Which Vitamin K2 Supplement is Best – MK-4 or MK-7?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

Vitamin K2Getting enough Vitamin K2 is absolutely essential to vibrant health and the vast majority of people, even those eating a completely whole food, organic diet, fail miserably in getting enough.

Traditional Societies instinctively put great importance on foods high in Vitamin K2. These sacred foods were consumed in larger quantities by young couples preparing to conceive, pregnant and breastfeeding women, growing children, and the elderly in order to ensure health during these critical times of life.

Sufficient Vitamin K2 along with the other critical fat soluble activators A and D are especially important for pregnant women to consume to ensure healthy babies. Please note that Vitamin K1 from leafy greens is a different nutrient and is not the same as Vitamin K2 found in the sacred foods of traditional cultures.

The best food sources of Vitamin K2 are grassfed dairy products and natto, a very strong tasting fermented soy product with roots in Japan. Vitamin K2 from animal sources is known as MK-4 while Vitamin K2 produced by bacterial fermentation as found in natto is known as MK-7.

Getting Enough Vitamin K2 is Difficult Even With Grassfed Dairy

Unfortunately, even if one consumes plenty of grassfed dairy, getting enough K2 in the diet is still very much a challenge.  This is due to the worrisome depletion of our soils which will take generations to repair.

Consider that the spring butter of the Alpine living Swiss was an orange color whereas grassfed spring butter today is at best deep yellow.   No doubt, the soil that produced the rapidly growing spring grass that the Alpine cows grazed upon was much higher in nutrients in order to produce orange butter which the Swiss reverently placed in bowls with wicks to burn in their Churches .

It also greatly concerning that Vitamin K2 cannot be recycled by the body like Vitamin K1 and that stores can be quickly depleted with the very common and invisible deficiency of K2 occurring in as little as 7 days.

In order to bridge the gap and ensure that my family gets enough Vitamin K2, I decided about a year ago that we needed to take a daily supplement as I was not confident that we were getting enough even with our frequent consumption of sacred foods and grassfed dairy.

Does this mean that grassfed dairy is not important?  Absolutely not.   It is always best to strive to get your nutrients from food as much as possible.  With the depletion of the soils, however, I did not feel certain that we could get enough K2 eating reasonable amounts of whole and even sacred foods from grassfed sources like Traditional Societies would have eating a similar diet.

I have not yet seen any scientific studies confirming which specific daily dose of K2 is optimal for long term health, however, based on population studies and data obtained from Vitamin K2 doses given in clinical trials, it seems that 45 mcg/day would be the minimal dose for therapeutic effect with several hundred mcg/day a better target as this is what frequent natto eaters in Japan would be consuming.

The good news is that Vitamin K2 has no known toxicity, so adding a daily supplement taken with food to improve absorption really has no downside.

Why I Take Vitamin K2 as MK-7 and Not MK-4

If you decide that taking a Vitamin K2 supplement makes sense to you, which should you choose?

If given the choice, I prefer MK-4, the animal form of Vitamin K2 over MK-7 which is the form of K2 from bacterial fermentation.

However, the problem is that while MK-4 in food like grassfed butter, high vitamin butter oil, and pastured egg yolks is real and ideal, the MK-4 contained in supplements is synthetic.

Let me say that again. The MK-4 in supplements is not the same MK-4 as found in grassfed butter.  The MK-4 in supplements is not derived from grassfed dairy as this would be prohibitively expensive.  Rather, it is made from the extract of the tobacco plant.

Another big downside of MK-4 supplements is that this synthetic form of MK-4 does not remain in therapeutic levels in the blood for very long – only a few hours.  As a result, to maintain useful levels of synthetic MK-4 in the blood throughout the day, periodic dosing every few hours is required.

Consequently, I take a Vitamin K2 supplement derived from natto (nonGMO soybeans) instead, which is the form of Vitamin K2 known as MK-7 as this is the same K2 you would get if you actually ate natto, which most folks find highly unpalatable.

Another plus is that MK-7 stays in therapeutic doses in the blood much longer than synthetic MK-4.   As a result, a once a day supplement of MK-7 is sufficient to supplement the natural MK-4 that one is getting from a diet high in grassfed dairy and other sacred foods.

