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The Form of Vitamin K2 You Need for Healthy Bones & Arteries

Vitamin K2 is essential in building strong, healthy bones while also protecting arteries against the deposition of excess calcium (calcification of the arteries).

Interest in K2 stems from its role in regulating calcium. K2 activates osteocalcin proteins which incorporate calcium into bone. Bone mass acquired through childhood and adolescence leads to healthy bones later in life, which are needed to sustain physical stress and avoid diseases including osteoporosis and osteopenia. Bone mass declines throughout adult life, with peak bone mass (PBM) achieved in childhood at the age of 13 to 19 years [1]. A 10% increase in PBM is estimated to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fracture as we age by 50% [2].

Vitamin K2 also activates matrix GLA (MGP) protein which binds excess calcium to prevent deposit in soft tissues such as arteries, a significant risk factor in cardiovascular disease [3] and a common condition as we age. Vitamin K2 is deficient in the western diet [4], and, as such, supplementation is critical to good health. The MK-7 form of K2 is optimal for dietary supplementation because it has a half-life of two to three days, compared to the one to two hours of MK-4 [5, 6].

1. Bailey, D.A., R.A. Faulkner, and H.A. McKay, Growth, physical activity, and bone mineral acquisition. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 1996. 24: p. 233-66.

2. Bailey, D.A., The Saskatchewan Pediatric Bone Mineral Accrual Study: bone mineral acquisition during the growing years. Int J Sports Med, 1997. 18 Suppl 3: p. S191-4.

3. Schurgers, L.J., J. Uitto, and C.P. Reutelingsperger, Vitamin K-dependent carboxylation of matrix Gla-protein: a crucial switch to control ectopic mineralization. Trends Mol Med, 2013. 19(4): p. 217-26.

4. Cundiff, D.K. and P.S. Agutter, Cardiovascular Disease Death Before Age 65 in 168 Countries Correlated Statistically with Biometrics, Socioeconomic Status, Tobacco, Gender, Exercise, Macro- nutrients, and Vitamin K. Cureus, 2016. 8(8): p. E748.

5. Moller, M., et al., Bioavailability and Chemical/Functional Aspects of Synthetic MK-7 vs Fermentation-Derived MK-7 in Randomised Controlled Trials. Int J Vitam Nutr Res, 2016: p. 1-15.

6. Schurgers, L.J., et al., Vitamin K-containing dietary supplements: comparison of synthetic vitamin K1 and natto-derived menaquinone-7. Blood, 2007. 109(8): p. 3279-83.

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