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
I take MK7 from Calton Nutrition, an orthomolecular couple from Venice, FL. You have to call or order online. It does not have soy in it.
What about the Life Extension “Once Daily Booster”? It seems to offer 4 different kinds of K2. What’s the view on that?
Sarah Pope MGA
Hi Kevin, if you need a specific brand vetted, please dialogue with Sarah via the purple chatbox on any page of the blog. Sign up to use it here: https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/healthy-home-plus/
Hi Sarah, Could I give this to my kids? 8 an 4 yo.
If so how much?
Sarah Pope MGA
I give my kids one capsule a day.
It’s not which is best! It’s which is BETTER.
Natural Vitamin K2-7 is very important for healthy life e.g. Bone health, Diabetes management and Muscle health etc.
MenaquinGold is the most researched natural vitamin k2.
Knowing that we can convert “phytyl”-Q to Q10 in our bodies, I was surprised to read that we couldn’t convert “phytyl”-K (i.e., K1) to any form of K2 – but could you or your sidekick please elaborate on this?
May I add that you are a definite exception to the usual faddish, not-very-scientific stuff we normally get sent by email?
Sarah Pope MGA
This is a very important question! We know that grazing herbivores CAN convert the K1 in grass and other green plants to K2 (which is why grassfed whole foods are a great source of K2), but so far, research has failed to indicate that our omnivorous digestive system can do the same thing. Ancestral cultures understood that K2 rich foods were necessary for health, as these foods were revered universally around the world by very diverse cultures living in hugely different environments. Note that green plant foods high in K1 were NOT revered foods the same as those high in K2. For more info. I suggest the fascinating read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. https://amzn.to/2XfMEWK
The mk4 form is utilised straightaway as it is the small chain variant and the supplement can be given twice a day but if the dose is high enough then why supplement more than once? I wouldn’t discriminate against mk4 or mk7 as both are useful
Sarah Pope MGA
Did you read the post? MK4 supplements are synthetic whereas MK7 is not. I’m not discriminating against MK4 … just get this form of K2 from diet, not supplements!
I’ve read several articles that say both mk4 & mk7 are important because they have slighly different functions. it say mk4 is not in the blood serum very long because it is taken up by the tissue immediately and is the body’s preferential form. for example mk4 crosses the placenta but mk7 doesnt. Also isnt it true that synthetic mk4 is bioidentical & functions the exact same way as mk4 from the plant sources?
K2- Mk4 does not stay in the body long, But K2- Mk7 stays in the body a longer time..From what I have read about it, Do not take
it before going to sleep, and do Not take Mk7 everyday…Try every other day, or 3 times a week. Space the time out.
My son is only 1 1/2 years old and his tooth decay is getting out of hand! Do you have specific recommendations for such a young person? Dosage, etc? I really don’t want to bring him for crowns like the dentist suggested!!