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The vitamin K group consists of fat soluble vitamins found in food and dietary supplements. There are three types of vitamin in the K group – K1 (phylloquinone), K2 (menaquinones), and K3 (menadione). Vitamin K2 is found in tissue and bacterial product, usually from meat and fermented foods. Vitamin K2 has been theorized to be linked to bone growth and remodelling in humans.
Role in Bone Growth and Remodelling
The Vitamin K group is are essential for proteins which play a role in bone deposition and reabsorption. Vitamin K2 actives the matrix Gla protein, which is responsible for delivering dietary calcium to the bone and integrating it into the bone matrix.
There are three vitamin K dependent proteins in bone: osteocalcin, matrix Gla protein, and protein S(Ferland, 1998, Booth, 1997). Vitamin K2, the most abundant form of vitamin K in non-hepatic tissue, participates in the carboxylation of bone-associated vitamin K dependent proteins.
The K2 vitamin will take calcium from the blood steam and deliver it to the proteins and cells responsible for laying down new bone growth. As a result, this also prevents calcification of the blood vessels. Hence, low vitamin K levels can result in calcium build-up, stiffening and clogging the bloodstream.
Vitamin K2 also plays an important role in tooth health, and there is a unique function to the saliva and dental processes concerning vitamin K2:
Odontoblasts, which line the dentin layer just underneath the enamel of teeth, produce osteocalcin. This osteocalcin needs to be activated by vitamin K2 before it can incorporate calcium into the dentin matrix.
Incidentally, some of the highest amounts of vitamin K2 in the body are found in our saliva. It has been observed that K2 has antimicrobial effects and reduces the number of cavity-causing bacteria, which helps to prevent tooth decay
Source: Benefits of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 variants (Mk-4 and Mk-7)
The K vitamine group, including K2, are not limited to only one type of molecule. The k2 group are referred to as menaquinones, with Mk4 and Mk7 being the most common and most studied variants. Their half-life varies: Mk-4 stays in the system for only a few hours, while Mk-7 remains active in the body for a few days after consumption.
Weston Price’s “Activator X” concept has widely been theorized to include Vitamin K2, as it is richly found in the meat and fermented food products that indigenous cultures around the world routinely consume. Although it is certainly not the missing vitamin to solve all problems, a deficiency of K vitamins in the diet can lead to poor development and other health issues.