February 20, 2019

GEM Glossary: Vitamin K2

Got K2?

Who remembers seeing the “Got Milk?” commercials as a kid and having a giant glass of milk with dinner?

Calcium is essential for bone growth during childhood and continues to preserve bone mineral density during adolescence. However, a review and analysis of the effects of calcium supplementation showed that treatment was not associated with a smaller risk of bone fractures in adults (1). So what does that mean? Does calcium supplementation even contribute to the maintenance of healthy bones?

To support this perplexing finding, the term “calcium paradox” was coined to describe the presence of lower bone density with a simultaneous increase in calcium content within the body.

What’s happening within our body that isn’t allowing calcium to fully absorb and support bone health?

Enter K2! 💪

What’s the difference between K1 and K2? 

Vitamin K1 (AKA phylloquinone) is the form of vitamin K that produces clotting in our blood (2). K1 is found in leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and Swiss chard as well as in plant oils like canola and soybean oil.

Vitamin K2 (AKA menaquinone)  is much more potent and has a wider range of ability within our bodies. It is more active than K1 in specifically bone formation, protection against free radical damage and LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol that is commonly associated with a risk of heart disease). K2 is commonly found in soy and dairy products, like egg yolks, cheese, and milk. 

K2 has been shown to prevent bone loss while also strengthening and preventing the stiffening of arteries. Traditional western diets do not provide sufficient levels of vitamin K to activate Osteocalcin--the process that binds proteins in our bones to calcium. This suggests that vitamin K2 supplementation should be prioritized over that of calcium supplementation! If we are lacking vitamin K within our diets, the calcium that we traditionally get from our western diet will not be able to bind to and strengthen our bones.

Supplementation of K2 has not been found to increase bone density, but it maintains bone health and helps to avoid bone loss. The findings around vitamin K and bone health imply that K2 could serve as a complementary nutrient to calcium.

While calcium is found naturally within the body, we must turn to food sources and supplementation to reach adequate levels of K2. Enter GEM!

Put simply…

When vitamin K intakes are low, calcium absorption is low. When vitamin K intakes are high, calcium absorption increases.

Is vitamin K2 in GEM?

YES! GEM sources our K2 from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. These legumes are rich in K2 to assist with maintaining bone health, as well as promoting healthy skin and a happy heart. Read more about K2 in our Research Library!


1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcvm.2019.00006/full?&utm_source=Email_to_authors_&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=T1_11.5e1_author&utm_campaign=Email_publication&field=&journalName=Frontiers_in_Cardiovascular_Medicine&id=424670

2. https://blogs.webmd.com/from-our-archives/20071129/vitamin-k-keeping-calcium-in-your-bones-and-out-of-your-blood-vessels

Image by George Hodan/Public Domain Pictures

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