Emerging research highlights the importance of optimal intake of vitamin K and its critical role in maintaining bone and cardiovascular health. Composed of a group of naturally occurring and structurally similar, fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K is required for the proper utilization of calcium and helps to bind newly absorbed calcium to the bone matrix. Vitamin K helps maintain bone mineral density by decreasing the activity of osteoclasts, cells which break down bone. It also provides critical cardiovascular protection by activating matrix Gla protein (MGP), a potent inhibitor of circulatory calcification. Along with vitamin D, another key nutrient required for overall wellness, these two nutrients act in synergy to support and maintain bone and cardiovascular health. Current research has found high concentration supplementation, at 180 μg/day, results in improved clinical results compared to lower-dose supplementation.
K-FORCE provides 180 mcg of MenaQ7® PRO, the most widely studied form of vitamin K2 as MK-7, along with 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 for optimal support of bone and cardiovascular health.
1 capsule per day or as recommended by your health care professional
Calcium and vitamin D are important mediators in bone growth, but vitamin K plays an equally important role. The synthesis of bone growth is dependent on vitamin K, through its carboxylation of osteocalcin, a protein secreted by osteoblasts. Osteocalcin guides calcium into bones and prevents its absorption into organs, joint spaces and arteries. Vitamin K occurs in two main forms: K1 (phylloquinone), derived from foods such as green leafy vegetables and K2 (menaquinone), which is a group of related compounds differentiated by their side chains. Numerous studies have shown that vitamin K2 as MK-7 is the more bioavailable form of the nutrient 7 and more powerfully influences bone building than K1.
Vitamin K Depletion†
Although most people consume adequate dietary levels/ amounts of vitamin K to maintain sufficient blood clotting, most do not consume enough MK-7 to meet cardiovascular and bone health needs. In fact, approximately 70% of the western population is deficient in vitamin K2. Compromised intestinal absorption can also lead to insufficient K2 levels leaving calcium available to be exported out of bone and into other tissues. Other medications such as antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering medications and laxatives have also been found to contribute to a deficiency of vitamin K.10,11
Supplementation of K2 has repeatedly been shown to help maintain bone density and strength among women.12 Research from Japanese populations has found superior bone health among women who more frequently consumed MK-7rich nattō than those who did not.13 The positive effect of K2 on bone health is also evident among healthy children, among whom modest supplementation with MK-7 has been shown to increase osteocalcin carboxylation.9 In a randomized, placebocontrolled trial, 180 mcg of MK-7 or placebo were given to 244 healthy post-menopausal women over the course of three years. After at least two years, statistically significant benefits were seen in vertebrae, hip and femoral neck.14 Another ground-breaking randomized, placebo-controlled trial gave 244 women, aged 55-65, 180 mcg of vitamin K2 or placebo. The study found that those given the K2 were significantly better able to maintain their osteoclast to osteoblast ratio. Furthermore, levels of circulating osteocalcin, a marker related to tissue calcification in the body, were reduced by 50% among women taking K2 versus a 4% increase among the placebo group after two and three years.4
Cardiovascular Health and Blood Sugar Balance†
Vitamin K also plays a key role in supporting the cardiovascular system and healthy blood sugar balance. In a large population study, those who consumed high amounts of K2 had significantly improved cardiovascular markers compared to those given vitamin K1.15 A cohort of over 16,000 women also linked higher intake of K2 with better maintenance of cardiovascular health.16 Studies have also shown vitamin K to support healthy blood sugar metabolism.17,18 A 2015 study showed that long-term (three years) supplementation of 180 mcg of vitamin K2 as MK-7 was safe and effectively maintained healthy arterial elasticity and cardiovascular function.19,20 The same amount of MK-7 was also found to impart substantial benefits in arterial plasticity and blood vessel elasticity in healthy women, which had previously been only with “pharmacological doses” up to 4,500 mcg of synthetic vitamin K.14
The Triage Theory states that in the face of nutrient inadequacies, nature ensures short term survival of a cell is protected at the expense of long term consequences.20,21 Vitamin K is an excellent example of this theory. Hypothetically, a short term deficiency in vitamin K would lead to a reduction in blood clotting. This direct threat to survival does not happen, as the body uses its metabolic reserve of vitamin K to ensure immediate needs are met. If continued, this dip into reserve leads to a longterm deficiency in vitamin K. Though not directly threatening immediate survival, long-term deficiencies are linked to bone fragility, arterial calcification and genomic instability. These issues are related to a loss of vitamin K-dependent proteins not required for short-term survival, nevertheless presenting long-term health challenges.20