Vitamin K and the X Factor

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested enough in your health to understand how important the right diet is to your wellbeing. You may already eat a diet rich in unprocessed wholefoods, with plenty of organic produce and fresh vegetables, all packed with goodness. But eating the right food is just the first step. To truly benefit from a diet rich in nutrients, your body needs to be able to absorb, and then use those nutrients. 

That’s where vitamin K comes in. 

In spite of its crucial importance to health, it’s fair to say that this is a vitamin with a fairly low PR profile. You won’t find vitamin K sitting on the supermarket shelf beside the ubiquitous vitamins B, C and D, and yet it is one of the most vital nutrients for our wellbeing. 

So, what is vitamin K and why is it so essential for our health? 

Vitamin K – the unsung hero of the vitamin world

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that, until recently, was known mostly because of its role in blood clotting. But vitamin K is actually a group of compounds with very specific functions. While continuing research is still unraveling vitamin K’s mysteries, three distinct forms have been identified:

  • Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is found in dark green vegetables and is necessary for effective blood clotting. While we may take in a high quantity of K1 from green leafy foods, very little of it is typically absorbed by the body. 
  • Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is converted in the body from K1, and is the more easily absorbed form of the vitamin. K2 is essential for healthy bones, soft tissue health (including the brain and heart) and immunity. It is present in fermented foods, grass-fed dairy products and organ meats. 
  • Vitamin K3 (menadione) is a synthetic form of the vitamin, commonly provided to infants via an injection at birth to promote blood clotting.

So how can you be sure that you’re getting enough vitamin K? And once you do include vitamin K in your diet, what does it actually do?

Vitamin K2—the X Factor

The renowned nutritionist and dentist, Dr Weston A Price, spent decades studying the diets of indigenous and traditional cultures around the world in search of the secrets of optimal health and wellbeing. In 1945, he described a ‘vitamin-like activator’—a nutrient that acted synergistically with vitamins A and D and contributed to a range of health benefits, including protection from tooth decay and heart disease, and improved growth, development, reproductive health, immunity and brain function. 

Dr Price found that this unidentified nutrient—which he called Activator X—was present in the butterfat, organs and meat of animals that consumed rapidly growing green grass. He discovered that this nutrient had the effect of making fat-soluble vitamins and dietary minerals more easily absorbed and used by the body. 

Since Dr Price’s studies, much more has been discovered and understood about vitamin K and its role in human health. In the late 1990s, this deeper understanding finally led to a connection between studies into vitamin K and Dr Price’s research—revealing that the actions that Dr Price attributed to Activator X corresponded perfectly to those of Vitamin K2. 

Activator X had finally been identified.

Benefits of Vitamin K2

Over the last few decades, research into the role of vitamin K has shown that a lack of this essential nutrient in the diet can contribute to a range of serious health problems—from increased risk of osteoporosis to mineral calcification in the body’s organs, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and brain-related illnesses such as dementia.

Vitamin K2 is now known to be beneficial for cardiovascular and heart health, effective utilisation of calcium in the body, strong bones and improved dental health. It is linked to health benefits including:  

  1. Bone health K2 helps the body absorb calcium and other minerals into bone structures, while also removing excess minerals from soft tissues, such as the kidneys and arteries. K2 is also important for osteoporosis sufferers, as it has a beneficial impact on improved bone density and can reduce the incidence of bone fractures. 
  2. Heart health Calcium is an essential nutrient, but it can cause serious health issues through calcification of the body’s soft tissues, including the heart. By regulating calcium absorption and preventing soft tissue calcification, K2 has been shown to have a beneficial impact on heart health and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Calcification can also affect the kidneys, and lead to conditions including kidney stones.
  3. Oral health Vitamin K2’s role in calcium absorption promotes strong healthy teeth and, according to studies by Dr Price, also promotes tooth remineralisation and cavity reversal. 
  4. Brain health K2 plays a role in preventing soft tissue calcification (including in brain tissue) and may help protect against dementia and other brain-related illnesses.
  5. Cancer Preliminary studies have indicated a link between higher K2 consumption and reduced risk of developing some cancers, including prostate cancer.  

Dietary sources of Vitamin K2

Studies have shown that most people living in industrialised cultures are deficient in vitamin K2. The prevalence of poor quality food and mass-produced meat and dairy products in our western diets, means that our food typically has poor levels of this important vitamin. 

Good dietary sources of K2 include dairy products and organ meats (think delicious pates) sourced from animals raised on a diet of rapidly growing green grass. Organic egg yolks and dark meat from pasture-raised chickens are also rich in vitamin K2. 

High vitamin butter oil 

But the easiest way to make sure you have enough K2 in your diet is to supplement your food intake with high vitamin, grass-fed butter and butter oil. These very rich sources of vitamin K2 are easily sourced, simple to take and effective in ensuring that you always have enough K2 in your diet.

This nutritious oil is one of the most easily absorbed sources of K2. It is made by melting butter, sourced from the fresh unhomogenised milk of grass-fed dairy cows, at a very low heat (below 35 degrees Celcius) to ensure that the butter’s essential enzymes are left intact. The melted butter is then placed through a centrifuge to separate the oil’s components. The component with the highest concentration of nutrients is then collected and bottled as high vitamin butter oil. This process of extraction and separation creates the most nutrient-dense oil possible. 

High vitamin butter oil can be added, uncooked, to food, taken as a nutritional supplement or even used direct on the skin. 

The oil has maximum benefits when used at room temperature, and particularly when taken with foods rich in vitamin A and D, such as cod liver oil. In fact Dr Price typically prescribed cod liver oil alongside high vitamin butter oil.

The GPA Wholefoods pantry

The GPA Wholefoods pantry includes foods and supplements rich in vitamins K2, A, D and E, that offer easy and effective ways of ensuring optimum levels of these essential nutrients in your diet:

  • Green Pasture X-Factor gold high vitamin butter oil (capsules and liquid) Available as convenient capsules or liquid butter oil (raspberry and plain), this high vitamin butter oil is made from the cultured butter of cows raised on rapidly growing green grass pastures, and is rich in vitamins A, D and the X-Factor—K2.
  • Garden of Life K-Complex 60 A wholefood form of vitamin K extracted from naturally fermented Natto in a flax and chia seed base for optimal absorption. Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW K-Complex offers 150% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. 
  • Nutrapro butter oil This pure, golden-coloured high vitamin butter oil is made from dairy cream sourced from grass-fed cows and minimally processed to preserve maximum nutrient content. Add to food or take as a supplement.
  • Fermented Skate Liver Oil (capsules and liquid) This fermented, raw skate liver oil is made from wild-caught Arctic skate. Available as a liquid (flavoured with orange, lemon and clove oil) or capsules, skate liver oil is a rich source of vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • Blue Ice Royal Gel and Capsules A blend of fermented cod liver oil and butter oil in a convenient capsule or gel form. 
  • Beauty Balm This indulgent skin cream combines fermented cod liver oil and butter oil in a scented base. Applied directly to the skin, the balm offers a gentle application of nutrients for your skin, bones and joints.

I hope you found this article informative and helpful. 

Please get in touch if you’d like to make ask a question, by sending us an email here.

Until next time, stay well.

Katrina


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