderate" improvement in their dark circles. The majority of testers noticed no change, but the treatment was well-tolerated.

Do you know of any commercial product like this available? I sure would love to try it.

Ian said...

Hi Nigel, enjoy your blog. I'm thinking of starting to supplement with Vitamin K2, and considering buying VRP's Ultra K2 capsules. I'm slightly nervous of taking a single 15mg capsule, it seems far in excess of what other K2 advocates suggest.

So, since this blog post is a few years old now, I just wanted to ask if you still take this dose, and you still see the benefits. Do you have links to any web articles that discuss the safety/toxicity of 15mg K2?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hi Ian,

Due to difficulties in buying the VRP K2 (VAT + handling charges on items >£15), I now take one daily.

Vitamin K2 is safe at a dose of 45mg/day. See