How to choose the right Vitamin K2 supplement

(…and why I stopped taking the most popular K2 supplement and formulated our own)

We posted a couple of blogs about Vitamin K2 a few years ago.

A lot’s happened with Vitamin K2 since then. This is an update.

In that blog, we struggled to find a good product to recommend. That got me thinking about what an ideal Vitamin K2 product should look like.

I spent a year gathering and reading all the research. And another year finding the right ingredients to make a product based on that research.

Summary:

  1. You need BOTH MK-4 and MK-7 forms of Vitamin K2. MK-4 may be more important.
  2. The shape of the K2 molecule makes a difference (CIS form or TRANS form)
  3. It’s not critical to have Vitamin K1 in K2 formulas

You need both MK-4 and MK-7 (particularly MK-4)

These are very different molecules with different structures and different functions.

Based on all of the above, you could make a compelling argument that MK-4 is much more important than MK-7.

Our understanding of these various forms of K2 is still in its infancy. The longer K2 molecules like MK-8 thru MK-14 may also be essential in trace levels. Some of them have been associated with heart health, but once again, we simply don’t know enough to say what each of these molecules do.

It may take another generation of research for us to accept that K2 is really K Complex. Like B Complex.

Watch out for self-serving anti-MK-4 marketing messages

Marketers and manufacturers of MK-7 say it’s better than MK-4.

(Of course, they do!)

Plasma half-life. They keep repeating the fact that MK-7 has a much longer plasma half-life than MK-4. This is true – but it’s a self-serving argument. MK-4 is rapidly soaked up by many organs and tissues, so it will be quickly removed from the blood.

Think about it this way: throw a fistful of $100 bills into the air at a packed football game. You won’t see any bills on the stadium floor after a few seconds. Does that mean no one has money?

A short plasma half-life his does NOT make MK-4 useless, redundant or any less beneficial to your health. The plasma half life does not make a molecule more or less effective in the body. MK-4 is stored in the brain, pancreas, salivary glands, and arteries. This stored MK-4 cannot be measured and has specific biological activities in these tissues (beside Gla-protein formation.) This stored tissue pool of MK-4 may be present much longer.

There are no studies that compare the effects of MK-4 to MK-7.

Synthetic vs Natural. You will hear that MK-4 is synthetic and that MK-7 is not. Neither MK-4 nor MK-7, in my opinion, is natural.

They are both ‘made from natural sources‘ like leaves, petals, and legumes. But both nutrients undergo lots of fermentation, purification, extraction, and precipitation that it’s really not right to call either of these ingredients ‘Natural.’ If you want natural, eat Natto or fatty goose liver.

Importance of MK-4 during pregnancy and in prenatal vitamins

Given what I stated about the need for MK-4 during pregnancy, you’d think that all prenatal vitamins would have MK-4.

They don’t.

Some prenatals have MK-7, which only benefits the mother. Ideally, they all should have MK-4. In a perfect world, you should all be getting K2 from real food.

(Oh, please, please read this book: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue. If not for you, certainly for your kids.)

I don’t know a single prenatal vitamin that contains MK-4. I don’t know a single OB/GYN who suggests K2-rich foods (let alone MK-4) to their patients. I find this disturbing since weeks 5-12 of pregnancy are critical for the baby’s teeth development. Both sets of teeth, your ‘baby teeth’ and adult teeth are formed in utero during weeks 5 – 12. Proper bone, jaw, skull, dental development is impossible without adequate MK-4.

Pregnant women may be able to partially convert relatively abundant K1 to MK-4. This may be an evolutionary advantage in women of reproductive age, much like their ability to convert ALA Omega-3 to EPA Omega-3 better than the rest of us. But gut dysbiosis and statin use stop this from happening. And virtually everyone these days has gut dysbiosis.

As far as we know, there is little or no role for MK-7 in fetal development. The human body is ultra-efficient. There is very little duplication of function. It is naive to think that all we need is MK-7. The evidence that MK-4 and MK-7 do different things, and that BOTH are essential is very compelling.

Not all MKs found as supplements

We may still not be off the hook by taking an MK4 + MK-7 supplement. The other MK forms are not available in supplement form and can only come from fermented foods and fats of animals that have recently grazed on rapidly growing green grass.

Why ‘recently‘, ‘rapidly growing‘, and ‘green grass‘? Because they contain the most chlorophyll. Chlorophyll in green grass is processed by probiotic bacteria in the ruminating guts of grazing animals into MK forms.

So cows eating dead hay may not produce K2 rich dairy products. We won’t bother talking about cows fed corn and soy.

The shape of the MK-7 molecule makes a difference

This is a somewhat new realization. No one is talking about it because it is inconvenient.

You may have heard that there is a difference in absorption or biological effect between CoQ10 (Ubiquinone vs Ubiquinol) or Omega-3 (ethyl ester vs triglyceride vs phospholipid) forms. There is truth behind these notions.

The situation with Vitamin K2 is somewhat similar.

There are two forms (isomers) of MK-7. Cis MK-7 and Trans MK-7.

MK-7 is always found in the trans form in nature and in foods. Cis form of MK-7 is not found in nature and may not provide the same benefit.

If you look at the structure, it becomes clear why.

