Discussion of the various vitamin K2 supplements on the market with a comparison of MK-4 from animal sources or MK-7 from bacterial fermentation to ensure the diet contains sufficient amounts of this elusive yet critical nutrient.
Getting enough Vitamin K2 is absolutely essential to vibrant health. Surprisingly, the vast majority of people are seriously deficient.
Even those eating a completely whole food, organic diet, fail miserably in getting enough in either of the two major forms: MK-7 and MK-4.
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. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women, growing children, and the elderly received more to preserve 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! It is not the same as Vitamin K2 found in the sacred foods of traditional cultures.
The best food sources of Vitamin K2 are grass-fed dairy products, emu oil, gouda, and brie cheese, and natto, a very strong-tasting fermented soy product with roots in Japan.
Vitamin K2 from animal sources is MK-4, while K2 produced by bacterial fermentation as found in natto or cheese is MK-7.
Getting Vitamin K2 in the Diet is Difficult
Unfortunately, even if one consumes plenty of grass-fed 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 traditional Alpine living Swiss was an orange color. Grass-fed 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.
K2 Cannot be Recycled by the Body like K1
It is also greatly concerning that Vitamin K2 cannot be recycled by the body like Vitamin K1.
This means that stores can be quickly depleted with the very common and invisible deficiency of K2 occurring in as little as 7 days.
This is concerning especially if you are taking Vitamin D or calcium supplements. Sufficient K2 is necessary to prevent arterial calcification when intake of these synergistic nutrients is high.
Bridging the Dietary Gap with K2 Supplements
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 grass-fed dairy.
Does this mean that grass-fed 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 grass-fed sources like Traditional Societies would have by eating a similar diet.
I have not yet seen any scientific studies confirming what 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.
Several hundred mcg/day is 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. Thus, adding a daily supplement taken with food to improve absorption really has no downside.
MK-7 vs 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, the form of K2 from bacterial fermentation.
Whole Food MK-4 is Best
However, the problem is that while MK-4 in whole foods like grass-fed butter, emu oil, high vitamin butter oil, and pastured egg yolks is real and ideal, the MK-4 in supplements is synthetically derived.
This is similar to the widespread issue of synthetic vitamin C supplements. Incidentally, folic acid is synthetic too (you really want folate).
Let me say that again.
MK-4 Supplements are Synthetic
MK-4 supplements are synthetic. This form of K2 is extracted from tobacco, most likely of GMO origin (90% of tobacco crops are genetically modified).
It is not the same MK-4 as found in grass-fed butter oil, eggs, goose liver, gouda cheese, or pastured emu oil.
Why doesn’t the MK-4 in supplements come from pasture-based whole foods? Because it would be prohibitively expensive.
Another big downside of synthetic MK-4 supplements is that it remains at therapeutic levels in the blood for only a few hours.
As a result, periodic and inconvenient dosing every few hours is required.
MK-7 is Optimal for Supplementation
Taking synthetic vitamins is to be avoided if at all possible. Consequently, I take this brand of Vitamin K2 derived from nonGMO natto.
This is the form of Vitamin K2 known as MK-7 (where to find).
It is the exact same K2 you would get if you actually ate natto. Unfortunately, many folks find it to be unpalatable food.
I’ve also vetted this brand that is chickpea-based and using it on a rotation basis. It is a good choice for those who are avoiding soy.
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. This is a very effective addition to the natural MK-4 from a diet high in grass-fed dairy and other sacred foods.
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue BSc, ND
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Dr. Weston A. Price
The Latest Scoop on K2 Wonder Nutrient
The Vitamin Deficiency That Shows on Your Face
Nightshade Vegetables and Pain
Hi! Love your site. Wondering if you know of any good MK-7 products that do not use animal products (the Jarrow product states it the gelatin is “bovine gelatin”. Thanks!
I was taking MK-7 for a long time, stopped when I read synthetic vitamins and D weren’t suggested, but after reading this I just ordered it again!
I could swear I read another one of your arrivals just a few days ago about the best times of day to get adequate amounts of vitamin D, you also spoke about people on statins and I’m so upset cuz I can’t find it anywhere, is there ANY chance I could get it again? My husband is one of those that is on statins BUR he also clots, There are so many thing he can’t take it’s heartbreaking. Bid appreciate being able to read it again and I want to print it out.
Your help would be greatly appreciated
I have tried both mk-7 and mk-4 and find I get migraines from both. It starts with a feeling of having a brick in my head and I have trouble then with thinking straight. This will last for several days even after i stop taking it. I would like to figure this out because I am on a large dose of vitamin D due to MS. I suspect it may be due to my MTHFR 677T-double (homozygous) issue. I have never tried the butter oil-curious to how much I should take and if there is another way to get more vit k through food other than dairy (unfortunately I have to severely limit my dairy intake) and natto (same with fermented foods due to histamine issues). Butter oil and emu oil? how much to take? I have had trouble figuring out how much K2 emu oil has in it and also finding a reputable brand you can ingest because most sound like they are topical. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Not looking for medical advice just thoughts! Thanks!