Source for This Article

If this article piques your interest in Vitamin K2 and why we so desperately need it in our diets, I highly recommend reading the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue BSc, ND from which the information for this article was derived.

More Information in Vitamin K2

The Latest Scoop on Wonder Nutrient Vitamin K2

The Vitamin Deficiency That is Written All Over Your Face

Gouda Cheese: The Most Nutritious Choice

Why I Gorged on Brie Cheese When I Was Pregnant

Emu Oil: Aboriginal Sacred Food High in Vitamin K2


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit


Comments (122)

  1. Now that I think about it, I could just buy natto and slowly dry it out on low temp, then grind it down into a powder and make my own.. much less than the expensive powdered options.

  2. Has anyone tried Natto powder? I do not take supplements unless they are whole food, and this looks promising.. If you google it you’ll find a few options. The one I’m considering is from Canada (I’m in New England).

    Thank you Sarah for this and all your other helpful write ups.

  3. It is very informative article about k2 and now i am aware about it. I take sometime multivitamins like surbux z etc. But always i have question in my mind why we take these supplements instead to get vitamins naturally by foods.

  4. Just to add my 2 cents worth – I have tried both MK7 & MK4. All I can say is that for me MK4 is the only supplement I have taken & noticed a definite beneficial effect.

    I used to have terrible plaque on the inside of my bottom teeth which is now completely gone. MK7 had no effect – plaque came back.

    I have used Green Pastures Butter Oil, Carlsons MK4 & Thornes Drops all with good results.

    Synthetic or not I plan to take MK4 (3 drops of Thornes) for the rest of my life!!!

    I can only hope that my arterial & bone health has improved to the same extent. There is seemingly an association between tooth/gum health & heart disease – maybe K2 MK4 is the missing link?

  5. “I choose not to take it for the simple reason that it is synthetic and it doesn’t keep blood levels of K2 at therapeutic levels for longer than a few hours”

    Yes, of course it only lasts a few hours in vivo, but what about all the proteins that MK-7 FAILS to carboxylate that MK-4 DOES? Please provide the studies that prove your point rather than your opinion. MK-4 is no more synthetic for being an extract from bacteria than MK-7 is for being an extract of bacteria.

    MK4 is the form that has been used in all the studies involving osteoporosis, osteopenia, heart disease, etc. I cover my bases by taking both forms. Simply saying something is bad because it’s “synthetic” makes no sense whatsoever. If what you’re saying is really true, then you’d switch to eating natto to get your MK7…

  6. Pingback: Should My Newborn Get A Vitamin K Shot?The Mommypotamus |

  7. Hi Sarah,

    Mothers like me are so thankful for your hard work and devotion to such a great cause. Thank you, thank you!
    How early can children begin taking this MK-7 supplement? I have 2.5 year old twins and an 18 month old — all taking FCLO, but wanting to maximise its benefits.

  8. I just was wondering, if you can’t consume soy in any form, or dairy or beef, what can you do to get vitamin K-2? I have eosinophilic esophagitis, and get migraines, and both are triggered by soy, and the EoE is triggered by beef and dairy.

  9. I take Calcium with Vitamin K2.

    Vitamin K2 helps direct calcium to the bones and teeth(where it belongs), keeping the calcium from attaching itself to the arteries.

    Natural sources are Natto, egg yolk, butter…problem is I don’t like the cholesterol in egg yolk and butter and I don’t like the taste of Natto.

    I found this online and order it online as well http://tinyurl.com/q8fjc93
    It is made in USA; head office is in California. That’s why delivery and handling is free in USA. Delivery took about 3 to 7 days. It has Omega 3+ as well as CoQ10 and Vitamin K2 and it is Extended release(long-term effect).

  10. Great write-up. I was examining regularly this weblog and I am amazed!

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  11. I just want to say that I’ve been taking Dr Thorne’s MK-4 liquid drops and have seen a huge improvement in my teeth. I wear retainers at night and noticed they have been fitting much tighter since taking it. I suffered from receding gums/ bone loss in the jaw from stress and this supplement is reversing the symptoms very well. I have not tried MK-7. I also have green pastures clo/ butter oil and don’t notice the effects that Thorne’s supplement does. Also no tartar on the back of my teeth. I take 4 drops in the morning and 4 at dinner. I also take vitamin D3 once a day so they can work together. Other improvements I’ve seen: better skin, less fine lines, less joint pain, better memory. I would like to try the MK-7 to see how it compares, but the 4 is working great, and even if it is synthetic, is that a bad thing?

