Lara Pizzorno is the author of “Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Have Strong Bones for Life – Naturally” and a member of the American Medical Writers Association with 29 years of experience specializing in bone health.
Recently we asked Lara if she would help us provide a series of short, ongoing videos to help you (our customers and readers) stay up to date on the latest facts and science related to bone health.
In this latest video, Lara discusses why vitamin K2 in the form of MK7 is the best choice for the majority of us and how to figure out how much you need. Watch the video below (or read the transcript provided) and let us know what you think in the comments. 🙂
Hello, my name’s Lara Pizzorno. I’m the author of “Your Bones” and am here to share with you some information that I hope will help to you have healthier bones. In this series of videos we have been talking about Vitamin K and what it does for our bones in its different forms as Vitamin K1 and also in its Vitamin K2 forms of the MK4 and MK7.
In this video, I would like to share with you:
- Why the MK7 form of Vitamin K2 works best for the majority of us,
- But why some of us need more of these MK7 form than others do and why just a few of us may find that they need less MK7 than the average person. Or even that the MK4 form of Vitamin K serves them better.
- We will also talk about how to figure out how much Vitamin K2 you need and whether you’ll do best with MK4 or MK7.
So as we discussed in an earlier video explaining the different types of Vitamin K2, MK7 and MK4, they are handled differently by our bodies. MK4 is cleared from the body within a matter of six to eight hours while MK7 remains active in the body for several days. And, therefore, when it’s taken daily, MK7 accumulates to provide a constant reserve of available K2. For the vast majority of individuals, this is great.
We want to have enough K2 around all the time to be sure that we can activate the Vitamin K dependent proteins that are so critical for healthy bones, osteocalcin, which puts calcium into our bones and matrix gla protein which prevents calcium from depositing where we don’t want it, in our vasculature, arteries, heart, breasts, brain, and kidneys.
However, for a very small number of us the MK7 form of Vitamin K2 might cause trouble sleeping and here’s why.
Because Vitamin K2 has been shown to boost the production of energy in brain cells.
Recent research published in science in 2012 initially reported a brand new discovery, and that was that in human brain cells, Vitamin K2 improves the production of energy in the mitochondria in neurons or brain cells. The mitochondria are these tiny little energy production factories inside our cells where HEP which is the energy currency of the body gets produced.
Vitamin K2 increases brain cells energy production by ferrying electrons along a part of the energy production line called the electron transport chain. Specifically, Vitamin K2 ferries electrons from complexes 1 and 2 to complex 3 in the electron transport chain in the mitochondria. And the transfer of electrons along the electron transport chain moves an electron from a donor to an electron acceptor, and this causes a reaction to occur that releases energy, which is then used by our bodies to produce ATP. So by carrying electrons along the electron transport chain, Vitamin K2 boosts the rate and amount of energy that our brain cells are able to produce.
You may be familiar with another nutrient that we’ve long known plays a leading role in ferrying electrons along the electron transport chain in the mitochondria in cells throughout our body. This nutrient is called Coenzyme Q10 and we may have heard it mentioned in the news. So Vitamin K2 is doing a similar job as CoQ10, and CoQ10’s supply is especially important in two areas of the body that work the hardest, our hearts and our brains.
Why does K2 improve energy production specifically in our brain cells?
Well, the theory is that because our brain cells are so highly active and thus use up more energy than any other cells in our body, through evolution we’ve developed extra fail-safe ways to be sure that our brain cells are getting adequate energy. The use of Vitamin K2 to move electrons along the electron transport chain in the mitochondria, is one such brain energy production insurance mechanism that allows these tiny energy production factories, the mitochondria, in our brain cells to produce more energy for us more quickly.
It’s possible that in those with genetic inheritance results in their keeping Vitamin K2 around longer. MK7 form of K2 could accumulate in their brain cells where its effect of optimizing energy production might be stimulating enough to impair their ability to tune down and sleep. Now this is just speculation today, but you can be sure that I’m going to be following the Vitamin K research closely for new developments in this area.
So the next question that brings up is why do some of us keep Vitamin K2 around longer than others of us, and that’s the topic of our next video. I hope this one was interesting for you and helpful, and I hope to see you next time. Thanks.
Bhalerao S, Clandinin TR. Cell biology. Vitamin K2 takes charge. Science. 2012 Jun 8;336(6086):1241-2. doi: 10.1126/science.1223812. PMID: 22679087