Vitamin K2 Cis and Trans forms
Vitamin K2 MK-7 in nature and in food is always in the trans form. The cis form of MK-7 is L-shaped as opposed to the straight shape of trans MK-7. The unique shape of these molecules dictates what they do in the body. Like a lock and key, Vitamin K2 and their receptors work when the body is provided with trans MK-7.

If you get your K2 from foods, then great – this does not apply to you. But if you get it from supplements, listen up.

Most MK-7 found in supplements are a blend of Cis and Trans.

Example: if a label says 100 mcg (microgram) of MK-7, you’d expect most of it to be absorbed or bioavailable. Not so. In most cases, it is impossible to tell how much of the 100 mcg is in the biologically active and beneficial trans form. Most of it is probably in the trans form. But K2 supplements analyzed at the University of Oslo suggests that some products contain only about 15% of MK-7 in the trans form.

So this hypothetical product may be providing you just 15 mcg of trans MK-7 and 85 mcg cis MK-7, instead of the 100 mcg of usable K2 as claimed by the label.

This is a bit of a bummer. Because most of the manufacturers of K2 products don’t even bother to check how much cis and trans is present in their product. It has simply not dawned on the industry’s collective conscience. (But it may…if you ask them to test and share the results.)

MK-7 molecular structure of various sources per unpublished data from University of Oslo/KappaBio:

MK-7 ORIGIN % MK-7 as TRANS
Norway 98%
Japan 95%
Europe 89%
India 71%
China 15-30%

Are Natto-based K2 products all-trans?

Products that claim to be all trans because they are made from Natto, are, well, hoping it is all trans.

Natto-based K2 supplements on the market have very little to do with the dish Natto. They use a similar (or the same) bacteria for fermentation, but every thing else is different. Instead of soybeans, they start with soy protein concentrates. The soy protein fermentation process includes complicated manufacturing steps and the use of solvents. During this process, small deviations can influence the molecule structure and…voila! Cis MK-7.

There is one lab here in California and another in Norway that can test for the presence of cis MK-7. When I asked them about it, they said there isn’t any demand for this test. (For chemistry geeks: use HPLC/UV reverse-phase C30 column at 270 nm to sort out stereoisomers.)

Why I stopped taking the most popular K2 supplement and formulated our own

For several years, I took and recommended Life Extension’s Super K formula. It has both MK-4 + MK-7 and the price is right. Not surprisingly, it was and still is the most popular K2 supplement in America.

But then I sent Life Extension Super K formula to the lab in Norway can measure both cis and trans isomers of MK-7.

I was not pleased with the result.

Only about a quarter of the MK-7 was in the preferred trans form. The label says 200 mcg of MK-7. Only 54.8 mcg of that is trans MK-7. That meant I’d have to take four pills to get 200 mcg of MK-7 and that would give me way too much K1.

What if the lab in Norway was wrong?

Just to be sure, I sent another Life Extension K2 bottle to Eurofins Lab here in California. The result was almost identical – this time, they found 53.5 mcg of trans MK-7 per pill, about a quarter of what is declared on the label.

So I stopped taking the Life Extension K2 and switched to Nutrigold K2. I trust Nutrigold but I tested their product too for cis/trans ratio and they, as promised, were selling all-trans MK-7. But their product is missing critical MK-4.

It became clear that I’d have to formula a K2 product from scratch. One that had an effective level of both MK-4 and trans MK-7. But with no added K1.

Life Extension Super K2 MK-7 Isomer Analysis

Lab Eurofins Synthetica
Total MK-7 (mcg) 271.9 211
Cis-MK-7 218.5 156
Trans-MK-7 53.5 54.8
% of MK-7 as Trans 19.6% 26%
Vitamin K2 MK-7 cis and trans analysis
Independent test of Life Extension Super K2 shows that MK-7 is mostly in the cis form. Cis MK-7 is not the preferred form for bioavailability and absorption.
Vitamin K2 cis/trans analysis
Just to rule out coincidence, we sent another bottle of Life Extension Super K2 to a different lab. They also found mostly cis MK-7 with very little trans MK-7

It’s not critical to have Vitamin K1 in K2 formulas

Vitamin K1 has been repeatedly shown to offer no benefit to your heart.

Vitamin K2, on the other hand, has been repeatedly shown to improve heart health.

Vitamin K1 is essential for proper blood coagulation. K1 has little or no role in proper calcium deposition.

Most adults are not K1 deficient. Even consuming very small amounts of green leafy vegetables or vegetable oils can provide you with ample K1. It’s even found in fast food and soybean oil.

Better yet, your body can recycle K1. You rarely, if ever, become deficient. So no need to supplement. If you supplement with K1, serum levels reach a plateau at 200 mcg. Doses of 1000 mcg per day may even contribute to periodontal disease.

Vitamin K1 and K2 negate the effect of drugs like Coumadin or Warfarin. Actually the truth is the reverse. These anticoagulant drugs stop K1 recycling and so keep the blood very thin. Taking these drugs keep you in an artificially K1 and K2 deficient state. So if you’re taking these drugs, supplementing with K1 or K2 makes the drug ineffective.

Anticoagulant drugs also take out some K2. There is evidence that people on anticoagulant drugs quickly develop arterial calcium deposits.

As if that wasn’t enough, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs also keep you in an artificially K2 deficient state.

Regardless, if your doctor deems it important for you to be on these drugs, adding K1 (or K2) to the mix warrants a discussion with your doctor.

