What is the connection between vitamin K2 and plaque removal? Vitamin K2 reduces the risk of plaque buildup and atherosclerosis by activating Matrix Gla Protein, which aids in the prevention of calcium buildup in the arteries.
One of the most important factors in maintaining optimal health is keeping your arteries free of plaque buildup. Plaque, which is made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances, can build up in the walls of your arteries, causing atherosclerosis. This condition increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and other serious health issues.
While there are several strategies for lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, one that has recently received a lot of attention is vitamin K2. This vitamin, which can be found in a variety of foods, has been shown to play an important role in keeping arteries healthy and lowering the risk of plaque buildup.
In this article, we’ll look at vitamin K2 and its role in plaque removal, as well as how you can get more of this essential nutrient in your diet.
What exactly is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone, is a fat-soluble vitamin found in meat, dairy products, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and natto.
While vitamin K2 is frequently confused with vitamin K1 (found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale), the two vitamins are not the same. While vitamin K1 is primarily involved in blood clotting, vitamin K2 is involved in a variety of other bodily processes such as bone health, brain function, and heart health.
One of vitamin K2’s most important functions is to activate a protein called osteocalcin. This protein is involved in bone mineralization, and a lack of vitamin K2 may prevent your body from properly utilising calcium to maintain strong, healthy bones.
Aside from its role in bone health, vitamin K2 has also been linked to improved cardiovascular health. It has been discovered to help remove calcium from the arteries, which can help to prevent plaque buildup and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
How Can Vitamin K2 Aid in Plaque Removal?
When your blood calcium levels are high, calcium can build up in the walls of your arteries, forming small deposits known as calcifications. These calcifications can grow and merge together over time, forming larger calcium deposits that can contribute to plaque formation.
While these calcifications were previously thought to be a byproduct of atherosclerosis, it is now believed that they play an active role in the development of this condition. They can specifically cause inflammation and damage to the arterial walls, making them more vulnerable to plaque buildup.
This is where vitamin K2 enters the picture. Vitamin K2 has been shown to activate a protein called matrix Gla protein (MGP), which is involved in calcium removal from the arteries and calcification prevention.
MGP cannot function properly without adequate levels of vitamin K2, and calcium in your bloodstream is more likely to accumulate in the arterial walls, contributing to plaque formation.
In addition to activating MGP, vitamin K2 has been shown to help regulate the expression of genes involved in plaque formation. It has been shown to specifically inhibit the expression of genes that promote the growth and migration of smooth muscle cells, which are involved in plaque formation.
These findings suggest that vitamin K2 may be an important nutrient for keeping arteries healthy and lowering the risk of plaque buildup.
Additional benefits of Vitamin K2
It’s important to remember that vitamin K2 is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to lowering the risk of plaque buildup and atherosclerosis. Vitamin K2 also has a number of other potential health benefits. Some of the most important health benefits of vitamin K2 include:
Vitamin K2 promotes bone health by assisting in the activation of osteocalcin, a protein required for bone mineralization. Vitamin K2 supplementation has been shown in studies to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, particularly in postmenopausal women.
Vitamin K2 may help to promote dental health by preventing the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.
According to some research, vitamin K2 may help improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some research suggests that vitamin K2 may have anti-cancer properties, especially when it comes to preventing certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.
Chronic kidney disease prevention
There is mounting evidence that Vitamin K2 may also play a role in the prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a serious condition marked by a progressive loss of kidney function over time. This can result in a wide range of health issues, including an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
One way Vitamin K2 may help to prevent CKD is by reducing calcium buildup in the kidneys. As previously stated, Vitamin K2 activates Matrix Gla Protein, which aids in the prevention of calcium buildup in the arteries. This same mechanism may also aid in the prevention of calcium buildup in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney stones and other complications.
Vitamin K2 may help to protect the kidneys by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in addition to reducing calcium buildup. Chronic inflammation is a major contributor to the development of CKD, and research suggests that Vitamin K2 may help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Finally, Vitamin K2 may help to improve insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a major risk factor for CKD.
