– Nutrition –
Not getting enough Vitamin K is more common than you think. Here’s how to increase the amount of vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 in your diet.
It’s time to meet vitamin K, an unsung powerhouse of the vitamin world. Vitamin K has been shown to help strengthen bones and teeth, prevent kidney stones, improve insulin sensitivity, protect against cancer, and support heart health.
That’s the good news. The bad news? Not getting enough vitamin K is common, according to research. Thanks to its relatively low profile — especially compared with its headline-grabbing cousins, like vitamins C and D — vitamin K doesn’t rank high on many people’s lists of “must-have” nutrients.
“Most people probably aren’t getting enough vitamin K, specifically vitamin K2,” says Chris Masterjohn, PhD. “It’s an underappreciated vitamin that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Plus, it isn’t easy to turn up reliable information about how much and what kind t to take.”
So, how much vitamin K do you need? And what are the best whole-food sources of vitamin K? Here’s a closer look at this often-overlooked vitamin.
What Are the Health Benefits of Vitamin K?
Vitamin K helps the body form blood clots, build strong bones, and maintain cavity-free teeth. Nutritionist Deanna Minich, PhD, author of The Rainbow Diet, says that studies “suggest that vitamin K is associated with better blood-sugar balance, and that getting enough vitamin K may help protect against cardiovascular disease.” Some research also suggests that getting enough vitamin K is linked with lower risk of death from cancer.
Here’s some of what experts know about how vitamin K benefits the body:
- Vitamin K is like Google Maps for calcium. Vitamin K tells calcium where to go in the body, both shooing it away from places where it could cause harm — the kidneys, for example, where calcium buildup can lead to kidney stones, and the blood vessels, where calcium can form plaque and contribute to hardening of the arteries — and also directing it to places where it can promote health, like our teeth (where it helps prevent cavities) and bones (where it fortifies and strengthens them). Simply put, says Masterjohn, “vitamin K directs calcium to all the right places, and helps it avoid the wrong ones.”
- Vitamin K and vitamin D may work better together. Emerging evidence, while limited, suggests that supplementing with vitamin D…