It’s been over 10 years, since I began educating and helping people understand the importance of vitamin D… specifically, vitamin D3.
Of course, I wasn’t alone in this effort. Many others contributed to helping overcome some of the myths about sunlight and how critical vitamin D3 is to your overall health.
And now I believe another nutrient, appropriately labeled the ’forgotten vitamin,’ is about to explode in popularity as researchers are uncovering more of its spectacular health benefits every day.
Why has it been forgotten and somewhat ignored for over 80 years?
I’m not sure anyone can really answer why this vitamin’s health-enhancing benefits have been so overlooked. Plus, your potential benefits from this extraordinary nutrient are pretty much off the chart.
For example, this vitamin…
- Helps you build strong bones and keep them healthy*
- Helps support your vascular (arteries and veins) system*
- Promotes your healthy heart*
- Helps you fight against premature aging*
- Enhances your memory function*
And this is just a start…
Before I get into more details on this vital nutrient, I must warn you up front… there are synthetic forms of this nutrient that may put your health at risk.
So, it’s very important to make sure you fully understand what to look for.
After all, the whole purpose here is to give more exposure to the ‘forgotten vitamin’ so you can reap the benefits… not to spike any health risk.
And that’s exactly what I’m planning to do. Just please pay close attention to the details on the different types of this nutrient to avoid potentially risky synthetics.
Next, let’s discover…
Why You Could Be Deficient in This Vital Nutrient
It’s hard to understand why this vitamin has been so overlooked over the years. And estimates range as high as 99% of the population could be deficient in this nutrient.
There are many conditions where you could be putting yourself at risk for a higher likelihood of deficiency.
First of all, this vitamin is fat-soluble.
What does that mean? Well, fat-soluble simply means that dietary fat is necessary for efficient absorption. So, if your diet does not contain adequate amounts of dietary fat, your absorption of this nutrient could be impacted.
There are additional conditions that could increase your risk of deficiency in this essential vitamin…
- Eating a poor or restricted diet
- Taking certain medications such as broad-spectrum antibiotics, cholesterol drugs, and potentially aspirin that may impact or block vitamin absorption
- Eating foods containing the wrong type of this vitamin with poor bioavailability
I’m ready to dive into your best natural source of this ‘forgotten vitamin’… but first, right up front, I want to further raise your awareness of…
Synthetic Pretenders – What to Look For and Avoid
If you haven’t figured out what the ‘forgotten vitamin’ is by now let me tell you that this new wonder kid on the block is vitamin K. You can rest assured that in the next few years you will hear the media rave about its benefits.
But fortunately, since you are reading Mercola.com, you can learn about this long before the rest of population discovers its benefits.
Danish scientist, Dr. Henrik Dam, discovered vitamin K in 1929. The ‘K’ is for ‘koagulation’ – essential for blood clotting.* But it only starts there.
Vitamin K is unique because it has multiple effects in your body, but doesn’t demonstrate any known toxicity. With research focused on potential effects on your skeletal system, brain, liver, and pancreas, vitamin K is one of the most promising nutrients of our time.*
But you should know about the different types. And in particular, know which synthetic type to be on the lookout for.
There are three main forms of vitamin K…
- K1 – phylloquinone, aka phytonadione
- K2 – menaquinone
- K3 – menadione synthetic variant
Vitamin K3 is a synthetic variant of the vitamin which I don’t recommended for human consumption… this is the one you and your family need to avoid at all costs.
Green leafy vegetables – including lettuce, broccoli, and spinach contain vitamin K1. And it makes up about 90 percent of the vitamin K in the Western-style diet.
The vitamin K which I recommend is vitamin K2. It’s natural, non-toxic, and made in your body as well.
Vitamin K2 includes several menaquinones (MK-n, with the ‘n’ determined by the number of prenyl side chains), such as MK-4 found in meats, MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9 found in fermented food products like cheese and natto.
What Is Your Best Source of the ‘Forgotten Vitamin’?
One of the best natural sources of vitamin K2 comes from an ancient Japanese food called natto.
So, what is natto?
- Natto is typically fermented from soybeans or chickpeas by using a healthy bacteria called bacillus subtilus that may also serve as a probiotic*
Fermented foods, like natto, typically have the highest concentration of vitamin K in the human diet. Levels of vitamin K found in natto (K2) have been shown to far exceed those amounts found in dark green vegetables (K1).
