I have spoken in depth about the importance of vitamin K2 for healthy bones and arteries in both my blog and my ebook Strong Bones Forever (www.strongbonesforever.com).
Vitamin K exists in two main forms, K1 and K2…
Vitamin K1 is the form found in plant foods, especially green leafy vegetables. This form of vitamin K is considered inactive and requires activation by the body in order to have an impact on the cells. Studies with vitamin K1 have been somewhat disappointing due to poor activation by the body.
Vitamin K2 is the activated form of vitamin K found in fermented foods such as natto as well as some dairy sources. This form of activated K is involved in a process called carboxylation that is important in the formation of healthy bones as well as the removal of calcium from the arteries. To date, a number of studies have proven the benefits of high dose vitamin K2 (45 mg daily) in the reversal of osteoporosis. These findings are truly exciting because vitamin K appears to activated the bone-building cells that lay down minerals like carpenters building a house.
In a recent study, researchers tested the impact of low dose vitamin K2 on the carboxylation process. Compared to placebo, 1.5 mg of vitamin K2 daily resulted in significant carboxylation of osteocalcin which indicates significant protection from bone loss.
Why Is This Significant?
The clinical research on high dose vitamin K, but I have always wondered if we could get away with lower doses.
The majority of the research on vitamin K2 utilized 15 mg of vitamin K2 three times daily. This dose is somewhat costly ($40-50 a month) and is much higher than one would typically achieve in even the healthiest of diets.
Although this study does suggest that lower doses do enhance carboxylation, until we have data that suggests that low-dose K2 also increases bone density and decreases fracture rate in the same way as high dose K, then we must continue to recommend the higher dose for people diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Based on this research, however, for those who are looking to prevent osteoporosis, it appears that lower doses may be sufficient to protect against osteoporosis and calcification of the arteries. In addition, if you have osteopenia, I feel that the lower dose K2 could also be appropriate.
Prevention: Super K2 by Life Extension Foundation – 1 capsule daily
Osteopenia: Super K2 by Life Extension Foundation – 1 capsule twice daily
Osteoporosis: Ultra K2 by Complementary Prescriptuions – 1 capsules two to three times daily
Osteoporosis (If On A Budget): Super K2 By Life Extension Foundation – 1 capsule two to three times daily.
(Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 2009; 55(1): 15-21.)