  12. I’m late to this party, too, but while shopping for MK-7 supplements on Amazon I read a review mentioning that Nutrigold’s formula is 100% from natto (fermented non-GMO soybeans) in a base of organic olive oil. It costs less (right now, anyway) than Jarrow. I have no idea if Nutrigold is as reputable as Jarrow–do you? Recommendations are so helpful!

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  14. Hi Sarah,

    From which age is it possible to supplement my daughter with Jarrow’s? And what is the right dose for her? She’s now 17 months old.

  15. Pingback: How to help your teeth remineralize | Avivah Werner

  16. I just bought the MK-7 from Jarrow’s but really considering the MK-4 from Thorne. I am already taking FCLO and Butter Oil from Green Pasture and my main goal is to reduce plaque, it seems that the MK-4 is best at doing just that while the MK-7 targets a wider range of benefits. This is based on the hundreds of comments/testimonies read online.

    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist December 2, 2013 at 7:10 am

      MK-4 supplements are synthetic. If you want MK-4, best to get that from food like grassfed butter, goose liver pate.

  17. I’m currently pregnant and it was recommended I start a vitamin d/k2 supplement. I was unaware of mk-4 vs mk-7 when I ordered the Thorne drops. So my question is, is there a risk to continuing to use the Thorne drops several times per day until my bottle is out and then switching to a product like Ortho-Molecular vitamin d/k2 drops who uses mk-7? I’ve been unable to find any research online re: mk-4 and pregnancy.

  18. Pingback: How to help your teeth remineralize | OCEANS OF JOY

  19. Pingback: How to remineralize teeth | OCEANS OF JOY

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  21. Hi Sarah,
    At what age would you recommend children begin taking these? I’ve been on them for a while now and wonder if I should start them for my 3 and 1.5 year old. Thanks!

  22. I just bought the Jarrow brand and it says soy oil in the ingredients. So, is it not only derived from fermented soy (I don’t have an issue with that if it’s not gmo) but also contains actual soybean oil? This seems like it could really be a missing piece to my health puzzle but the ‘soybean oil’ actually listed as an ingredient has spooked me. Did the company comment on that when you did the research? It doesn’t say non-gmo derived. Did the company assure you of its sourcing? Did any other “good” brands jump out at you during your research?

    For anyone looking for it: I found it at Sprouts and I’ve seen the brand at Vitamin Shoppe (but I wasn’t looking for MK-7 so not sure if they carry that item).

    I appreciate your informative post and sharing your research.

  23. Hi Sarah! I really want to start taking this but I’m quite turned off by the fillers (soybean oil and caramel color). What are your thoughts on that? I’m a new breastfeeding mother and I strictly avoid soybeans in any form so I’m concerned about consuming it from these pills and exposing my son to it. Thanks for all you do, your work has greatly helped me in my real food journey!

  24. Because it was a question mark, I asked Thorne to confirm the source of their MK-4 k2. I got a response stating that it is made via a synthesis process. The reference to it being produced via bacterial fermentation appears to have been a mistake. They have corrected their site now.

  25. Sarah, you are stating that Thorne’s vitamin MK-4 is synthetic because it is derived from bacterial fermentation, however MK-7 from natto is derived from bacterial fermentation too. Therefore by your definition MK-7 from natto is synthetic too, so we should not take it?
    By the way in Japan they only approved MK-4 but not MK-7 for treatment of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. Does anybody know which MK-4 did they use / approve? Was it natural or synthetic? Is it possible to buy the same MK-4 as they’ve used?

    • I don’t have links at the moment but the published studies I saw regarding Japan were that the MK-4 is more readily absorbed by cells in the body hence the reason it doesn’t stay in the blood as long. the MK-7 is harder to process and takes longer. It is also dangerous beyond a certain level as it can cause blood clotting and such. MK-4 is more tolerable. I will come back and post a link if I can find it online again.

