Why do we need K vitamins?
K-dependent proteins in the body need to be activated in order to function.
Vitamin K1 is known for its blood-clotting activity. Vitamin K2 also contributes to this process, but Vitamin K2 is now recognized as essential for helping the body to properly utilize calcium in order to build healthy, strong bones and to stop calcium from depositing in the arteries and blood vessels.
Vitamin K2 “makes calcium work” through its ability to activate certain K-dependent proteins already present in the body:
- Osteocalcin is the protein responsible for binding calcium ions to the matrix of bone, making bones stronger.
- Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) is the most potent modulator of arterial calcification known today, and the amount of arterial calcification is an indicator of one’s cardiovascular health.
When the body has sufficient Vitamin K2, calcium is directed to where it is needed, and kept away from where it is not.
Vitamin K deficiency results in impaired bone strength and mineral density.
Calcification increases vessels’ stiffness and fragility, impeding healthy blood flow to and from the heart.
However, inadequate Vitamin K2 may result in what is known as the “Calcium Paradox.” This is where the bones receive too little calcium (leaving them weak and brittle) as excess calcium deposits in the arteries and blood vessels (making them stiff and inelastic).