Vitamin K2 is an often disregarded, but essential, vitamin that many people are deficient in. The main function of Vitamin K is to modify proteins; this allows such proteins to bind calcium. In short, it “activates” the calcium-binding properties of proteins. Calcium, we’re sure you’re aware, is an incredibly important mineral. However, the roles of Vitamin K1 and K2 are quite different and many feel that they should be classified as separate nutrients altogether. Vitamin K1 is mostly utilized within the liver to activate calcium-binding proteins involved in blood clotting. Vitamin K2 is used to activate proteins that regulate where calcium ends up in the body. Unless you grew up eating only grass-fed and drinking raw milk, it’s pretty much a fact that you’re deficient in vitamin K2.
It’s been found that Vitamin K2 supplementation can actually increase your testosterone levels. Experts from Japan’s Tohoku University researched the effects of the MK-4 version of Vitmain K2 on lab rats. They fed 75 mg/kg of Vitamin K2 to rats for five weeks, while at the same time measured their testosterone levels. The results revealed more than a 70% rise in plasma testosterone levels and a 90% increase in testicular testosterone levels.
This of course, would be exceptionally beneficial to those who frequent the gym, as low testosterone is linked with higher body fat and decreased muscle mass – the opposite of most of our end goals!
#2 Mental Health
Vitamin K has been demonstrated to be important for the synthesis of sphingolipids, an essential fat that helps to form the outer wrapping of the nerve. These important fats are crucial for proper nervous system and brain function and thus can contribute to positive mental health. In a world where the incidence of depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder are incredibly prevalent (and usually treated with medication), we may all see quite a benefit from first attempting to supplement with vitamin K2 daily.
#3 Heart Health
This is a significant benefit, particularly for anyone with high blood pressure or those who are a bit older. Vitamin K2 aids in preventing calcium from gathering within the arteries. A daily intake of vitamin K2 is strongly linked to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Anyone – gym goer or not – could benefit from increasing Vitamin K2 levels for this very reason.
Those who use anabolic steroids may be particularly receptive to supplementing with Vitamin K2, as anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) tend to strain the heart due to cholesterol unbalance. As such, Vitamin K2 can extend the life of an athlete as they age by preventing blockage of the arteries.
While many medical resources suggest a daily intake of 100mcg of vitamin K2, we feel this is a gross underestimation and therefore lean towards a larger dose. You should aim for at least 2,000mcg per day of K2, at least 100mcg of which should be the MK-7 form. It can be beneficial to time your daily supplementation so that it coincides with your morning dose of vitamin D as they work synergistically.