  26. I know this is an old post, but I can’t help but replying. Sarah, how can you state that Thorne k2 is definitely synthetic? What are your sources? Someone tells you that it’s fermented but contains no soy and you reply that it may be from fermented gmo corn or soybeans. You don’t know that. Besides just because something may not be desirable to you (fermented corn or whatever you think it is) doesn’t mean it’s synthetic.

  27. yas we may have a natural vit mk4 ,its called Hi vitamin butter oil ,the problem ,no count how much mk4 per teaspoon ?
    i also wish such to be avaialble in kosher certified as well ?

  28. Sally,

    I don’t know what to say, but your rationale for not taking MK-4 because it’s synthetic doesn’t make sense.

    If one were to start judging the efficacy of a supplement by virtue of it’s being natural vis-a-vis synthetic, I think that road would lead to hell.

    The truth is, very few vitamins commercially sold are natural. They’re all synthetically derived. That doesn’t mean grand pa and grand ma shouldn’t take their daily multis, does it?

    MK-4 is far superior to MK-7. Too bad that it’s synthetic.

    Besides most MK-7 purveyors market MK-7 without mentioning that there is surplus MK-7 that has flooded the market because of the high demand for nattokinase (which has the MK-7 removed before it’s sold).

    Of course everybody would do okay without having synthetic supplements if they could get the food in their natural form. That I totally agree with. But to say that something shouldn’t be taken because it’s a synthetic derivative totally boggles the mind.

  29. Pingback: Essential Supplements For Children « The Mommypotamus The Mommypotamus

  30. Hi Sarah … thought I’d chime in here and say that I’ve been taking MK-7 since reading this post, so about 2.5 months now. I’m beginning to see some improvements too :-) and am really looking forward to your post telling us about the improvements you noticed in your and your families health.

  31. Re thyroid it’s my opinion that people should manage thyroid outside of supplementation. I too have thyroid issues and take replacement, but don’t concern myself with supps ie I check labs often

  32. I know u r long gone and moved on from this thread, however, the Jarrow product here (MK7) that you recommend is loaded with soybean oil!


  33. Hello Sarah!
    My father has some serious cardiovascular problems and I think I should order him the MK-7 supplements. How many capsules he should take daily would you think?

    Thank you and many kisses from Greece once again!

  34. Sarah, I hope you read this since it is an old post, but THANKS SO MUCH for the doing the research on this. I just ordered the Jarrow supplement from Vitacost–great price. Not to sound stupid, but do you need to take it at the same time as the Butter Oil and CLO or can you take it any time of day? Also, since fermented CLO is so expensive, I have started taking the suggested amount of 2mls along with a TBSP of TWINLAB non-emulsified Norwegian CLO (cherry flavor)–it is on the WAPF “Good” list. NT suggests that anyone with chronic health problems should be taking a TBSP of CLO every day. Please do share your “health improvements” since taking MK-7?

  35. I faithfully give my son a dose of FCLO every day and he takes it. However, he has been getting a nosebleed almost every day lately. I am thinking he needs more K2? I also tend to bleed easily when I am taking my FCLO, so especially as I am pregnant, I want to up my K2 throughout my pregnancy and especially before labor to prevent bleeding.

    • The author of the Vitamin K2 book said that K2 isn’t a clotting factor, but rather just involved in calcium regulation, so I kind of doubt that the FCLO is the root of the bleeding? It’s odd that the FCLO would make you bleed more easily, maybe reach out to the author of the book and see what she has to say, she is a naturopath after all!

  36. Hi Sarah,

    Someone commented that the Jarrow MK7 softgels contain caramel, which is found to be carcinogenic. Any comments on that?

  37. I have Factor V Leiden…a condition where my blood wants to clot. I have wanted to take a Vit. K supplement for years but can not find any answers regarding taking a Vit. K supplement and increased risk of blood clots. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Melissa, I also have Factor v Leiden….an inherited blood clotting disorder. I have osteoporosis and heard about Vitamin K2 and have not found any answers as to whether it would be safe to take Vitamin K2 to help the absorption of Calcium. I am worried about the increased risk of blood clots. Anyone have any answers?

