No one has to twist your arm to eat your greens. So that means you’re getting all the vitamin K you need, right?
That’s what your doctor thinks. Heck, that’s what nearly every doctor believes. And vitamin K never gets the attention it deserves as a result.
It’s common for us to talk about being low in vitamins D, C, and even E. But because the conventional belief is that everyone is covered when it comes to K, no one even bothers to consider we might not be getting enough.
As you’ll see in a moment, that’s simply not always the case. Because, in fact, there are TWO key forms of vitamin K. Greens contain only one of them.
But that’s not all. Unfortunately, the vitamin K we get in our delicious greens is the version your body can’t use as effectively. That means it won’t deliver all of the essential benefits of this critical nutrient.
What you need to know about vitamin K
There are two primary forms of vitamin K. There’s vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. That’s just a basic scientific fact.
Conventional medicine has long considered both of the Ks to be virtually identical. But let’s get one thing straight right now. They’re not.
The K1 you get from leafy greens is involved in blood clotting. The vitamin helps to make four of the 13 proteins needed to keep wounds from bleeding nonstop so they can heal. That’s why anyone on the blood thinner warfarin has to be careful to avoid eating too many k-containing green veggies.
But vitamin K2 does something else entirely. It plays at least two different and incredibly critical roles in the body.
- clear arteries
- build bone
And that’s because of a special relationship K2 has with another necessary nutrient… calcium. You see, vitamin K2 essentially controls your calcium command center.
This form of vitamin K helps pull the calcium out of your arteries. And that’s vital because it can help prevent the mineral from building up, sticking to your artery walls, and causing hardened plaques.
But K2 doesn’t rest on its accomplishments. The vitamin then shepherds the calcium into your bone where it’s needed.
But wait, I’m not done with the vitamin K plot twists yet. If you’re still trying to digest the fact that there are actually two forms of vitamin K, hold onto your hat.
Don’t ignore vital vitamin K2
This vitamin K tale takes another turn. It turns out there are also different types of vitamin K2.
So you don’t just need to make sure you’re getting both kinds of vitamin K (K1 and K2). You also need to be sure you’re getting enough of the correct form of vitamin K2 to help keep your arteries clear and your bones strong.
When it comes to vitamin K2, the form that’s most easily absorbed and put to work by your body is menaquinone-7 or MK-7. Chances are you’re NOT getting much (if any) MK-7 from your diet.
MK-7 is mainly found in aged hard cheeses such as parmesan, gruyere, Romano, and aged cheddar. Plus, a Japanese food called natto is packed with the stuff.
The trouble is these fermented soybeans aren’t just a bit challenging to find outside of Japan. They’re also often not agreeable to the Western palate. The ammonia-like smell of natto makes many folks gag. And its slimy mucus-like texture can be a big turn off too.
Thankfully you can get the MK-7 form of vitamin K2 found in natto without eating the actual natto. Look for a nattokinase supplement or check your current vitamin K supplement to ensure it contains MK-7.
As always, check with your doctor before starting on a new supplement. Certain nutrients might not play nice with medications you’re already taking. For example, you always have to watch vitamin K intake when you’re on a blood thinner.
But boosting your levels of the right kind of vitamin K2 isn’t the only step you can take to keep your arteries free and clear. This common habit could send your risk of coronary artery disease soaring by over 44 percent.
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