In fact, vitamin K2 concentration after the consumption of natto has been shown to be about 10 times higher than that of vitamin K1 after eating spinach.
Unfortunately, most people do not eat or enjoy many fermented foods.
And the absorption of vitamin K1 through eating green leafy vegetable is not very efficient… some research shows only about 10-15% gets absorbed even when consumed with dietary fat.
The problem with natto is that most people do not enjoy eating it because they find it very distasteful. It has a slippery texture with a strong flavor and pungent aroma.
Some people do acquire a taste for natto over time. But many never do.
Any wonder why most people may be deficient in vitamin K? They simply may not be eating the right food to provide what’s needed.
So, what can be done to solve this issue? That’s where I can offer some recommendations to help out.
Fermented Dairy – An Excellent Source of Vitamin K2
While natto is the most potent natural source of vitamin K2, the nutrient is also readily available in fermented dairy products, especially cheeses.
Most cheeses are rich in vitamin K2… particularly, curd cheese. And even though it’s not as high in vitamin K2 as natto, curd cheese may be more palatable on a day-to-day basis for many people. Raw curd cheese made from grass-fed cows would be best.
Like I mentioned earlier, most people have a difficult time acquiring a taste for natto… especially on the regular basis needed for healthy K2 absorption.
Curd cheese is also a good vitamin K2 source because it’s lower in fat (animal fat) than regular cheese.
When compared to natto in equal portions… Japanese food natto contains over 27 times more vitamin K2 than curd cheese.
No Good Vitamin K2 Test
One of the reasons vitamin D became so popular is that a relatively inexpensive test became commercially available in the 1990s. That allowed researchers and clinicians to gain a better understanding of vitamin D. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a great commercial assay for vitamin K2 yet.
Sure there is a blood test.
But, this classic measure of vitamin K deficiency uses clotting time and what’s called ‘prothrombin’… which provides almost no value for determining vitamin K deficiency in your bones or arteries.
In fact, in some cases, blood levels of vitamin K may appear normal while a real deficiency exists in your bones.
So, more work needs to be done in the area of vitamin K deficiency testing.
As this ‘forgotten vitamin’ gets more and more of the attention it deserves, I’m confident modern medical science will determine a more accurate test… just like the comprehensive test eventually created for vitamin D.
With potential health advantages (in addition to the ones already mentioned above) in which vitamin K has been shown to…
- Promote your heart health*
- Protect and support your skin*
- Provide the calcium path ‘key’ from your bloodstream to your bones*
- Support your immune system*
- Help regulate calcification of your tissues*
- Protect your cells against oxidative damage*
- Aid in supporting your already normal blood sugar levels*
…it’s only a matter of time before a more comprehensive test evolves.
In the meantime, it’s important you take vitamin K deficiency seriously and take action to provide yourself and your loved ones with enough vitamin K.
And if you do not like the taste of natto, or prefer not to eat curd cheese, I have a phenomenal solution for you coming up.
But next, let’s take a closer look at…
How This Vitamin Goes to Work for YOU
While other nutrients are important for maintaining and promoting your bone health (like vitamin D3, calcium, and magnesium), evidence continues to grow indicating a vital role vitamin K plays in bone metabolism and healthy bone growth.*
In fact, it may be the modern day “missing link” to increasing your bone density.
Vitamin K has been linked to osteoblasts, the cells that generate or ‘lay down’ bone and produce a specific protein known as osteocalcin.*
You can think of osteocalcin like the studs in the wall of your house. Basically, osteocalcin acts as the structural framework holding calcium in place in your bones.*
And vitamin K is critical for producing osteocalcin protein.*
Why is this so important? Because osteocalcin cannot perform its job until vitamin K converts it to an active bone-building form.
The bottom line – vitamin K is the ‘key’ that unlocks the door from your bloodstream to let calcium flow into your bones and bone marrow.*
Without this vitamin K key action, you simply wouldn’t have the strong bones you do.* Plus, there’s another area vitamin K plays an important role, particularly vitamin K2.
I mentioned earlier how osteoblasts are important cells responsible for bone formation.
Well, while these osteoblast cells are busy building bone, other cells called osteoclasts are trying to break down bone and remove bone tissue.