Healthy blood vessels
Vitamin K2 may also aid in the maintenance of healthy blood vessels. This is due to the fact that Vitamin K2 regulates calcium deposition in the body.
Calcium can accumulate in blood vessels if it is not properly regulated, leading to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition characterised by the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Vitamin K2 may help to reduce the risk of vascular calcification by preventing excessive calcium buildup. This is supported by a growing body of research showing that people who consume more Vitamin K2 in their diet have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin K2 may help to promote the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, in addition to its role in regulating calcium deposition. This can aid in blood pressure reduction and overall cardiovascular health.
Studies have shown that vitamin K2 can help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.
While there is some evidence that vitamin K2 may have these health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and to determine the appropriate dosages for different populations.
How Vitamin K2 Activates Matrix Gla Protein, Preventing Coronary Artery Calcification, Cardiovascular Disease And Coronary Heart Disease
Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) is a vitamin K-dependent protein that helps regulate calcification in the body. MGP can be found in many tissues throughout the body, including the arteries, cartilage, and bone.
When vitamin K2 activates MGP, it helps to bind to and inhibit the activity of calcium ions, preventing them from accumulating in the body’s soft tissues, including the arteries. Calcium can accumulate in the arterial walls without adequate MGP activation, leading to arterial calcification and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to research, taking vitamin K2 supplements can help activate MGP and prevent calcium buildup in the arteries. In fact, studies have shown that people who consume more vitamin K2 have lower levels of arterial calcification and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to one study published in the Journal of Nutrition, people who consumed more vitamin K2 had a 50% lower risk of arterial calcification than those who consumed less of the vitamin. Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis discovered that taking vitamin K2 supplements for three years resulted in a significant reduction in arterial calcification.
These findings suggest that adequate vitamin K2 intake is critical for preventing arterial calcification and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
How to Include Vitamin K2 in Your Diet
If you want to add more vitamin K2 to your diet, there are a few key foods that you should prioritise in your diet. Among the best dietary sources of vitamin K2 are:
- Fermented Foods: Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto are high in vitamin K2. Natto is particularly high in MK-7, a type of vitamin K2 that has been shown to be particularly effective at activating MGP and removing calcium from the arteries.
- Animal Products: Animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy are also high in vitamin K2. Grass-fed animal products, in particular, are higher in vitamin K2 than conventionally raised animal products.
- Cheese: Certain types of cheese, such as Gouda and brie, are also high in vitamin K2.
How to choose the best K2 vitamin product
While plant-based sources of vitamin K2, such as fermented soy products, are available, they are lower in vitamin K2 and are less effective at activating MGP and removing calcium from the arteries.
There are a variety of vitamin K2 supplements on the market if you want to supplement with it. However, when choosing a supplement, it’s important to keep in mind that some may be less effective than others.
Look for a supplement that contains the MK-7 form of vitamin K2, as this form has been shown to be the most effective at activating MGP and removing calcium from the arteries.
It is also a good idea to ensure that the supplement comes from a reputable brand and has undergone rigorous testing to ensure its safety and efficacy.
Other important vitamins for oral health
Aside from your vitamin K2 status, there are several other vitamins and nutrients you should consider increasing your intake of, as they are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Among these vitamins are:
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that promotes gum health by promoting the production of collagen, a protein that keeps gums healthy and strong. Vitamin C also helps to reduce gum inflammation and may lower the risk of gum disease.
- Vitamin D is essential for bone health, including the bones that support the teeth. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss in studies.
- Calcium is an essential mineral for bone and tooth health. It helps to strengthen tooth enamel and support the jawbone structure. Calcium is also required for muscle and nerve function, including those that control jaw movement.
- Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy oral tissues and promoting saliva production, which aids in the removal of food particles and bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to reduce gum inflammation and may lower the risk of gum disease.
- B vitamins, such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3), are necessary for the maintenance of healthy oral tissues and the promotion of healthy blood flow to the gums.
