We know that bone health is an essential component of our overall well being. Strong bones help us stay mobile in our day to day lives, which helps to prevent disease. However research estimates that two million Canadians suffer from low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, also known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis leads to increased bone fragility, which ultimately increases risk of fracture (broken bones).
Fortunately, there are many steps that one can take to help keep their bones healthy and strong through their nutrition. While most people typically think of calcium and vitamin D as the ultimate vitamins for bone health, we also wanted to highlight one of the latest nutrients that can help strengthen your bones: Vitamin K2.
What is vitamin K2?
Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin known for its role in blood coagulation. However, it actually exists in different forms that have distinct roles. Vitamin K1 is the more well-known form that plays a role in blood clotting. Vitamin K2 is the lesser-known form that is produced by bacteria and is involved in bone and heart health.
How does it work?
To promote bone health, vitamin K2 allows calcium to be used by our bone-building cells to increase bone density. Increased bone density means stronger bones that are less likely to fracture or break. In a similar pathway, this vitamin redirects calcium from soft tissues and arteries to your bones. This increases your bone density and can potentially reduce stiffness in the arteries. Simply put, vitamin K2 can increase your bone size and might reduce cardiovascular risk!
Where is it found?
Vitamin K2 is only found in animal products or fermented foods. Animal sources include organ meats (especially liver), chicken, beef, bacon, and ham. The only vegetarian source is natto, a traditional Japanese food made by fermenting soybeans. However, it is important to note that there is no established recommended daily amount of vitamin K2 for maintaining general health.
Take home messages
If you want to support your general health and have no history of osteopenia or osteoporosis, continue to eat a varied diet with plenty of leafy greens. However, if you have osteoporosis, osteopenia, or are at higher risk of developing one or the other, you may want to consider a K2 supplement.
How to get started:
- As always, talk to your dietitian or pharmacist first when adding new supplements to your routine.
- Take 120 mcg vitamin K2 daily, preferably in the MK-7 form. Aim to take it with meals to enhance the absorption since it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
- Don’t forget to also consume enough calcium and vitamin D
- Combo products containing vitamin D and vitamin K2 are widely available, check with your dietitian to ensure you’re getting the appropriate amounts of both!
If you’re wondering whether a K2 supplement is the right fit for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Copeman dietitian.