I regularly talk about the need to avoid vegetable seed oils and processed foods. Here is another reason: soybean and canola oils contain K1. When these oils are hydrogenated for use in processed foods, K1 gets converted to DHP (dihydrophylloquinone), a substance of questionable impact. Yet another reason to go back to traditional fats like grass-fed butter.

All said, having K1 in your K2 supplement is not critical because it increases risk a little without adding much in the way of benefits.

Ideal dosage

MK-7 has never been consumed in high doses in human history, unless you lived in eastern Japan and eat Natto. Japanese consume 230 mcg of MK-7 per day due to Natto consumption. No other culture consumes that much MK-7. So a dose of 100 mcg seems more than adequate. It is after all, the fourth most abundant/important K2 in the body.

We consumed MK-4 regularly when we were hunter gatherers or even a century ago when we were not disgusted by the concept of eating animal organs. Such a traditional diet would not have given you much more than 500 to 1000 mcg MK-4 per day.

Some Japanese studies have used 45,000 mcg (45 mg) daily dosage without major side effects. 45,000 mcg per day is an extreme dose without basis in human diet. 45,000 mcg is about 50X what you might be able to get from eating K2-rich foods. Anything higher than 1000 mcg per day is well outside your body’s operating parameters. Supplements based on these Japanese pharmaceutical protocols should be taken with caution.

16,000 postmenopausal Dutch women averaged 29 mcg of K2 per day. Americans probably get far less than that.

Products worth considering

Thorne Vitamin K2 Liquid (MK-4). This may be a bit pricey upfront, but it is a liquid MK-4 and each drop contains 1000 mcg of MK-4. One bottle may last you a year. Their dosage is based on Japanese osteoporosis studies and is extreme. I think a drop or two drop a day is about all you’d ever need. This is what I gave my kids when they were too young to swallow pills or eat solid foods.

If you want a standalone MK-7 (not sure why you would), there are plenty of options online – Nutrigold and Doctors Best are trustworthy – I’ve tested them both and they are both in the all-trans form. Between the two, I’d go with Nutrigold because they have higher-than-promised amounts.

Vitamin K2
InnovixLabs Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 contains both MK-4 and MK-7 forms of Vitamin K2. Available on Amazon.

Based on the research and testing I’ve done, we formulated InnovixLabs Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 with 500 mcg of MK-4 and 100 mcg of MK-7. Both forms in one pill. The size/shape of the pill was described as ‘adorable’ by my wife.

I prefer to get my nutrients from foods and not supplements, leaning on supplement when I’m traveling, busy, or sick.

If you want to get your K2 from foods, the most palatable options are grass-fed butter, European hard cheeses, and poultry. Natto is for the brave – it has been described as a sticky, stretchy blend between gummy bears and snot. Fatty goose liver (Foie gras) is banned where I live!

It doesn’t help that Americans, fearing cholesterol, have cut down on red meat, eggs, and butter by about 20% in the last few decades. Specifically, we eat 40% less K2-rich animal fats and a 177% more vegetable oils that are K2-free. This misguided diet shift may have actually worsened the state of all our arteries and our bones.

Note that the food options below are mostly MK-4, as that’s what’s in most foods:

Food mcg K2 per 100 g Form of K2
Natto 1103 MK-7
Goose liver 369 MK-4
European hard cheeses 76 MK-4 and MK-9
Pastured egg yolk 32 MK-4
Regular egg yolk 15 MK-4
Grass-fed butter 15 MK-4
Chicken liver 14 MK-4
Skim milk 0 n/a

 Bottom-line:

  1. Look for products that contain both MK-4 and MK-7.
  2. Find out if the K2 is in the trans form.
  3. All other factors are secondary to the two above.

 


Disclaimer

This website is for your education and general health information only. The ideas, opinions and suggestions contained on this website are not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your doctor for any health condition or problem. Users of this website should not rely on information provided on this website for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician. Please do not start or stop any medications without consulting with your doctor. We neither encourage you to do so, nor can we be held responsible for the fall out of failing to seek the counsel of a medical health practitioner.

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Vin Kutty
Vin Kutty, MS, is co-founder of Innovix Pharma. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with 20 years of experience.

Comments

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  1. Thank you Vin, another great article! I’m assuming you recommend K2 for children as well. Is there a certain dosage based on age that you recommend?

    • Hi Kristi – yes, MK-4 will certainly aid in their calcium absorption. We’ve traditionally got most of our K2 as MK-4 and only a little as MK-7. I am content with my kids getting a little MK-7 and MK-9 from cheese.

  2. Hi Vin – article as usual.
    What is the difference between MK 4 as menatetrenone aor as menaquinone?
    Also I have come across some articles that claim that a (unknown?) percentage of K1 can be converted to some K2 in the intestines but I have found no actual %’s or how that may even work at all?

    • Hi Mike – menaquinone is the family of long chain Vitamin K2. It includes all K2. Menatetrenone is MK-4.

      Yes, very small quantities of K1 can technically be converted to K2. We (humans) don’t do it well because we partially depend on gut microflora to make the conversion. There is also a gene that encodes an enzymes to make the conversion. Still, we are not anywhere near as efficient at this conversion as other mammals (especially grass eating ones) with fermenting guts.

