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The Difference between Vitamin K1 and K2

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Vitamin K is an essential nutrient that is best known for its role in blood platelet function. There are two basic forms of vitamin K, K1 and K2. The body derives similar benefits from both versions of the vitamin; however the two are different in their origins, safety concerns and uses.

green-veggiesNatural sources of K1 include green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, and collard greens. K2 is significantly harder to obtain through diet as it is only found in small amounts in dairy products and some fermented food products.

Both K1 and K2 help to prevent vitamin K deficiency and can also reduce symptoms of osteoporosis and reduce bruising. Both forms also reduce the effects of blood thinners, so it is best to consult a doctor before taking vitamin K if you are on that type of prescription medication. Both K1 and K2 are stored in the liver and both are fat soluble, meaning that fat must be present for the vitamins to be absorbed by the body.  Because the best sources of K1 are leafy greens that are naturally fat free, it is best to add a little bit of olive oil or butter to the greens to help the body absorb all vitamin-K-chalk-boardthe nutrients.

The most important function of K2 is to make sure that calcium gets deposited in the bones where it belongs rather than floating around in the bloodstream. When calcium is left in arteries and cells it can cause problems and may lead to serious consequences. That is why is it very important to take vitamin K2 in conjunction with calcium supplements, and to be sure to take only the recommended dose of calcium per day.

Regular intake of K2 can also help to reduce the probability of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Increased intake of K2 has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and related mortality. K2 can slow down bone loss in post menopausal women and reduce the risk of bone fractures caused by brittle or weakened bones. Some studies have even shown that K2 can help to increase bone density.

While eating a daily portion of leafy greens will most likely provide the body with adequate amounts of K1, K2 is more difficult to obtain, and so supplementation is generally necessary. K2 supplements are available from companies like AOR, Natural Factors, Prairie Naturals, and Innovite.

Posted on August 10,2012
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