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The Secrets of Vitamin K2

The Beauty Vitamin for bone and teeth health!

Maintaining healthy, cavity-free teeth requires a careful balancing act of several factors. You must use proper brushing technique and floss daily, but eating a diet that supports remineralization and balances the oral microbiome is even more important. And vitamin K2 foods are the foundation of that diet.

In 1939, dentist Weston K. Price published a body of research that provided the foundational basis for the future of preventive dental care. After years of studying native cultures around the world, Price discovered that those who hadn’t been exposed to modern, Western culture enjoyed long lifespans, few occurrences of disease, and rare instances of cavities or gum disease.

Price attributed these health disparities to traditional diets—namely the fact that the diets of native cultures commonly included foods high in a compound he referred to as “Activator X.” (1) While no one is completely sure what nutrient(s) are included in Price’s “Activator X”, researchers now believe that it was most likely vitamin K2.

Now that we understand how important vitamin K2 is for oral and dental health—particularly as it works synergistically with vitamins A and D3—we have to make sure that we’re getting enough of it on a daily basis.

Although vitamin K2 is a naturally-occurring nutrient made in the gut, the process of converting vitamin K1 to K2 isn’t efficient in humans. It’s only possible, in fact, in a very healthy gut, which few of us have. On the other hand, animals like cows and chickens have an enzyme that easily converts the K1 that they consume from grass and other leafy greens and converts it to K2.

For this reason, It is recommended that consuming ample amounts of vitamin K2 foods, like some pastured (grass-fed) meats, is 0ne way to keep K2 levels high. This article will highlight the best vitamin K2 foods so you can ensure that you’re getting enough of this all-important nutrient to support oral and dental health. But before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at vitamin K2 and its benefits.

What is Vitamin K2?

Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced in small amounts by healthy intestinal bacteria but must be gained primarily from the diet. Although both are forms are of vitamin K, it wasn’t until the 1970s when Harvard researchers realized vitamin K2 wasn’t just a different form of vitamin K1 with the same benefits. They came to this realization through the discovery of osteocalcin, a vitamin K2-dependent protein that the body needs in order to pull calcium from the bloodstream so it can be redirected to teeth and bones. (2) Without vitamin K2 (and even in the presence of vitamin K1), osteocalcin cannot do its job.

Naturopathic doctor Kate Rheaume-Bleue describes the role of vitamin K2 succinctly in her book, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: “Vitamin K2 funnels calcium into bones to strengthen mineral density and fight fractures while it prevents and even removes dangerous arterial calcification. Along the way it has beneficial effects for almost every major health concern of our time, including diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, tooth decay and growing healthy children.”

While vitamin D transports invaluable calcium from the bloodstream, it has no ability to decide where it will be deposited. That function is the responsibility of the matrix gla protein (MGP). MGP and osteocalcin, both K2-dependent proteins, locate calcium in soft tissues (including arteries and veins) and distributes them to teeth and bones.

Yet, despite vitamin K2’s significant role in overall health, scientists discovered that most people in modern society are deficient in this nutrient. By consuming the following vitamin K2 foods, you can easily increase your levels of this important nutrient and better support tooth remineralization, while also preventing cavities. In 3.5-ounce portions, the highest vitamin K2 foods are: (3)

Natto—1103.4 micrograms

Goose liver pate—369 micrograms

Hard cheeses—76.3 micrograms

Soft cheeses—56.5 micrograms

Goose leg—31 micrograms

Egg yolk—15.5 micrograms

Butter—15 micrograms

Chicken liver (raw)—14.1 micrograms

For vegans who want more K2, the only food source is the best source—natto. This slimy, stinky fermented soy product takes some effort to learn to love, but Rheaume-Bleue shares evidence that eating natto even once every few weeks can provide noticeable benefits for overall health. Also, for people on medications such as warfarin, who typically have to avoid excess vitamin K, vitamin K2 doesn’t fall under those restrictions. Taking up to 50 micrograms of vitamin K2 has been shown to counteract the medication’s side effects without minimizing its effectiveness. Certain cheeses like gouda and brie offer a healthy dose of vitamin K2 because of the bacteria used to culture them.

There are other fermented foods like the Japanese soybean dish, natto that contains the highest amount of K2 than any other food. Feel free to try it if you are adventurous (it’s known to be a little slimy), or you can stick with more standard ways to make sure your little ones get their K2. This gouda dip is a delicious kid-friendly dip for celery, carrots or apple slices. If you’re lucky enough to come across goat gouda cheese, you’ll be getting extra K2 in because goats are already raised on vitamin K rich grass diets. You can find these products at Whole Foods or Wegman's easily,


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