      • Nita, I’m pretty sure that Vitamin K2 has little or nothing to do with blood clotting. That is a job done by Vitamin K1. You might verify that, however. In addition, Calcium absorption is enhanced by Vitamin D levels so if you need to increase absorption, increase your Vitamin D levels. K2 is responsible for directing the calcium into the bones after it is already in your blood. A good way to remember their responsibilities is Vitamin D is calcium’s gatekeeper, regulating how much the body absorbs from diet while Vitamin K2 is the traffic cop, directing calcium to the correct places, namely the bones.

  38. Sarah, is all M7 from natto? I want to get the Superior Source K2, M7 for my kids because it’s easier for them to take(sublingual.) Do you know anything about this brand?

  39. I just found your blog which is very good however, I have to get something out there. The ONLY WAY we will get our soils restored is if the world repents of sin and lives according the Gospels of Jesus Christ. Please realize that the reason we have to take supplements for optimal health now is because evil is encompassing us from all sides and destroying what God intended for us as sources of nourishment. If the world does not humble themselves, admit we are sinners and accept Jesus Christ as our redeemer, Lord, Savior, and follow His commands and start raising children that are Godly, it will only get worse. The solution for everything in our wayward world is to repent, repent, repent! The Lord will not bless anything for a sinful world but curse it! Freedom, fulfillment and life come only through the blood of Jesus Christ.

    I started taking Solgar K2 (MK-7) a week ago. However, I have hypothyroidism and I’m a little concerned that there could be goitrogens in it since it is from natto. Should I be worried about this?

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      I doubt it is a problem, as the amounts would be so incredibly small if there were any at all which I’m not sure there even would be.

    • Oh John, please give us a break. You’re certainly entitled to your own beliefs, as nonsensical as they are, but don’t push them on others.

      The solution is to work together to make this a better world, not to join one religion that tells everyone else that their religion (or lack thereof) is a bad one.

      • Hi Susan

        I don’t think John’s comments should be regarded as him trying to ‘force’ his beliefs on others. He is simply stating what he believes to be the problem regarding our (lack of) nutritional health. And why label those views as nonsensical? That is YOUR opinion. Millions of others would agree with him. You can choose to accept or reject what he says – not even God Himself can ‘force’ anyone to believe in Him. :-)

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    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Fermenting does not mean its natural or normal. You can ferment GMO corn for example. There is also a trademarked probiotic strain I’ve heard about that is fermented on GMO soy.

  41. I’ve been dealing with hypothyroidism. Is the MK-7 still goitrogenic? Does the fermenting reduce this at all and/or would the goitrogenic effect of the supplement be negligible? Thanks.

  42. Pingback: Which Vitamin K2 Supplement is Best – MK-4 or MK-7? | CookingPlanet

  43. Thanks for this. I am looking forward to your post on what this supplement has done for your health. Grassfed butter is expensive, and as you say – not what it used to be. I am sure we are not getting much K2 either!

  44. Pingback: Which Vitamin K2 Supplement is Best – MK-4 or MK-7? | Health Body Image

  45. Hi Sarah! Love your blog!
    I just wanted to comment that I take a K2 supplement and found that I get leg cramps. My thought is that I need to increase my calcium intake. I have never been one to supplement with Calcium since I get severe constipation from it. If the K2 is taking up the calcium to my bones, then maybe there isn’t enough calcium left for my muscles. Any ideas?

    • Christine – to my knowledge, spasms of all kinds are an indicator of magnesium deficiency. Most of us are deficient in this mineral that’s critical for every cell in the body. Big Ag has left our soils depleted. ALSO, calcium is regulated by magnesium (which prevents calcification of joints). So – supplementing calcium without magnesium can make arthritis and osteoporosis much worse. The two are designed to work together. See website of Dr Carolyn Dean (the magnesium Queen). In my opinion, best to buy the Mag Oil from Global Light Network (online). They explain why it’s best to absorb it transdermally (through the skin) – most efficient, no side-effects and no possibility of overdosing. Magnesium Oil renders dozens of pharma meds redundant. Its VERY affordable. Dr Mark Sircus also strongly recommends it. Important for depression, anxiety, child behaviours, mood, Parkinsons’, and roughly fifty other common complaints and conditions.

