Increased intakes of Vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of mortality from coronary heart disease, according to data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-NL) cohort.

The extensive study tracked more than 33,000 people over a period of 16.8 years.

Over the course of the study 2,863 deaths were recorded—including 256 due to coronary heart disease (CHD).

Further research determined that those with the highest intake of Vitamin K2 were associated with a 14% reduction in CHD.

One important point documented by the research was that the benefit was obtained only with Vitamin K2 (think fermented foods and some meats) and not with Vitamin K1 (obtained from leafy green vegetables).

In short, Vitamin K1 may be crucial for blood coagulation… but it’s the Vitamin K2 that appears to provide the cardiovascular benefit.

The crucial difference between K1 and K2 was summarized by Hogne Vik, chief medical officer with NattoPharma, a supplier of Vitamin K2:

“As with the Rotterdam Study and Prospect-EPIC Study, a link has been established between intake of long-chain menaquinones (types of Vitamin K2) and cardiovascular health.

Improving one’s K2 status results in less calcification of the arteries and soft tissues, leading to improved long-term health outcomes.

These benefits are recognized with Vitamin K2, but not K1, which is important because there is a misconception that daily recommended intake (RDI) of the vitamin K1 is sufficient to protect the arteries for developing arterial diseases.

This is not the case, since Vitamin K1 is only documented and recognized to meet our needs for coagulation. It is, however, Vitamin K2, the menaquinones, that are responsible for the cardiovascular benefits, and not Vitamin K1.”

After reviewing the data gathered on the study participants—who ranged in age from 20 and 70—the researchers determined that those with the highest intake of Vitamin K2 were associated with a significant reduction in CHD.

Besides cardiovascular health, ongoing research has linked Vitamin K2 intake to bone health, cognitive health and prostrate health.

When it comes to supplementing Vitamin K, the whole food supplements from Optimal Health Systems can provide valuable options. Click the links below to learn more:

Optimal Longevi-D
(with K2, CoQ10 and Vitamin D)

Optimal 2 Vitamin/Mineral
(with K2 and all other essential vitamins and minerals)

Essential DAK1K2
(with both K1 and K2, and other fat-soluble vitamins)

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Sources: Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nutraingredients.com.