  3. Vin,

    Hi, i am introducing my mother to your k2 brand. I saw the warning about blood thinning medications for mk1. She regularly uses excedrin (with aspirin). Any cautions?

    thanks,
    John

    • Hi John – if the aspirin or any other heart meds are doctor recommended, then she should consult with her doctor. Having said that, aspirin has a different mechanism of action than anticoagulant medications. Aspirin/Excedrin do not provide blood thinning effect by interfering with or wiping out Vitamin K1/K2 from the body. It does not interfere with K1/K2 or vice versa.

      However, if her doctor has her on Rx blood thinning medications, like warfarin or coumadin, then taking K1 or K2 will reduce the effect of those drugs. As I mentioned above, Vitamin K helps the blood clot, so we don’t bleed to death from things like paper cuts. Drugs like warfarin and coumadin keep the blood thin by stopping the effect of K1 and K2…so you’re constantly K1/K2 deficient. If in doubt, check with doctor.

  4. Thanks for the great post. Have you come across any info about which cheeses have the most K2? I always hear about Gouda, but was wondering if there are other varieties that are just as good (or better)?

    • Hi David – Gouda, Norwegian Jarlsberg, Swiss Emmental, Edam, Blue Cheese, English Cheddar are all good source of MK-9. Jarlsberd is typically the highest.

  5. If you say MK4 is the more important one and the one concentrated in the brain, why do you recommend natto instead of cheese which has MK4, as listed in your table below?

    • Hi Doc – let me clarify – when I said ‘If you want natural, eat Natto or fatty goose liver,’ I was giving people the two top sources of natural K2. Natto is all MK-7 and Goose liver is all MK-4. No harm at all in eating Natto if you can stomach it – better MK-7 than nothing at all.

      The science certainly shows a greater need for MK-4 over MK-7. I think you need MK-4 more than MK-7. I take both and eat cheese for the longer MKs like MK-8 and 9 that are not available as supplements.

      So if you can find and enjoy foie gras, then, by all means go for the goose. If not, regular poultry is an so-so choice but it does not have anywhere near as much MK-4 as goose liver. The little bit of MK-4 in chicken is due to the synthetic menadione (K3) that is mixed in with their feed. Chickens then convert some of the K3 to MK-4 K2. If the factory farmed chicken were not fed synthetic menadione, then there isn’t going to be any MK-4 in the chicken. I do not like the idea of relying on factory farmed chicken for anything, that is why I did not mention it in the article. Butter from grass-fed cows and egg yolks from pastured chicken are also so-so sources of MK-4 an make far better choices than factory farmed chicken. But then there is the decades-old misinformation and fat-phobia with butter and eggs. Cheese is not a very good source of MK-4. Hard cheeses are better for MK-8/9. Everything is so-so when compared to goose liver. I’d rather you go with so-so than nothing at all.

      Bottom-line: if you can stomach Natto, go for it – plenty of MK-7 there. Otherwise, go with grass-fed butter and pastured egg yolks for MK-4. And hard cheeses for MK-8 and 9.

  6. Hi Vin,

    We routinely eat pastured eggs, about one-two a day on average (from local people that just have chickens in their “backyard”), as well as Kerry Gold butter. We also take a tsp of FCLO/HVBO (I know you aren’t a fan 🙂 ) , but with the combination of those things do you think we need more MK-4? I am never opposed to supplementing when I think I am not getting enough of something easily, but not sure if we may need more in this case? Thoughts?

    Oh and by the way, we are going to try for another kid soon, so please include thoughts on how much beyond the diet outlined above my wife may soon need to take. (And wish us luck! We are 38 and deciding to have another “set” of kids, Lord willing. We have 10 and 8 y/o boys now.)

    • Hi John – given your diet, you’re probably not deficient in MK-4. If you like cheese, look into European hard cheeses.

      Ummm, yeah, fermented cod liver oil (FCLO.) I am NOT a fan. It’s the worst possible way to get your fat soluble vitamins.

      If you’re thinking about adding to your family, then definitely have your wife consider MK-4 during the first trimester of pregnancy. Folate is important before conception and during the first trimester.

      • I can’t remember where your info on why you dislike the use of FCLO is. Can you point me to it? (I think its the only thing I have disagreed with you on, but I can be swayed.) The evidence seems very good *for* FCLO from Green Pasture, as it seems that they go to great lengths to ensure purity, testing, etc. But I may be wrong. Can you revisit some of that research sometime? I love the evidence based research and blogs of yours. Similar to Mark’s Daily Apple. Although I think Mark likes FCLO.

        So to replace what FCLO/HVBO gives me, you would choose a quality mk4/mk7 formula, quality Omega 3, something like Nutrigold D3, and then what for Retinol Vitamin A?

        • Hi John – here is the link: http://www.omegavia.com/cod-liver-oil/

          Fermented cod liver oil is rancid. Period. If it is made from cod, it is also polluted. Lately, some of it is not from cod and none of it is fermented.

          The reason why FCLO is recommended is that it has natural pre-formed Vitamins A and D3. It is the only reason why it is better than regular fish oil. Most people do not get enough of either of these vitamins, so those doing the recommending are well-intentioned. But I don’t think they have any clue how rancid this stuff is or the pollutant load.

