Vitamin K For Healthy Heart and Bones

Updated: March 31, 2023

Raising Awareness for National Osteoporosis Month
You likely know of the many health benefits of taking vitamins C and D as they’re two of the most common vitamins we hear about day to day.

But what about vitamin K?

Chances are you’ve heard very little about it. Yet, like vitamin D, the majority of people are deficient in vitamin K.[1]

In today’s newsletter I’m going to tell you why vitamin K is so important, and what you can do to make sure you’re getting enough of it.

K Helps Your Heart

One of the main reasons vitamin K should be on your radar, is that Vitamin K2 has been linked to a reduction in coronary heart disease.

In fact one very large and significant study conducted in the Netherlands in 2004, followed 4800 healthy men and women for ten years. It found vitamin K2 reduced the risk of coronary heart disease mortality by 50%! On top of that, aortic calcification was also reduced by 30-40% revealing the importance of adequate vitamin K2.[2]

The takeaway is that vitamin K (K2 to be precise) is good for your heart and arteries and can help decrease your chance of dying from heart attack.

Vitamin K Helps You Build Strong Bones

A second reason why you need to be conscious of your need for vitamin K is because of its important role in bone health.

In one year-long study of 173 postmenopausal women, the effects of vitamin K1 were compared to those of vitamin K2 (as MK-7) on a number of markers of bone resorption (breakdown) and formation. The results showed that while both vitamin K1, and K2 as MK-7, improved bone formation and lessened bone breakdown, vitamin K2 was much more effective in doing so.[5]

The message? Vitamin K helps improve your bones.

So What Type of K is Best?

There are two main types of vitamin K: K1 and K2. And while both forms are beneficial to your overall health, studies have shown that one form of vitamin K is far superior.

Vitamin K1 (phyloquinone): Makes up the majority of vitamin K consumption in a typical Western diet and is found in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and lettuce. K1 is mandatory for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting.[1]

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone, MK): While vitamin K1 serves various roles and functions, researchers have found that K2 serves many more. Vitamin K2’s roles include but are not limited to ensuring development of healthy skin, promoting brain function, protecting against heart disease and helping to form strong bones. K2 is crucial for cardiovascular and bone health because it ensures the calcium you consume goes directly to your bones and stays out of your arteries.

Additionally, vitamin K2 is further divided into MK-4, MK-7 and several other forms. MK-4 is found in animal meats and MK-7 is found in fermented foods such as hard cheeses and natto. In a study done on the bioavailability of MK-4 versus MK-7 in healthy Japanese women, the results showed that MK-7 was much more well absorbed than MK-4, making it the ultimate choice when considering bone and cardiovascular health.[3]

The final form is Vitamin K3 (menadione) and is a synthetic form. Toxicity has occurred in infants injected with synthetic vitamin K3, so it is not a well understood or recommended source.[1]

Who Should Take a Vitamin With K2?

Since the majority of us are deficient in vitamin K2 it’s a good idea to increase your vitamin K2 by eating vitamin K rich foods or by taking a high-quality supplement.

Cheese is a good source of vitamin K2. As is natto. Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans that packs an astounding 1100 micrograms per serving. In comparison, cheese has about 76 micrograms per serving. Unfortunately, most Westerners do not enjoy the taste or texture of natto.

If you are someone who is not fond of the taste, the next best thing is to opt for a high-quality K2 supplement. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has established the adequate intake level for vitamin K for female adults is 90 mcg/day.[2]For optimal bone and heart health most people will need to supplement for this amount. Fortunately, if you are taking AlgaeCal Plus, you are receiving a full 100 mcg/day of vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7.

Just a note: If you are taking prescription medication for anticoagulants or blood thinners you should not take vitamin K without consulting your Doctor as vitamin K may interact negatively with your medication.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^

Article Comments

Add New Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,