    • Leg cramps are more likely magnesium deficiency. K2 and vitamins A and D, as well as calcium are all intimately connected, so there is a possibility that increased K2 could increase your need for magnesium or push a borderline deficiency into symptoms e.g. cramps.

    • I also got frequent leg cramps (then tried, to no avail, to supplement magnesium, zinc, potassium and quinine). They stopped once I quit taking a new drug (Roflumilast) prescribed by my physician.
      Are you taking any new prescription drug?

  46. Stefan Guyenet: trials on shelf-life “were conducted by MK-7 supplement vendors and the results have not been published. Interestingly, MK-4 and MK-7 have the exact same plasma half-life in rats” and “MK-4 is the only form of vitamin K2 that’s been shown to reduce fracture risk in clinical trials”. From Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book “Whatever your feelings on synthetic versus natural supplemets, clinical trials show that you can reap all the bone-building, artery-clearing benefits benefits from this [synthetic menatetrenone from tobacco] form of menaquinone.”
    MK7 does not cross the placenta in appreciable amounts, so MK7 is appropriate for adult cardiovascular health (particularly for the high-need teens or menopausal women) but we need MK4 for fetal facial development.

  47. Sarah, so the supplement you use for MK-7 is Jarrow? How many a day do you take? And if more than 1 a day, do you spread it out?

    Do you think opening the capsule might help?

    I wonder because I am currently taking Thorne K2 (I guess that is MK-4):

    1. you are saying the Thorne brand is definitely synthetic?

    2. it’s super duper (SUPER!) expensive and if I could switch to a Natto that would do the same / better, I would be very happy about that

    3. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my teeth / gums since using it sublingually and swishing it around in my mouth (that’s why I wonder if opening up a Jarrow capsule of MK-7 might be helpful.

    Thanks so much for all this info!

    • I am not married to any particular brand .. yes I use Jarrow but there may be other brands that are good as well.

      According to my research, MK-4 supplements on the market are synthetic as deriving natural MK-4 from grassfed dairy would be too expensive.

      Also, MK-4 supplements last in the blood for only a very short period of time (3 hours or even less). Given the cost of the Thorne product, it seems better to buy butter oil from Green Pastures along with a much more reasonably priced MK-7 supplement.

      Jarrow is very reasonably priced so try opening the capsule or two and swish it around and see if it helps you. I would be interested to know your observations.

      • Thanks! I just looked up and even though the Thorne brand is over $60 for 1 fl. oz., it is synthetic. I use ghee (would that give K2 as much as the butter oil?) too.

        Also, when a woman is estrogen dominant, do you think natto-based K2 is okay? I have been avoiding all phytoestrogens because my hormones are so whacked out. I know natto is fermented, but it is still soy – your thoughts?


  48. My emphasis: if MK-7 doesn’t clean the plaque off your teeth — how do you know it’s working in the rest of your body? I love my clean teeth from synthetic MK-4.

    To round out the discussion, Stephan Guyenet (who I respect as much as Sarah) had these comments:

    ” . . . yes, the people who sell MK-7 like to say it’s better. Mostly because it has a longer plasma half-life. I find that argument totally unconvincing. As Chris Masterjohn has said, the shorter half-life of MK-4 may have to do with the fact that many tissues prefer it to MK-7 so they take it up more rapidly.

    “MK-4 is the form of K2 that mammals synthesize for their own use and their offspring. MK-7 isn’t something that hunter-gatherers would necessarily have gotten much of. MK-7 may have its own benefits, but I think it’s unlikely to be a replacement for MK-4.

    I wish I knew more of the sources for another guy’s comments that : ” MK-7 is produced in humans by bacteria in the gut. Studies do not demonstrate great absorption of MK-7. Positive effects of MK-7 consumption is most likely due to conversion to MK-4.”

    On principle, I also don’t like synthetic anything. Green Pasture’s Butter Oil (Activator X) may be the best way to go.

    • Yes, I agree .. MK-4 is superior IF it is natural. MK-4 supplements are not in any way natural other than the fact that they come from tobacco, hence another alternative is needed. Eating a TBL or two of butter oil a day is not an option for most especially cost wise, so MK-7 is an excellent alternative.

