Thursday, February 26, 2015

Benefits of Vitamin K

In recent months I've experienced brain fatigue and difficulty concentrating. In the process of addressing this problem, we discovered that I had a vitamin K deficiency. 

As I did some research, I learned that in fact most people are deficient in vitamin K. Dr. Mercola even calls it "the forgotten vitamin." Yet it's very important for good health, and vitamin K deficiency can lead to all kinds of health problems, including brain challenges.

The good news is that it's easy to optimize your vitamin K levels and receive many health benefits in the process. 

Vitamin K is divided in two types - 
K1 - This is found in green, leafy vegetables, and is responsible for healthy blood clotting.
K2 - This is made by the bacteria in your gut, and has many health benefits (see below). 
Note: There is also a K3 which is a synthetic vitamin that should be avoided because of possible toxicity. 

Vitamin K2 controls where calcium goes in your body. Thus it
- protects your heart by keeping calcium out of arteries and preventing hardening of the arteries
- helps prevent osteoporosis by directing calcium into the bones where it's needed.

K2 also has been shown 
- to prevent certain kinds of cancer
- to improve insulin sensitivity (the opposite of insulin resistance, which leads to many health problems)
- to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.

You can get some K2 from food sources, but you can also supplement with it. 

"The best vitamin K2 sources are grass-fed meats, dairy (raw organic certified) and a fermented soy product called natto. Adults need between 90-120 micrograms a day, but taking more won't hurt you (unlike with many other vitamins) as no toxicity has been noted in ingesting surplus vitamin K2. Deficiencies, on the other hand, can be caused by antibiotic use, damage to the large intestine or certain medications and can have serious repercussions including osteoporoses and coronary heart disease. As numerous as natural dietary Vitamin K2 sources are, taking supplements to boost our bone and cardio health or to help prevent cancer or dementia is certainly worth considering."

It's important to remember that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. So in order for your body to absorb it effectively, you need to eat some fat along with it. (This could be any healthy fat, such as butter, coconut oil, etc.)

"Who should not take vit K?
If you are pregnant or nursing, you should avoid vitamin K2 supplementation higher than the RDA (65 mcg) unless specifically recommended and monitored by your physician. If you have experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, or are prone to blood clotting, you should not take vitamin K2 without first consulting your physician."

Dr. Mercola also notes that vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 work together to improve bone health. So it's important to make sure you have optimum levels of both these essential vitamins. 

I already eat grass-fed beef and raw dairy products, but I've started supplementing with vitamin K and I look forward to reaping it's benefits. 

Additional articles about vitamin K:

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