A world renowned researcher believes that Vitamin K may be “the next vitamin D” if research continues to determine its increasing benefits for your health.
Cees Vermeer, Ph.D, one of the world’s renowned researchers in the field of vitamin K, in 1975 created a vitamin K research group, which is now the largest group investigating this area of nutrition science.
He and other experts estimates that most people do not have adequate vitamin K levels. We get sufficient vitamin K from our diets to allow our blood to clot properly, but not enough to protect against many diseases, including: cancer (prostate, lung, liver and leukemia); heart disease, and varicose veins; brain disorders including dementia; osteoporosis (bone thinning).
There are two types of vitamin K, K1 and K2.
Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables. It goes to the liver and helps it to create the clotting factors needed for blood clotting. It also protects your blood vessels from hardening (calcifying) and helps the bones maintain calcium and their appropriate structure.
Vitamin K2 is created by bacteria in our intestinal tracts and is not absorbed. It goes to the bones, blood vessels, and other organs, with the exception of the liver. It occurs in fermented food, especially cheese, and the Natto, a well known Japanese food for its health benefits.
A study conducted in 2004 in the Netherlands, was the first to determine vitamin K2’s beneficial effects on health. It found that people who consumed at least 45 mcg of vitamin K2 daily, lived seven years longer than those getting 12 mcg per day.
A group of German researchers discovered in 2008 that vitamin K2 possesses powerful anti-cancer abilities against one of the most common cancers among men in the US and other industrialized countries, prostate cancer. Dr. Vermeer notes men taking the highest amounts of K2 had about 50 percent less prostate cancer
Research results are similarly encouraging for the benefits of vitamin K to your cardiac health.
In a subsequent study, known as “the Prospect Study,” during a ten year period, researchers followed 16,000 participants. They found that each additional 10 mcg of K2 in the diet caused a 9 per cent reductions of cardiac events.
There is also research emerging that vitamin K can help protect against brain disease. However, it is too early to say exactly what types of damage it prevents, and how, but it is an area of intense interest to vitamin K scientists right now.
Vitamin K is not sufficient alone to create these health benefits. Dr. Vermeer acknowledges that vitamin K will never be able to do its work alone. It needs collaborators—and vitamin D is an important one.
There is a synergistic effect between vitamins D and K.
These vitamins, together increase an important protein, Matrix GLA Protein( MGP). It is the protein that protects our blood vessels from hardening (calcification).