Vitamin K is a powerful and often overlooked nutrient. It not only helps our blood to clot, supporting our cardiovascular system, but has an important role to play in bone metabolism and the prevention of osteoporosis. Its ability to regulate blood clotting and its protective effects on the lungs could make it a vital nutrient in the fight against the coronavirus. Over the course of a month, scientists and researchers in the Netherlands studied 134 patients and found many who had died or been admitted to the ICU lacked vitamin K. The results were compelling enough for the researchers to seek funding for a clinical trial.
We can obtain vitamin K from our food BUT vitamin K1, found in a lot of foods needs to be converted inside the body to K2 to be effective. Vitamin K1, phylloquinone, is mostly found in collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale and broccoli but bioavailability (the amount of it that the body can actually absorb and use for its protective effects), ranges between 4-17% – pretty low. Vitamin K2 known as the various menaquinones are predominantly produced by bacterial action. The highest amounts of K2 are found in the Japanese fermented food natto. One Japanese scientist confirmed that in the regions in Japan where they eat a lot of natto there have been no covid-19 deaths – something worth investigating further.
A number of newspapers, when launching this article, were telling people to eat cheese for vitamin K. This will not get you optimal vitamin K levels or even in a health way! Too much cheese has a detrimental fact on the cardiovascular system. Of course we all know vegetables are good for us, in particular the green ones so do indulge but you will not get enough vitamin K1 from these foods. Organic, fermented natto which may seem quite unfamiliar and is an acquired taste, has the highest K2 levels. If you’re not keen on eating natto, supplementing with vitamin K2 is the best option.
This vital nutrient often comes as part of a combo with a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D, essential for immunity should not be supplemented without vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 ensures the calcium we ingest (absorption is increased by vitamin D) goes to the bone and soft tissue and doesn’t clog up blood vessels and organs. See my article here on vitamin D supplementation for more info on how to check your levels and supplement safely. Vitamin K should not be supplemented with warafin as it reduces its effects. Always check with your NT or doctor before supplementing in particular if you are on medication – this is your responsibility.