          Unlike FCLO, most of the regular cod liver oils that you might see at Walmart or Walgreens is processed and purified like any other fish oil. These are not going to be rancid or polluted. They also don’t have Vits A and D. If you find Cod liver oil made by well-known brands, the Vit A has been added separately after purification to make it appear like the real thing.

          The ancestral and paleo health community has been very pro-FCLO without having a clue about what’s actually in it. Not smart. But some people are starting to catch on. Like me, they’re starting to get their Vit A from liver, eggs, butter and other animal fats. And D from the sun and supplements depending on the season. If you don’t like liver, you may want to try NOW Foods’ Vit A supplement. It’s made from fish liver and is not rancid.

          I haven’t beaten this drum very loudly because anything I say about it is suspect. After all, I’m associated with OmegaVia. I get that.

          • FCLO was tested by Green Pasture itself. The results were posted on the website-but when I last checked they were removed due to (I think)
            Dr. Kaayla Daniel “Hook, Line and Stinker” expose about FCLO- and showed no or low D3 and mostly D2. Then they made the case that the D2 was fine and equivalent to D3. Now they admit there is no D2 and little D3 but there is a substance that has vitamin D properties.

  7. Thanks for the link. I read back through that again to refamiliarize myself with what had been said. I compliment you again as I think you research these topics incredibly well and I *do* believe you try to encourage what is best for us, not just what you sell. I now remember coming away from what I read from you a bit convinced, but then reading much of what is on the Green Pastures site about the tests they run on their batches made me think that the downsides of FCLO were minimal, and that it did not contain many pollutants, at least according to their tests. Do you mind giving a scan of a bunch of articles on their site and then commenting? Since they are the big dog in FCLO, I imagine you are already familiar with their practices, so I am guessing some of what you discussed in your FCLO article was a result of what you know about them. I would like to know your specific opinion based on what they are doing and saying these days. If that is something you dont want to print publicly feel free to just take this to email. Thanks again for all you do! (By the way, I think you know, but I have also been buying Omegavia on autoship for a couple of years now, so I definitely see a great purpose and value in your products. I am about to be trying the Innovix Magnesium and have gone through a couple of bottles of Omega 7 as well.)

    Last thing… I looked into that Now Foods Vitamin A. 25,000 IU seems a little excessive. Is it OK? Or perhaps only in the presence of a 5,000 IU D3 from Nutrigold? If one instead gets vitamin A from liver, does that mean a bit of liver everyday?

    • Hi John – Now Foods makes a 10,000 IU Vit A product too. If you eat a somewhat paleo type diet, you won’t need the 10K pill every day, let alone 25K. May be do the 10K a couple of times a week. To put things in perspective, traditional Inuit diet provides 20-40K per day. There is also a an alleged A to D ratio. I’ve read 3:1 all the way to 10:1 suggested, but if you’re taking 5K of D3, you’ll want to make sure you get some A and K2. You don’t need to eat liver every day – that’d be a chore. A couple of times a week ought to do it. A and D are stored for long-term use. My suggestion is to get a LOT of summer time sun exposure and rely of D3 supplements during winter and spring. If you do it right, you wont need D3 supplements during the fall, right thru December. Besides, sunshine has other benefits besides D3 – things like mood and re-setting circadian rhythms. Very critical.

  8. Ok thanks. I am definitely trying to find an amount of each of these important nutrients that I can control and feel that I, my wife, and kids are all getting enough of, without getting too much.

    My wife and I eat a pastured egg or two everyday. My kids do so maybe 70% of the days. I try to get them to everyday, but sometimes unsuccessfully. My wife and I are currently following the “Whole 30” eating plan, so we get plenty of veggies, meats, fish, and fruit.

    I like the idea of that 10,000 IU Vit A, but it is also in soybean oil…. not sure why they went with that when some of their other supplements have better oils. They seem to be the only company that has a Retinol based Vit A (I assume A from fish oil is Retinol (?)

    So to replace what is in FCLO / HVBO blend:

    1. Vit A from eggs, liver (infrequently… would have to trick kids into eating by putting in a burger or something), and a possible 10,000 IU supplement for both myself and kids
    2. K2 from the Innovix blend. Looks near perfect
    3. Vitamin D3 from 2,000 IU supplement and sun. (5000 is likely overkill…is 2,000 too much for kids?)
    4. 1-2 capsules Omega 3 from Omegavia, also periodically from salmon
    5. And then Calcium… should I be supplementing at all? I only ask since it has been referred to in so many K2 and D3 articles. I have never supplemented with calcium, assuming I got enough in my raw milk. (Right now we don’t drink milk since it is not a part of the first 30 days of Whole 30, but I will be adding it back). I think my wife, especially if she get pregnant, should be downing raw milk consistently. The kids continue to drink some everyday.

    Despite the “look” of complexity above, the upside is all of these items can have verified purity, and the sum of them all would be MUCH cheaper than the ~$100 a month I pay now to have a tsp a day of FLCO/HVBO blend for me and my kids (wife has not been taking).

    Sorry for another long email. I think its a great discussion to flush out, though! Thanks for the answers!

    • Hi John – the teeny, tiny bit of soybean oil in the Now Foods Vit A is not an issue for me. People get emotionally worked up about soy, but the only thing I don’t like about soybean oil is the high Omega-6. You’d have to down the whole bottle of pills to noticeably increase the Omega-6: 3 ratio. If I’m traveling or in another country (like right now) and my scrambled eggs were cooked in soybean oil…oh well. I’ll live.

