New findings: Vitamin K2 complex Increasingly focused on supplementation. Here are the most important facts.
As early as 1943, the Danish physiologist and biochemist Henrik Dam was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of vitamin K.
More than 75 years have passed since then, and this vitamin complex has still not been completely scientifically researched. A number of studies have since led to new findings and altered the image of this vitamin. For manufacturers and brand owners of dietary supplements, here is the most important information about it.
Vitamin K2 ( = menaquinone, abbreviation: MK) is a fat-soluble vitamin of great importance for many bodily functions. The "K" stands for "coagulation", which in hematology refers to blood clotting. It is important to note that K2 is often also referred to as the "bone vitamin".
Vitamin K2 exists in different variants. Depending on the number of isoprene units, menaquinone is divided into so-called MK forms (MK0 - MK13). Each of these MK forms has different biological effects. The vitamin consists of a group of 2-methyl-1.4- naphthoquinone derivatives, which differ in the length of their side chain or the number of isoprene units. In contrast to vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), which occurs as a component of the photosynthetic apparatus in the chloroplasts of green plants, a number of isoprenylated menaquinones (vitamin K2) are formed by microorganisms. Important representatives are menaquinone-4 (K2 MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (K2 MK-7). Vitamin K2 belongs to the lipophilic, i.e. fat-soluble vitamins, and is light-sensitive. It is absorbed in the intestines and transported via the blood to the liver, where it fulfills its main task – the production of blood clotting factors. Without K2 (as well as vitamin K1), the body cannot produce these factors. If K2 is completely absent, bleeding cannot be stopped.
In addition, K2 MK-4 and K2 MK-7 prevent calcium deposits in soft tissues such as blood vessels and cartilage 1) and helps in the regulation of cellular processes (such as cell division) and repair processes in the eyes, kidneys, liver, blood vessels and nerve cells. And in post-menopausal women, the vitamin retards bone loss because the enzyme osteocalcin, which regulates bone mineralization, is also vitamin K2-dependent 2).
Menaquinone-7 (K2 MK-7) with the sum formula C11H7O2[C5H8]nH
Vitamin K2 reduces atherosclerosis and cardiovascular mortality.
As early as the 1990s, it was suspected that a latent deficiency of vitamin K2 is responsible for insufficient carboxylation of vascular matrix proteins, which subsequently accelerates the calcification of atherosclerotic lesions and may promote the development of coronary artery disease 3). his relationship seems to be confirmed by the increased vascular calcification under vitamin K antagonist therapy 4). In 2004, the hypothesis of the relationship between vitamin K intake and atherosclerosis was investigated in the Rotterdam Study 5). As a result, an association between an above-average dietary intake of vitamin K2 and a reduced rate of atherosclerosis, as well as an equally reduced cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, could be demonstrated. Interestingly, these positive associations were shown only for vitamin K2, but not for vitamin K1, which the body actually sufficiently converts into the menaquinones. These epidemiological associations were also confirmed in further studies 6) 7).
The recommendation for supplementation for the corresponding target groups thus aready takes in account the reduced risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases.
Important additional areas of application for vitamin K2
The physiological importance of vitamin K2 (K2 MK-4 and K2 MK-7) has been proven many times 7). Further research results show that vitamin K2 deficiency can be a trigger for anxiety and depression 8). Another study reports that, in dialysis patients treated with vitamin K2, calcium deposits in the blood vessels were significantly reduced 9). In this way, one of the greatest risks in advanced kidney disease can be minimized. Various studies also mention the important role of vitamin K2 in fighting cancer 10). As already mentioned above, vitamin K2 also plays an important role in bone health. It should also be noted that this is especially true for bone growth in children and adolescents. In addition, it can be assumed that the same applies to the development and health of teeth 11) as to the overall bone structure. People should therefore avoid a vitamin K2 deficiency at all costs! Unfortunately, however, most people are hardly aware of vitamin K2 itself and of the considerable importance of this vitamin complex for the body.
Raw material, dosage forms and dosage
Vitamin K2 MK-4 and MK-7 is a lipophilic vitamin that can be used by the body only when dissolved in fat. Vivatis supplies MK-4 and MK-7 as raw material in powder form (optionally with 2,000 ppm, 10,000 ppm or 13,000 ppm and as an oil (optionally with 1,500 ppm or 50,000 ppm.) Oil-based drops and capsules are available as dosage forms. Vivatis supplies vitamin K2 both as a pure raw material and as a finished product concept.
For adults, a daily dose of 80-120 μg is recommended. For children aged 3 to 18 years, the recommendaton is for a daily dose of 30-75 μg
(Manufacturers and brand owners are advised to include the following statement on the product or package insert: Persons taking anticoagulant medications should seek medical advice before consuming supplements containing vitamin K).
1) Pearson, D. A.: "Bone Health and Osteoporosis: The Role of Vitamin K and Potential Antagonism by Anticoagulants", in:
Nutrition in Clinical Practice, October 2007
2) Vermeer, C.: "Vitamin K: the effect on health beyond coagulation – an overview", in: Food and Nutrition Research, April 2012
3) Karsenty G. Spontaneous calcification of arteries and cartilage in mice lacking matrix GLA protein. Nature 1997;386:78-81
4) ChatrouML, Winckers K, Hackeng TM et al. Vascular calcification: the price to pay for anticoagulation therapy with vitamin
K-antagonists. Blood Rev 2012;26:155-166
5) Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE et al. Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary
Heart Disease: The Rotterdam Study. J Nutr 2004;134:3100-3105
6) Beulens JW, Bots ML, Atsma F et al. High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification.
7) Walther B, Karl JP, Booth SL et al. Menaquinones, Bacteria, and the Food Supply: The Relevance of Dairy and Fermented
Food Products to Vitamin K Requirements. Adv Nutr 2013;4:463-473
9) Mabel Aoun el. al., High Dephosphorylated-Uncarboxylated MGP in Hemodialysis patients: risk factors and response to
vitamin K2, A pre-post intervention clinical trial