What do you need to know about vitamin K2, vitamin D, and calcium?

Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in protecting your heart and brain, building strong bones, and helping to prevent cancer.

The biological role of K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth, and to remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.

The optimal amounts of K2 are still under investigation, but it seems that 180-200 microgram doses have been used in studies. The optimal dose will depend on your health, as well as the presence of osteoporosis or osteopenia. If you are taking anticoagulants, discuss any vitamin K supplementation with your healthcare provider. Some would advocate against using it, but others would say it is fine to use as long as it is closely monitored and in small amounts.

Vitamin K2 is different from vitamin K1, which is the form found in leafy greens and is involved in the blood clotting process. The K2 form comes in part from the conversion of K1 in the gastrointestinal tract by gut flora, as well as from dietary sources.

If you take calcium or vitamin D supplements, it is important to keep the proper balance between calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2. Lack of balance between these nutrients is why calcium supplements have been associated with unwanted results like increased risk of heart attack.

The ideal way to get your vitamin K2 is through food. Some of the best choices are grass-fed foods, like certain types of fermented foods such as natto beans, brie, or Gouda cheese.

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