|From http://www.health-heart.org/acceuil.htm The atheroma 'junk' in the media is cholesterol + calcium in older people.|
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."