      I don’t know how heavy your kids are, but 1000-2000 IU of D3 should be OK during winter months. Skip D3 pills in the summer. I just toss my kids in the pool during the middle of the day without sunscreen. In the winter, I use liquid D3, A, and K2 drops with my kids, may be a couple of times a week. But it all depends on their diet.

      I don’t supplement with Calcium. I prefer to get it form food – meat and fish cooked bone-in and the rest of my calcium comes from green leafy veggies. I’m Ok with heavy cream and cheese, but I have not consumed milk in a couple of decades. It’s an overrated source of calcium with lots of potential issues. Raw milk is another one of those ‘Paleo echo chamber’ things. They’re all doing it. I refuse to.

  9. Ok thanks again.

    Last question (for now! 🙂 )

    My wife and I were discussing how much vitamin A for her to shoot for in her diet or supplementation before and during the hopeful upcoming pregnancy. I was prepared to have her incorporate liver, or maybe dessicated liver, or the 10,000 IU pill we discussed, on top of her routinely eating an egg or two a day. But she has been doing reading such as here:

    http://www.babycenter.com/0_vitamin-a-in-your-pregnancy-diet_675.bc

    And quite a few other sites that say for pregnant women to steer clear of extra vitamin A. Of course that link also says things like

    “The average American diet provides plenty of vitamin A. It’s available in meat, dairy, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals in the form of preformed vitamin A, or retinol. It’s also in most fruits and vegetables, mostly in the form of carotenoids.

    It’s important during pregnancy not to get too much of the preformed vitamin A, which in high doses can cause birth defects and liver toxicity. (You can take in as many carotenoids as you want, however, from fruits and vegetables.)”

    So since that writer thinks that the fortify cereal with Retinol versions of Vitamin A, I find the whole thing suspect. But there are plenty of similar articles out there.

    Do you have any data or studies for me to show her that are more accurate?

    • Hi John – there is a lot of Vit A misinformation and phobia out there. The risk with both A and D3 is the consumption one without the other. Or in the absence of K2. Google ‘Chris Masterjohn Vitamin A’ He’s written a lot about this in a consumer-friendly way.

      If you (or your wife) eat what you’re supposed to eat, then there is no need to rely on Vit A supplements. If she decides to take Vit A, check with her OB first.

  10. Hello Vin,
    I have always read, that your body etc. needs K2 Mk-4 about every for 5 hours as this has a short shelve life in the body. It takes the calcium from your arteries/soft tissue, to your bones.
    But K2 MK-7 has a long shelve life, and does not need to be taken as often. About every 3 days!
    Many people that take Mk-7 get a fast heart beat, no matter the small amount they take, and some get a fast heart beat, and some cannot take it before bed time cause it keeps them awake. And some people do not have any problem.

    That said, I have Osteoporosis. I’m older. I won’t take the osteo drugs.
    I do take allot of vitamins and herbs..
    That is when I saw your Full Spectrum VITAMIN K2 (by InnovixLabs). Provides two essential forms of K2 (MK-4 + MK-7). Total of 600 mcg of K2 per capsule. Soy-free. 90 Capsules.
    from InnovixLabs

    I was taking Thorne liquid K2 Mk-4..I was taking 5 drops (its says take 15!!)..once to twice aday with a little healthy fat.
    I do not want to take Thorne anymore!! But yours seems to not have enough K2 Mk-4, and not sure if I should yours twice aday, , cause then I think it would be too much Mk-7.
    I do Not want a fast heart beat.
    What are your thoughts on this?

    Can you tell me what type of vitamin A. you recommend, and Please, Not anytype of “Now foods”.

    You have been helpful.
    Thank you,
    Annie

    • HI Annie – there is no basis in science for telling someone to take MK-4 every 5 hours. This unscientific recommendation is based on the short half-life. But half-life is very deceiving because it only looks at plasma concentration. MK-4 is rapidly stored in select tissues in the body and cleared from the blood. I address this in the article above. This does not mean you’re not getting the benefits of MK-4 after 5 hours. That’s just silly. So once a day should be plenty. The Thorne item is very good – I give it to my kids who don’t want to take pills.

      The best source of Vitamin A is liver. If I don’t eat liver on a particular week, I might pop the NOW Foods Vit A that you prefer not to take. Grass fed butter, heavy cream and eggs have small quantities as well.

      • Hi Vin,

        Thank you for your fast reply.

        Tonight I did buy your:
        “Full Spectrum VITAMIN K2 (by InnovixLabs). Provides two essential forms of K2 (MK-4 + MK-7). Total of 600 mcg of K2 per capsule. Soy-free.

        I buy organic pasture soy free eggs, organic grass fed butter. But I mainly use organic coconut oil.
        I bought organic pasture liver away ago, and we just didn’t like it..I think I threw it out, or gave it to someone.! Maybe I should buy it again, and give it another try.
        If “Now foods A ” Cannot pass prop 65 in Ca. I’m not taking it. I also do not like the fish in it.

        Thanks Again,
        Annie

        • Hi Annie – you hit a nerve. Please read this to the end – I have a surprise for you.