In addition to these vitamins, proper calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc are important nutrients for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Other ways of reducing plaque buildup
While vitamin K2 may play an important role in lowering the risk of plaque buildup and atherosclerosis, there are several other approaches that can be effective in maintaining healthy arteries and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Among these approaches are:
- Maintaining a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help to lower the risk of plaque buildup and cardiovascular disease. Diets high in fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, in particular, have been shown to be effective in promoting heart health.
- Exercise on a regular basis is essential for maintaining healthy arteries and lowering the risk of plaque buildup. Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels, all of which can lead to improved heart health.
- Other risk factors to manage: In addition to eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, it’s critical to manage other risk factors that can contribute to plaque buildup and cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and smoking.
- Medications: Medications may be required in some cases to reduce the risk of plaque buildup and cardiovascular disease. Statins, for example, are commonly used to lower cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, whereas blood pressure medications can help lower blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke.
- Medical procedures may be required in some cases to remove plaque buildup and improve blood flow in the arteries. Angioplasty, stenting, and bypass surgery can all help to restore blood flow and lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Closing thoughts on vitamin K2 and plaque removal
In conclusion, vitamin K2 is an important nutrient that helps to keep arteries healthy and reduces the risk of plaque buildup. Vitamin K2 can help to prevent the formation of calcifications and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by activating the protein MGP and assisting in the removal of calcium from the arteries.
There are several dietary sources of vitamin K2, including fermented foods, animal products, and certain types of cheese, getting enough of this nutrient from diet alone can be difficult. As a result, many people choose to take vitamin K2 supplements to ensure that they get enough of this important nutrient.
It’s important to remember that vitamin K2 is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to keeping your arteries healthy and lowering your risk of plaque buildup. Aside from getting enough vitamin K2, it’s also important to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and manage other risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Also, if you have significant plaque buildup or have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, it is important to work with your healthcare provider to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may include medications, lifestyle changes, and other interventions.
While vitamin K2 is not a “miracle cure” for preventing or treating atherosclerosis, it is an important nutrient that can help keep arteries healthy and reduce the risk of plaque buildup.
If you’re interested in taking vitamin K2, consult with your doctor first to determine the appropriate dosage and to ensure that it’s safe for you to take. Vitamin K2 can be an effective tool for promoting healthy arteries and lowering your risk of plaque buildup and atherosclerosis if used correctly.
FAQs about Vitamin K2 and plaque removal
What exactly is Vitamin K2 and how does it aid in plaque removal?
Vitamin K2 is a nutrient that helps to prevent calcium buildup in the arteries by activating Matrix Gla Protein. This can lower the risk of plaque buildup and atherosclerosis.
How can I ensure that I get enough Vitamin K2 in my diet?
Vitamin K2 can be found in many foods, including fermented foods such as natto and sauerkraut, as well as animal products such as grass-fed butter and liver.
Can taking Vitamin K2 supplements help remove plaque?
While Vitamin K2 supplements may be beneficial in maintaining heart health, it is critical to consult with your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen.
What other measures can be taken to reduce the risk of plaque buildup and atherosclerosis?
Maintaining heart health requires a healthy diet, regular exercise, managing other risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, and working with your healthcare provider to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Can too much vitamin K2 be harmful?
While vitamin K2 is generally regarded as safe, it is possible to overdose on this nutrient. High doses of Vitamin K2 may interact with certain medications or supplements, so consult your doctor before starting any new supplements.
Is there anything else to taking Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2 may help to support bone health by promoting calcium deposition in bones and teeth, in addition to supporting heart health.
Can vegetarian or vegan diets provide Vitamin K2?
While vitamin K2 is typically found in animal products, small amounts of this nutrient can be obtained from fermented foods such as natto and tempeh. Individuals following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, on the other hand, may find it more difficult to obtain adequate levels of Vitamin K2.
Are there any negative effects to taking Vitamin K2?
While vitamin K2 is generally thought to be safe, some people may experience side effects such as nausea or diarrhoea. Before beginning any new supplements, consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage and to discuss any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.