Boosting your Dietary Intake of Vitamin K2!
The difference in actions between Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2 are as widely disparate as the dietary sources they are concentrated in. Whilst the liver utilizes Vitamin K1 - found in nature as phylloquinones from dark leafy greens – to initiate a blood-clotting cascade, Vitamin K2 is primarily used in other sites of the body to aid in the correct placement of Calcium.
Its dietary form is known as menaquinones which are predominantly of bacterial origin, and can be found in relatively small quantities in some animal-based and fermented foods. The highest source of dietary Vitamin K2 is currently found in a traditional Japanese fermented soy bean dish called Natto, containing a whopping 850mcg of Vitamin K2 per serving.
But being realistic, unless you have grown up with it, it is pretty unlikely you will acquire the taste for these pungent beans. So where else can we find K2 in order to boost our dietary intake of this necessary yet elusive vitamin?
1. Grass-fed Butter
Butter is certainly not the enemy we’ve been brought up to believe it is, in fact it’s a rich source of brain-loving satiating and natural fats, Vitamins A and D, and of course vitamin K2 - containing 14.5mcg of K2 per 100g serve. As we should be using butter in small quantities, it admittedly isn’t a huge amount, but can contribute to a regular intake of K2 in combination with other dietary sources.
A terrific source of Vitamin K2! The lactic acid present in cultured cheeses increases the amounts of bacteria-derived K2, so its important to choose ‘proper’ cheeses – not pre-packaged sliced for your cheese on toast. Although all cheeses contain a significant amount of the vitamin, Gouda clocks in an average of 50mcg of menaquinone-7 per 100g – the most active bone-building form of K2!
3. Grass-fed Meat
Animal’s grazing on lush green grass are able to convert the K1 present into K2, something our gut bacteria are relatively inefficient at doing. So eatingg grass-fed meat on a regular basis is a great way to get 4.5mcg per 100g of K2 – plus it tastes so much better and has higher amounts of Omega-3 than grain-fed meat.
4. Egg yolk
Ironic that eggs were once demonized as one of the main foods to avoid in a ‘heart healthy’ diet, pasture raised eggs are a rich source of Vitamin K2 with around 32.1mcg per yolk, which of course contributes to heart health via calcium modulation mechanisms.
5. Fermented Foods
Although Natto is by far the richest food source of Vitamin K2, other fermented foods may also contain small amounts, however the measurement of K2 in fermented products such as sauerkraut, kefir, and range of dairy tend to vary widely due to the specificity of the bacteria used in the fermentation process. Although it’s a bit of a grey area, you are still reaping the rewards of healthy probiotic intake whether it contains large amounts of K2 or not.
High in protein, healthy fats and good bacteria, these high Vitamin K2 foods can indeed be part of a healthy diet along with the nutrient dense greens containing its sister nutrient K1. Supplementing with additional Vitamin K2 may be required to meet adequate needs when dietary intake is low or digestive function impaired, but remember to consider any medications you may be taking before embarking on any dietary change or new supplement regime in relation to Vitamin K, and consult your health practitioner if unsure.