Although commonly referred to as the ‘blood clotting vitamin,’ researchers are increasingly studying the roles played by vitamin K in a wide variety of additional physiological processes. As a result, we now know that vitamin K is essential for healthy bones, the cardiovascular system and liver, as well as for the kidneys, pancreas, brain, and nervous system. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
While the body makes some vitamin K in the digestive system, it obtains most of its requirements from either the diet or supplements. Dietary sources of vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, turnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fruits such as blueberries, kiwis and grapes, egg yolk, dairy and other animal products, as well as fermented foods such as hard cheeses, sauerkraut, and the Japanese foods miso and natto.
There are two different types of vitamin K present in these foods. Leafy greens, fruit and vegetables contain the subtype vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, whereas vitamin K2, known as menaquinone, is mostly found in fermented foods where bacteria are part of its production process. Dairy foods, organ meats, and other animal products are also good sources of K2.
Owing to its antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties, vitamin K2 may inhibit the growth and spread (metastasis) of cancer cells, as well as induce cancer cell death (apoptosis). It also supports liver regeneration and plays a significant role in the functioning of the immune system, brain, and central nervous system.
To learn more about vitamin K and the benefits of its K2 form, see this article on our website.