          Prop 65 is a brilliantly ridiculous law. I had to study it when I was in college back in the 1980s. It is the law in California. If a product contains any substance known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm, it must clearly say so. Sounds good, right? But the safety cut off level is often at 5th percentile of established safety standards. Here is what I mean: let’s take Lead as an example. Prop 65 says a product must have the warning if it has more than 0.5 micrograms Lead per serving. This is way, way below any reasonable, scientific standard of safety. Why? Because a serving of healthy organic spinach has 5 micrograms! It’s naturally occurring. That’s 10 times as much as California Prop 65 permits. Same for dozens of other veggies – broccoli, brussels sprouts, avocados, cucumbers and I could go on. Nuts, meats, fruits…all. Don’t even bother with liver.

          Are you going to avoid eating all these veggies, fruits, nuts, and meats? I’m not!

          The lawyers who wrote and pushed Prop 65 into law have been suing companies for breaking the law and extracting huge settlements. This is called a shakedown settlement.

          There have been many instances when we’ve come up with a great formulation – groundbreaking stuff. But we’ve either had to scrap the formula completely or reduce it to something unimpressive to meet Prop 65 requirements.

          So here is your surprise: I knew this, but I spoke with a nutritionist at NOW Foods just to confirm. Guess what? Their Vitamin A has the Prop 65 warning BECAUSE it is Vitamin A. Yep, that’s right. Not because there is lead or mercury or arsenic. It’s pure, clean Vitamin A. I have access to a lab and I can vouch for the purity. Vitamin A has the scary cancer/birth defect warning BECAUSE IT IS VITAMIN A! If a product has 10,000 IU or more Vit A, it will have the Prop 65 warning. But most adults (especially those who take D3 supplements) need more than 10,000 IU per day. Ancestral populations used to get 30,000+ IU per day. Prop 65 has fed into Vit A phobia and Vit A deficiency can cause birth defects.

          More here: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-04-15/news/mn-1702_1_birth-defects-toxics-list-vitamin

          Disclosure: Innovix Pharma does not currently sell Vitamin A. And there are no plans to.

  11. Hi Vin,
    That is very interesting, to say the least.
    Although I have looked through the internet, but have not been able to find anything else about this type of article ! I’ll pass it on to see what others have to say about it.
    What I have read is, Prop 65 started out about Cleaning up the water etc. in Ca., then it looks like many others jumped on the band wagon..Now there are 100’s of other things that got mixed up with this bill Prop 65!!
    What a surprise..

    I have Not seen signs up about prop 65, in stores ,except in Macy’s about there Lead Crystal , and that is only in the last couple of years.
    Over a year ago My granddaughter in the market pointed out to me that “Wine Vinegar” I use in salads has a sign up, saying there is Sulfates in it and could be dangerous..Any thoughts?
    Homegoods which is owned my TJ Maxx, and Marshalls, does not have any signs up about prop 65, and there Homegoods store is filled with dinnerware, cookware, and everything. No signs..
    I never heard of prop 65 till about two years ago..

    There is so much controversy now about health. The food we eat, and on those websites there is allot of talk about prop 65, and what type of dinnerware passes the tests, of low iron, and cadmium.
    It is a concern to me, as there is so much pollution in the air, I think if we can help our selfs, every little bit helps.
    Although I think its insane to put vitamin A in the same category as street drugs!
    Who really can believe that!!

    As a teenager I can remember taking 25,000, or was it 50,000 iu of A everyday. I wanted my skin to be perfect , and it was..lol.

    My question was, what type of vitamin A to take now. Its confusing when there are so many different types of A??

    Thank you for your explanation about Prop 65,,
    Annie

    • Hi Annie – I prefer to take one of the fish-liver-derived Vitamin A. I take NOW Foods Vit A 25,000 IU a couple of times a week. If I eat liver, I skip a lot of my supplements for a few days.

  12. Hi Vin,
    Here is a easy to read Gov Website about Prop 65 :
    http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/background/p65plain.html

    It is not detailed, but I think we needed to make some changes in the chemicals that where being used in large factories that caused our air to be unhealthy, and what is in our food etc. for the health of our selfs.
    As far as our food goes, with the new labeling, we can now make better choices of we choose to.
    From what I know, allot of these laws have been carried over to other states..

    Take Care,
    Annie

    • Hi Annie – as with many of these laws, I think the original intent was good. But many of the ‘offending’ substances were added to Prop 65 list despite compelling scientific protests. Makes you wonder why.

  13. Hi Vin,
    Politicians do what they can make them big money, or bring them the votes..

    It looks like NOW Foods is one of the Vitamin A’s that is not synthetic , but it has Soy in it!
    I’m not one to buy anything with Soy, although I might now not a choice when it comes to A.
    Do you know how much Soy is in this?

    Thanks,
    Annie

    • Hi Annie – it has small amounts of soybean oil in it as a carrier. You might get a couple of mg of Omega-6 from it. One small McDonalds french fry serving will get you couple thousand mg of Omega-6 from soybean oil. If you eat out at a restaurant, virtually everything is cooked in soybean oil. You’d have to eat 6 months’ supply of Now Foods Vit A in one sitting to equal an order of french fries. Perspective.

  14. Vin,
    Thank you. Guess I’m buying , “NOW Foods A” lol..

    I don’t eat at McDonalds , or any fast foods..I’m too old for that stuff !!!…
    Although I go to the food court at Whole foods Venice /Santa Monica, and hopefully the better restaurants there that doesn’t use soy, Canola oil, corn oil, who knows!..
    I have never cooked so much in my life, now I know what is in my food..

