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I am confused about the difference between vitamin K1 and K2.


Q. Dear Terry, “I am confused about the difference between vitamin K1 and K2. Could you please explain?” — Liam O., Calgary, Canada

A. Dear Liam, The two main types of vitamin K we obtain through diet or supplements are K1 and K2. Many people are familiar with K1 and its effects on blood clotting, as vitamin K derived its name from the German word “klotting”. However, vitamin K2 is equally important, especially when it comes to heart disease prevention. Vitamin K2 is used to activate proteins that help carry calcium away from the arteries and into the bones where it belongs.

The lower your intake of vitamin K2, the greater your risk of heart disease and a heart attack. The Rotterdam study, a large population-based study of older Dutch adults, looked at the relationship between vitamin K2 and coronary heart disease (CHD). Those people who had a higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 had a lower risk of death from CHD and severe aortic calcification.

The body’s requirements for vitamin K1 and K2 are relatively low, measured in micrograms (mcg). While K1 is found in leafy greens and green vegetables, K2 is found in liver, meat, egg yolks, full-fat dairy, and the Japanese fermented food called natto. Because everyone has different dietary preferences and needs, supplementing with vitamin K1 and K2 may be necessary.

When taking vitamin K2 for cardiovascular support, I would also include vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) and vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate). For maintaining strong bones, vitamin K1 and K2 are often combined with vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, boron, and Lactobacillus sporogenes.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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