      I might add that I have seen HUGE health improvements taking MK-7 in addition to the many MK-4 sources in my diet. I very strongly disagree that MK-7 is not helpful, particularly since MK-7 is a primary reason hard cheeses are so beneficial to health even if not grassfed.

      This is a case of putting science ahead of observation and historical evidence which is pretty much always a mistake in my experience. Note that natto eaters in Japan have a lower hip fracture/osteoporosis rate than non-natto eaters in other parts of Japan.

  49. I added this supplement to my diet about eight years ago when I was still having heavy periods with accompanying menstrual migraines that knocked me out for a few days each month. The benefit of the MK7 was that the length of my periods reduced and the migraine was less severe and of shorter duration. I believe there are other benefits as well, but this really stood out for me as a strong benefit clearly related to adding the supplement. The sacred foods were insufficient to provide relief..

  50. Lauren Matheson via Facebook July 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Guyenet: trials on shelf-life “were conducted by MK-7 supplement vendors and the results have not been published. Interestingly, MK-4 and MK-7 have the exact same plasma half-life in rats” and “MK-4 is the only form of vitamin K2 that’s been shown to reduce fracture risk in clinical trials”

  51. Lauren Matheson via Facebook July 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue says we need 4500 micrograms MK4 daily (divided dose) or 120 micrograms MK7 (one dose okay). Stefan Guyenet suspects that MK7 does not cross the placenta in appreciable amounts, so MK7 is appropriate for adult cardiovascular health but we need MK4 for fetal facial development.

  52. Yes, please do share what health benefits you have discovered taking k2 supplements!
    I’m very interested! Also, do foods have to be raw to preserve the k2? Is there k2 in dark orange egg yolks?

  53. I am currently on the GAPS diet and soy is on the avoid list. Since it is fermented do you think it would be ok to try? Thanks!

  54. Holli LeMarr Wyett via Facebook July 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

    The bottle in your article says each cap is 90 mcg. How many do you take daily and give your kids daily (my kids are 7, 8 , and 2)? also is is safe for nursing moms? i’m assuming it is since it is from a whole food source. thks! we don’t get enough grass fed butter in our diets and this seems like an economical supplement.

  55. Where do you find natto that isn’t full of additives? I checked a local Oriental market (I’m in Tampa), but only found natto with a list of ingredients I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. I was hoping to try the recipe you posted in a post earlier this year. Thanks!

  56. Does the Green Pastures High Vitamin Butter Oil contain the synthetic MK-4? Do you take the green pastures and then add this MK-7 supplement?

    • Any grassfed dairy like butter, milk, butter oil, ghee, goose liver pate is going to contain NATURAL MK-4. It is the supplemental form of MK-4 that is a problem.

      YES, I most definitely take the high vitamin butter oil from Green Pastures and yes I take an MK-7 supplement on top of this. I will have to write another blog post on what taking this additional amount of K2 via MK-7 supplement has done for me health-wise. I waited a year to observe before thinking I would be ready to write something about it.

      • Heather@Food Ponderings July 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

        Yes, this is what I *really* want to know. I take so many supplements as is. What will the MK-7 do for me?

      • Yes! Do write about the benefits you’ve noticed over the past year. We really need to know! Because I eat a lot of gouda, thanks to your article, and grassfed butter, just assumed my FCLO was enough and didn’t need the butter oil. Do let us know more as soon as you can! Thanks!

  57. Lisa Reina Gruich via Facebook July 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    My only concern is that it is soy derived, however, if the soy is fermented before extraction, that might be ok.

  58. “Another big downside of MK-4 supplements is that this synthetic form of MK-4 does not remain in therapeutic levels in the blood for very long — only a few hours”

    This is highly likely to it being absorbed by the tissues/organs much more rapidly, which is actually an advantage.

