The Latest Scoop on Wonder Nutrient Vitamin K2

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist December 1, 2013


I had the privilege of meeting a number of people that I greatly admire at the recent Wise Traditions International Conference, one of whom wrote perhaps the most intriguing book I read last year- Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox.

Vitamin K2 is the wonder nutrient that modern science has only just started to understand. The reason this vitamin is so exciting to those of us who espouse traditional diet is because it was first identified by Dr. Chris Masterjohn as the elusive “Activator X” contained in all the foods considered sacred by Ancestral Societies and researched/written about by Dr. Weston A. Price in his nutritional classic, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Vitamin K2 along with the other fat soluble activators A and D are synergistically responsible for the vibrant health and extremely high resistance to aging and degenerative disease of Traditional Cultures and described in detail in Dr. Price’s groundbreaking book using both words and pictures.

The problem is that Vitamin K2 is extremely difficult to get sufficient quantities of in the diet.  One reason is the worrisome depletion of our soils which grassbased and organic farmers are valiantly turning the tide on, but which will still take several decades if not even a century or two to reverse on a widespread basis. Another is the modern, misguided avoidance of the typically high fat, high cholesterol foods containing this wonder nutrient.

Dr. Kate filled me in on the latest research on Vitamin K2 and the promise it holds for reversing chronic and degenerative disease.  Here are the latest studies for consideration.  Please note that MK-7 is the bacteria synthesized form of K2 while MK-4 is the form found in animal foods like grassfed butter.

180 mcg MK-7 daily (low dosage) for three years significantly decreases bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women (Osteoporosis International):

  • Decreased the age-related decline at the lumbar spine and femoral neck.
  • Improved bone strength.
  • Decreased the loss in vertebral height in lower thoracic region.

1.5 mg (1,500 mcg) of MK-4 daily for 12 months improved bone metabolism and prevented bone forearm loss in postmenopausal Japanese women (source):

Dr. Kate observed that this second study is important since it shows a benefit of MK-4 in doses much lower than the super high 45,000 mcg usually used in studies.

French research suggests that some types of blue cheese are high in K2 (source).

Unfortunately the researchers didn’t identify the brands of blue cheese studied, but the take-home message is that if you like blue cheese keep eating it and you might be getting bonus K2. Another message here is that there are more K2 rich foods are out there than we know. More research needs to be done to identify them.

While science continues to unravel the magic and mystery surrounding Vitamin K2, a nutrient so important to human health that Traditional Societies revered and considered sacred any foods containing it in plentiful amounts, it seems prudent to make sure that our diets include Vitamin K2 rich foods on a frequent basis.

As Dr. Kate has already noted, more research needs to be done on what foods are high in K2, but based on what we know right now, here are the foods to make sure you are consuming frequently.

  • Grassfed Butter: Local, pastured raw butter is best, but Vitamin K2 is not destroyed by heat, so if pasteurized grassfed butter is all you can source, that is fine.
  • Grassfed Ghee: If you are allergic to dairy, grassfed ghee is what to use instead of grassfed butter as the allergenic milk proteins have all been removed leaving only the nutrient dense oil.
  • Butter Oil: This is a wonderful supplement to take along with fermented cod liver oil or fermented skate liver oil (another source of K2).  The two oils work synergistically to even reverse tooth decay as researched and written about by renowned dentist Dr. Weston A. Price.
  • Gouda Cheese:  Gouda is one of the best aged cheeses to consume if you want lots of K2.  Even if the gouda is not grassfed (which is the best way to go if possible), it will still contain plenty of K2 (in the form of MK-7)
  • Goose Liver Pate:  This is not an easily obtained gourmet food, but if you love pate (who doesn’t? It’s so tasty!), pate from goose liver is going to give you the largest amount of K2.
  • Natto:  You can usually find natto (make sure it comes from nonGMO soybeans!) at Asian specialty stores in the freezer section for about $3 for a small container. Natto contains a whopping 1,103 mcg of K2 per 3 1/2 ounce portion which blows away every other food by a country mile.  If the taste of natto is something you just can’t stomach, try capsules of the MK-7 form of K2 extracted from nonGMO natto. I don’t recommend supplements of the MK-4 form of K2 as they are synthetically derived.

I will have more to say about Vitamin K2 in upcoming posts. In particular, there is a newly discovered food that is mind-blowingly high in MK-4 (the animal form of K2) that I am gathering information on and will be writing about hopefully quite soon.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Comments (29)

  1. Jude from Australia December 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    We in Australia, are concerned about the safety levels in Japanese natto after Fukushima. Making it at home seems to be the safest alternative.

  2. I have been making natto and whipping up a big batch of natto hummus which is my lunch most days. Not super yummy, but far more palateable than eating it straight!

    • I take a supplement by Webber Naturals called ‘K2 and D3′ which helps in the developement and maintenance of Bones and Teeth. It’s 120 mcg/1000 IU (Webber Naturals is formulated and packaged in Canada) I have not researched if this product IS the best available out there in regards to being safe and healthy, but it certainly worked for me. (I had injuries that are now completely healed.)

  3. I have Westen Price’s book, and also, Calcium Paradox.

    What I understand is..K2 Mk-4 takes the calcium to your bones and not your arteries or soft tissue.
    K2 MK-4 does not stay in the body for long. It should be taken about twice a day, about 5 hours apart.

    K2 MK7, stays in the body for about 2 to 3 days, so you do not need to take it everyday!
    Also K2 KM-7 can give you an irregular heart beat, and make you feel jittery (take less) .Some people need to Not take as much as other people might do..
    Do not take it before going to bed..

