Essential Vitamin – Vitamin K2

vitamin-k

Vitamins are a group of organic substances that are required in human diet for normal growth and development, maintenance of life as well as normal reproduction. There are two categories of vitamins which are water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins.

Vitamin K is one of the fat soluble vitamins that is absorbed into the body with the aid of bile acids, a kind of fluid used to absorb fat. There are two main types of Vitamin K which include Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 also known as phylloquinone that is normally found in green leafy plants that helps to maintain healthy blood clotting. On the other hand, Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is made by bacteria that line on the gastrointestinal tract. It goes to blood vessel walls, bones, and tissues and helps to optimize bone health. The primary source of Vitamin K2 is from natto, a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybean.

Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto. Some eat it as a breakfast food. It is served with soy sauce, karashi mustard and Japanese bunching onion.
Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto. Some eat it as a breakfast food. It is served with soy sauce, karashi mustard and Japanese bunching onion.

Vitamin K2 is a newly discovered essential vitamin that has been proven to help your body to optimally use calcium by binding it to bones, keeping them dense and strong and lessening risk of fracture throughout aging. Vitamin K2, particularly in the menaquinone-7 (MK-7) form, can be derived from fermentation process of natto, offers the health benefit of preventing excessive calcium accumulation in the arteries. Calcium is not able to properly adhere to the bone mineral matrix with the absence of Vitamin K2, eventually it may builds up in blood vessel walls and might cause cardiovascular diseases.

Furthermore, Vitamin K2 is also vital for growing children who are developing teeth for both primary and adult teeth, proper facial form as well as strong bones. It is also important for women who are at risk of bone fracture to take Vitamin K2. Population based studies have shown that women in Japan who consumed the most natto have generally shown low rates of fracture.

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Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine” vitamin which is crucial to keep bones and muscles strong and healthy. The best source of vitamin D would be from sun exposure especially for tropical countries like Malaysia. It is not surprised that Malaysians might suffer from Vitamin D insufficiency as most of the white collar workers spend all day in the offices and do not expose to sunlight. The natural form of Vitamin D is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is also the form that our bodies produced. Therefore, supplementation of Vitamin D3 would be a good alternative to help enhance calcium absorption from the intestine in order to build and maintain strong and healthy bones.

Undeniably, calcium has been the essential dietary supplement for improving bone health. However, recent studies have shown that supplementing with calcium alone is not enough as our bodies require other elements like Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 to optimize the use of calcium to ensure it is directed to and utilized by the bones. Therefore, the combination of Vitamin K2, Vitamin D and Calcium is a winning combo to keep your bone healthy and prevent bone fracture in the old age.

Besides calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 that can improve bone health, healthy lifestyle is also important for treating and preventing osteoporosis. The best exercise for bones is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercise include weight training, walking, hiking and climbing staircases. In addition, quit smoking and avoid excessive use of alcohol also can significantly reduce the risk of bone fractures.

Watch as Dr Hogne Vik, Chief Medical Officer of NattoPharma, Norway speaks to Malaysian healthcare professionals about the importance of Vitamin K2 in building bones and protecting the heart.