  59. Are your teeth just as clean taking the MK-7?
    I discovered that the MK-7 from Jarrow doesn’t work compared to the MK-4 from Thorne. I was amazed after switching that in 2 days all the deposits on my teeth were gone! It had been a year since I had my teeth cleaned, and I was able to feel that build up on the back of my lower front teeth. Before spending the money on the dentist, I decided to switch to the Thorne MK-4 after reading the blogs of Stephan Guyenet and Richard Nikoley who reported the same kind of experience with both Green Pasture’s Butter Oil and the Thorne’s MK-4. Now my teeth are perfectly free of deposits. The MK-7 pills I took everyday didn’t do that.
    I didn’t know it’s synthetic. However, I can tell that it’s doing something (and saving money from the dentist!). This way, I have an indicator — my teeth — letting me know the mineral are more likely going to places they are supposed to be, instead of building up on my teeth..
    Also, I understand that the MK-4 version is what has been used in all the research that proves success with osteoporosis and heart disease. What are your thoughts on that?
    What do you think? I love that I notice a difference with the MK-4. What’s your personal experience with MK-7? How do you know it’s working?

    • I don’t honestly know how anyone can support and promote a synthetic source of MK-4. MK-7 is why gouda and other hard cheeses are so high in Vitamin K2. It is a wonderful and healthful source of K2 especially if one is getting REAL MK-4 from grassfed dairy.

      Synthetic MK-4 from supplements is a poor choice from the research I’ve done.

      • I should add that synthetic MK-4 from supplements does work according to studies I’ve seen … however, I choose not to take it for the simple reason that it is synthetic and it doesn’t keep blood levels of K2 at therapeutic levels for longer than a few hours.

        • Hmm… Good points. But I’m trying to figure out how I as a vegetarian on a limited budget can obtain enough of both MK-4 and MK-7. I’m looking at natto and fermented cheeses like gouda/edam for MK-7 and will probably buy the MK-7 supplement you recommend because natto makes me gag and I don’t want to just be eating cheese all the time. A supplement will be cheaper than buying natto anyway. I can get cheeses on food stamps, but not natto since the Japanese market doesn’t take food stamps (even though natto is cheaper and more efficient for MK-7… excuse not to kill my sense of taste, I guess). So then, if the MK-4 supplement becomes super expensive and complicated due to being synthetic, where does a vegetarian get enough MK-4? I’m having a hard time figuring out what dairy sources contain MK-4. All I know so far is that Gouda/Edam/Brie contain K2, all I believe MK-7. I’m trying to obtain dairy + eggs from the Farmer’s Market as much as possible, but 1. eggs sell out so fast there and I sleep too late on Sundays; plus I don’t wanna eat that many eggs anyway, and 2. the Farmer’s Market doesn’t seem to sell any fermented cheeses. :( I’m not even sure the Gouda I bought at Safeway is from grassfed cows, which I care about both for ethical reasons and for nutrition. I didn’t see any benefits to my teeth while eating the first wedge of Gouda… I feel them rapidly degrading on my new high-protein diet.

          If there’s a cheese with MK-4 that I should know about, telllll meeee!!! I’m broke and don’t wanna buy another supplement especially if it barely lasts. MK-7 will be expensive enough as it is. In the meantime, I am gonna finish this $2 worth of natto I bought yesterday. EEK!

        • I’ve been taking Jarrow, MK-7 but am concerned that it has soy oil in it, and as most people should be aware, soy is one of those crops that are now definitely GMO. So how can this be good for anyone?


      • Chris Kesser disagrees. I assume you are familiar with him, and he is very thorough in his research. He has also indicated (in response to readers’ questions and comments to his articles on K2) that Thorne’s products are good quality. So do many others who are well-respected in the field. I think you are over-reacting to the “synthetic” aspect in this case.

    • I read on another blog (Paleo) that the gentleman was taken FCLO and Butter oil and swearing that it cleaned his teeth so well that he felt like he really didn’t have to brush them. Perhaps your bloggers were experiencing the power of the butter oil and maybe the MK4 was just a fluke? I have a lot of build up (not as much since I eat better) and I was very intrigued by this statement from the Paleo blogger. I have not had the money to test his theory out but I guarantee it is one I am working on. Fascinating.

      • I have taken FCLO and butter oil for years (every since they first came on the market) and YETadding MK-7 to my daily regime make a huge difference which I do need to write a blog post about.

        Again, I strongly disagree that MK-7 is not beneficial. Perhaps not as potent as MK-4, but I much much prefer a natural MK-7 to a synthetic MK-4.

    • I use the a supplement called the Daily Multi Nutrient that contains both types of vitamin K2, plus great amount of all the other important vitamins and minerals, so now worries here! :D


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