    When you refer to K2, you need to clarify , if your talking about K2 MK-4, or K2 MK-7, as there is a big difference between both of them..
    Annie\’s last post: The Latest Scoop on Wonder Nutrient Vitamin K2

  4. wow – if goose liver pate is a very rich source of K2 – is this the explanation of the ‘French paradox’ – whereby the French eat well and drink but don’t (or rather didn’t) die like the rest of us of heart (and related) diseases?

  5. I would like to know if taking Vit. K2 will cause blood clogs. I have family members that can not eat green vegetables because they contain Vit K2 because they are having to take blood thinners, due to health problems. How does this work if one is having take medications for blood clogs.

  6. As you say, goose liver is pretty hard to get. What about other liver? If we’re looking for the more possible sources of the vitamin K2, what are some regular sources that most of us can find and eat? Not many people are going to go for the natto, and a lot of us have dairy problems. If we are able to get the grassfed butter, how much would we have to eat daily? Do you have any sources for the amounts of VK2 in specific foods? I’m 62 and worried about bones, etc. I take a mix of cod and skate oil, is that enough? Thx.

  7. Hello Sarah- just curious about your thoughts on Dr. Mercola’s Vitamin K2 supplement. The Jarrow’s supplement has soybean oil and Mercola’s contains no soy? Thanks for the post- very informative.

  8. I am curious to know if you think Kerry Gold is a good company for grassfed butter and their delicious Dubliner cheese. Would you recommend these sources for vitamin K2? P.s. I am currently taking a butter oil and fermented cod liver oil blend as recommended by you and it has made me feel wonderful! Thank you!

  9. Great article! Thank you for sharing this information. I have one question, you first refer to MK-7 as being synthetic and then near the end you refer to MK-4 as being synthetic. Is this an oversight or can both be synthetic depending on their source? Thank you again!

  10. I love natto. We are fortunate to have a local company that makes organic natto. My sister-in-law ate natto during pregnancy to help with cholestasis. Now she can’t stand to eat it.

  11. Great article! I have just recently learned about k2 and have been curious about it. K2 seems to be a bit of a mystery to a lot of people. From my knowledge base, K2 can still affect coagulation to some extent even though k1 and k2 are very different. However, K2 can also aid in preventing artery calcification from Warfarin (the main anti-clotting med). I would advise people to speak to their doctor regarding the use of K2 if they are prescribed anti-coagulants…it may be totally safe and I believe it is beneficial but these anti-coagulants are extremely sensitive and I would make sure its safe.

    From reading your article I am getting that it seems better to get K2 from natural “real life” sources like butter which have other benefits other than just K2, am I right? I would think taking a supplement would be and should be a last resort? I’m assuming that just incorporating higher amounts of the healthy butter, cheese, and such would provide enough of K2 or is there really a need to supplement?

    I’ve also read that K1 can be converted to K2 from intestinal flora and those same flora actually convert mk-4 to other types of K2 including mk-7…my reading said that is actually the only way to get mk-7 – probably why the only mk-7′s on the market are synthetic. The manufacturers can’t replicate what our bodies are already making. I don’t think I would worry about supplementing with mk-7 since our bodies make the real stuff if we are providing it with different forms of vit k.

    Thank you for perking our interest on the topic! :)
    Heather @ A Nurse’s Wildflowers\’s last post: Taking a Break from Homeschool

    • Your body makes K2 in the lower alimentary canal, which is beyond the point where you can benefit/absorb it, so you do really need another source. Natto provides a natural source for K2 MK-7 and the K2 MK-7 supplements are derived from Natto, a natural source. The MK-4 supplements are synthetic.

  12. If in the US, try Meguminatto natto at

    Meguminatto is organic and refrigerated, never frozen like the GMO natto that is imported from Japan.

    I have purchased Meguminatto from San Diego, California all the way north to Santa Rosa, California so far. I have even driven by their manufacturing plant in Sebastopol, California.

    I eat about a half a container each morning.

    If anyone else knows of organic, refriegerated natto, please post!!! I want to hear about other great companies like this.

    • I also enjoy megumi natto available from a local retailer and, as you point out, it is fresh. Last time I purchased a large quantity on sale (1/2 price), so froze some for later. Even the thawed megumi tastes and feels fresher than the imported Japanese natto. Always go organic (non-GMO). I haven’t run across a different, fresh form.

  13. I started to take K1 and K2 as I had a weight loss surgery where I only absorb 20% of the fat I eat therefore I need to take A D E K as they are fat soluable vitamins. I started the 2 K’s in June and by Sept I had THROBBING leg pain…and veins bursting in my legs. After some research I found that too much k1 and k2 can lead to varicose veins worsening. I stopped them a week ago and my sharp leg pains are gone. I DO believe I need some k but think Im just going to take K2…just not sure how often…I read an earlier comment that said it stays in us for 2 or 3 days so maybe Ill take it every 3 days.

  14. I finally fell in love with natto…here’s how: I first tried it by itself, didn’t care for it. I then ate it on top of some other food, not much better. Then I tried it classic Japanese style…mixed in with some rice and soft boiled egg…fantastic! It completely transformed the flavor from something nasty to a delicious cheesy condiment. In fact, it reminded me somewhat of bleu cheese. I can’t wait to make my own!

    I did try to make some natto with some black eyed peas, and while it produced something edible, I don’t think I’d call it natto. I’ve read the best natto is made from soybeans, I think something about how bacillus subtilus var. natto have adapted specifically to soybeans.

  15. Hi Sarah, haven’t you recommended Jarrow’s K2 supplements in the past? Also when you mention FCLO and SLO above, are you saying that skate liver oil is high in K2 or is it both the FCLO and the SLO. Thanks in advance for clarifying.

  16. Pingback: Emu Oil: Aboriginal Sacred Food High in Vitamin K2 » Nourishing News

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