Vitamin K2 is so important because, not only has it been shown to stimulate and enhance osteocalcin production, but it has also been shown to inhibit osteoclasts and help maintain your bones.*
Some Compelling Research
There are many research studies supporting how vitamin K2 works to help maintain healthy bone mass and growth through its effects on osteocalcin, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts.*
Here are few examples for reference purposes…
- Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 1997, Y. Koshihara and K Hoshi
Journal reference: “The results proved that vitamin K2 increased Gla-containing osteocalcin, which accumulated osteocalcinin the extracellular matrix, and facilitated mineralization in vitro.”
- Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 2001, ZJ Ma and M Yamaguchi
Journal reference: “These results suggested that MK-7 (K2-7) has a suppressive effect on osteoclasts.”
- Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 2001, M Yamaguchi et al1
Journal reference: “This study demonstrates that MK-7 (K2-7) has an anabolic effect on bone tissue and osteoblastic(MC3T3-E1) cells in vitro, suggesting that the compound can stimulate osteoblastic bone formation.”
In a human study, Japanese scientists examined the effect of vitamin K2 from fermented soybeans on normal individuals.
The scientists reached the following conclusion – “This illustrates that intake of K2-7 can stimulate carboxylation (gamma-carboxylatedosteocalcin), which plays an important role in bone formation in normal individuals.”
So, the evidence is quite compelling when it comes to the vital role vitamin K2 potentially plays in promoting your healthy bones.*
What Is the Best Way for You to Get Vitamin K2?
Since I promised you an alternative natto solution for vitamin K2, let’s get right to it.
The bottom line here… your best bet for a natural source of K2 is from natto. And maybe you can find a reliable natural source and come to acquire a taste for it.
But I can tell you… I tried it myself on a regular basis but never really got used to the taste and smell. So, I decided to do the next best thing and look for a high-quality inexpensive natural K2 supplement made from natto.
And let me tell you, finding a natural source of vitamin K2 turned out to be a real challenge.
Why? Well, not only did my team and I have to be on the lookout for risky synthetic imposters out there, we had to scrutinize the manufacturing processes very closely as well.
See, as I dug deeper and deeper into this, it became quite apparent how important a role the manufacturer must play in creating a natural high-quality K2 product.
Here are the key issues my team and I looked for when searching for a top manufacturer to deliver the highest quality vitamin K2 formula…
- Must be non-GMO – Formulas including genetically modified organisms or processes are absolutely unacceptable.
- Must be allergen-free – Other than fermented soy content from the soybeans or chickpeas, the formula has to be free from known allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fin fish, shellfish, and wheat.
- Must have a stable fermentation process – Natto fermentation process that involves other derivatives can be very unstable. Need a consistent reliable process that ensures product quality in the formula.
- Must use vitamin K2-7 in the formula – Just like there are many varieties of vitamin K (K1, K2, K3), there are many varieties of K2. K2-7 produced from natto has proven to be one of the most bioavailable, stable, and beneficial varieties.*
- Must be pure – Formula must be of the purest fashion with both internal and external lab validations.
- Must be affordable – With all these rigorous requirements for this K2 formula, cost could be a real challenge. But affordability is one of my top priorities and cannot be overlooked.
The good news with all this is I was able to find, what I believe to be, the highest quality vitamin K2 manufacturer in the world that could deliver the formula you need.
Plus, this manufacturer not only met all of the stringent selection criteria, they exceeded many of them as well.
I’ll have more on that coming right up. But first I want to take a closer look at another reason why the vitamin K2 type requirement is so important.
Powerful Synergy with Vitamin D3
The surprising thing about what I’m going to review next is that some of the research has been available for over 10 years.
I guess this goes along with the whole ‘forgotten vitamin’ story.
If you’ve been a regular visitor to this site, you undoubtedly know how I feel about the vital role vitamin D3 plays in your optimal health.
Well, the amazing thing is research has shown vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 may provide you another level of benefits when taken together.*
Several studies have shown the following potential benefits when vitamin K2 and D3 are combined…
- Increased bone formation*
- Enhanced osteocalcin accumulation in cells*
- Amplified bone mineral density*
Because vitamin D3 encourages calcium uptake to promote your strong and healthy bones, it’s a natural complement to vitamin K2.*