(NaturalNews) If you could take something that could prevent osteoporosis, inhibit cardiovascular disease, fight cancer or slow the progression of Alzheimer's, would you consider it a miracle vitamin? Vitamin K2 may in fact come close to filling those shoes.
There are many forms of the vitamin K complex. Vitamin K1 is the one you get by eating spinach and other deep green, leafy greens and is an important factor in blood clotting.
There is a second form of vitamin K now being closely studied by scientists, known as vitamin K2, and the evidence shows that it might be a key in fighting both cancer and Alzheimer`s disease. Other massive vitamin K2 benefits include maintaining healthy bone density and preventing -- even reversing --- arterial calcification (a contributor to cardiovascular disease.) The entire K complex is part of a group of compounds that share a similar structure known as the methylated naphthoquinone ring.
Combined with fat, vitamin K2 bioavailability (absorption) can rise from 5% to 13%.
Vitamin K2 Benefits
The main thing vitamin K2 does is control where calcium does - and doesn`t - go in our bodies. That is, it should go into our bones and blood, but not arteries or muscles. Without it, we can end up with bone spurs, hardening of the arteries and age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer`s disease. Studies now indicate that vitamin K2 also works to prevent certain cancers and bone loss.
Specifically, research has found that vitamin K2 benefits include protecting nerve cells from oxidative stress and possibly reducing neuronal damage (slowing progression of dementia.) Vitamin K2 benefits were also found to reduce liver cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Vitamin K2 Sources
The best vitamin K2 sources are grass-fed meats, dairy (raw organic certified) and a fermented soy product called natto. Adults need between 90-120 micrograms a day, but taking more won`t hurt you (unlike with many other vitamins) as no toxicity has been noted in ingesting surplus vitamin K2. Deficiencies, on the other hand, can be caused by antibiotic use, damage to the large intestine or certain medications and can have serious repercussions including osteoporoses and coronary heart disease. As numerous as natural dietary Vitamin K2 sources are, taking supplements to boost our bone and cardio health or to help prevent cancer or dementia is certainly worth considering.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...