Vitamin K is an essential vitamin. It is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, along with vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Vitamin K can be found in dark green vegetables, matcha tea and natto (fermented soybeans). Vitamin K2 can also be found in animal products since it is a result of bacterial fermentation.
The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin K is sufficient to support healthy blood coagulation. Higher levels of vitamin K, however, provide benefits for cardiovascular and bone health. Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain high levels of vitamin K from food alone.
Optimal levels of vitamin K are associated with improved bone circumference and diameter. Vitamin K can also protect cardiovascular health. It reduces the calcification and stiffening of arteries, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular-related mortality. Vitamin K may have a role to play in cancer therapy and anti-ageing treatments. It may also help with regulating insulin sensitivity and reducing skin reddening, but more research is needed to determine if vitamin K has an active role to play in these areas.
Vitamin K’s main mechanism is through the vitamin K cycle, which is a cyclical metabolic pathway that uses vitamin K to target specific proteins. When a protein expresses glutamate, it is targeted by vitamin K, which causes it to collect more calcium ions. Calcium ions are removed from the bloodstream, which prevents build-up in the arteries.
Vitamin K is often supplemented alongside vitamin D, since vitamin D also supports bone health. In fact, taking both together will improve the effects of each, since they are known to work synergistically. Excessive vitamin D can lead to arterial calcification, but vitamin K reduces this build-up.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient. It is one of the 24 micronutrients critical for human survival. The sun is the major natural source of nutrient, but vitamin D is also found naturally in fish and eggs. It is also added to dairy products.
Supplemental vitamin D is associated with a wide range of benefits, including increased cognition, immune health, bone health and well-being. Supplementation can also reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. People deficient in vitamin D may also experience increased testosterone levels after supplementation.
The body produces vitamin D from cholesterol, provided there is an adequate amount of UV light from sun exposure.
Most people are not deficient in vitamin D, but they do not have an optimal level of vitamin D either. Due to the many health benefits of vitamin D, supplementation is encouraged if optimal levels are not present in the body.