    Thanks again,
    Annie

  15. Hi Vin,
    I just got the Innovix Labs Vitamin K2 supplement and I am wondering if my wife who has just got pregnant should take this supplement as well as it has a much higher dosage than the recommended.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Christian – the dosage is certainly not higher than recommended – even kids can tolerate the recommended dosage. Innovix K2 has 500 mcg of MK-4. In Japan, there is a Rx drug that’s 45,000 mcg per pill that’s used for osteoporosis. No known side effects even at 90X higher dosage. 100 mcg of MK-7 is pretty standard.

      However, I would suggest discussing the matter with her OB before starting any new supplements. In the meantime, I strongly recommend you read up on the effect of Vitamin K2 deficiency during pregnancy and youth: http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-K2-Calcium-Paradox-Little-Known-ebook/dp/B00D5TSMAS …although the book is outdated on our understanding of the importance of MK-4 during pregnancy. The pictures of the kids’ facial structure and teeth with and without Vitamins A and K2 is worth the price of the book.

  16. Hi Vin. I have the same concern as Christian. My OB recommended a normal Prenatal, but I know the dosages of the many supplements are not correctly, therefore I decided individual supplements with the correct dosages of Omega 3, Calcium, Magnesium etc…
    I am 5 weeks pregnant and would like to know if you recommend Innovix Labs Vitamin K2 1 capsule a day or would be better take a K2 MK7 supplement 80 mg daily? Did your wife take the Full Spectrum Vitamin K2? Thanks in advance. Laura.

    • Hi Laura – since you are pregnant and under active care of your OB, all decisions must be made after consulting with your OB.

      But the science says pregnancy weeks 5 to 12 are when the developing baby needs Vitamin K2 the most for teeth and facial bone development – good teeth and good looking face with wide jaws to accommodate all teeth. This does not mean that the baby does not need K2 later…but this is the time when they need K2 for the development process I mentioned. Both sets of teeth, the baby teeth AND ALSO the adult teeth are developing now. I know it is hard to believe, but the adult teeth are already there. Tiny but there.

      As I state in the article above, MK-7 is useless for the developing baby. MK-7 is good for adults concerned about calcified arteries, but developing babies need MK-4.

      The full spectrum K2 was not available when my wife was pregnant. But she ate a LOT of cheese and fermented foods and grass fed butter…I mean A LOT! It was her craving. She’d eat a big block of Gruyere cheese in just a few days, so there was no K2 deficiency. If she were pregnant now, I would give her MK-4 and MK-7 forms of K2 – without a doubt.

      • Thanks a lot Vin. Very helpful answer!!
        Hopefully the Full Spectrum K2 is not a high dosage for pregnancy.
        I am ordering right away through Amazon.

  17. Hello Vin

    I am interested in purchasing your K2 product. My Calcium Score is 271 and I have lesions in 2 Arteries. Need to start Vit K2.

    Where do you source your MK-7 and is it from Natto.

    Thank you

    • Hi Ricky – MK-7 is made in USA with geranium flower petals and acacia tree oil. So, no, it is not from Natto.

  18. Hi Vin,
    Is there any resources on the internet on upper safety limit for MK4 and K1 for pregnancy? Not able to find any meaningful information so far 🙁

    • Hi Chris – 45,000 mcg or 45 mg per day is the standard dose for the Japanese MK-4 osteoporosis drug. There are no reported adverse reactions. Given that most supplements have 500 to 1000 mcg of MK-4, you are operating at levels way, way below what’s used in Japan for osteoporosis. K2, in all forms, are not stored, so toxicity buildup is unlikely.

      K1 is a different matter altogether. I’d use caution with K1. Check with your doctor before you take K1, especially if you’re pregnant. Too much K1 before a C-section or any procedure that may involve some blood loss needs to be thoroughly discussed with your doctor.

  19. Hi Vin,
    I do Not agree with you about the 45 mg aday for K2-MK-4. and there Is Side Effects.
    I had side effect when I took about 6- 7 drops of Throne K2-Mk-4…Each drop is 5 mg.
    I was sick with flu symptoms for at least 3 hours, and my body ache.
    I have a friend that can only take One Drop of Throne MK-4, or she gets sick.
    It might depend on the weight !. I’m a slim petite women.
    It is true that K2- Mk4 does not have a long shelve life in the body. I have read, and was told to take it with meals, and some healthy fat with it so it will absorb.
    Although take it about 5 hr apart.

    Eating foods with Mk4, is different then taking a supplement.

    Take Care..

    • Hi Annie – eating MK-4 rich foods is certainly better than taking it as supplements – foods contain several other nutrients. And virtually all foods that contain MK-4 are very nutrient dense. Having said that, fatty goose liver is the best source of MK-4. Enough said. You can get some from butter, cream of cows that have been grazing on rapidly-growing green pastures…usually in spring and summer. Humans, like all animals, convert K1 to MK-4, but we are not very good at it. Cows and other grass eating animals are. Geese certainly are. Chickens are good at it, but our chickens hardly ever eat green, chlorophyl-lly stuff. Same for most mammals that we consume. This is usually why most of us are K2 deficient.

      As for side effects with 45 mg or 45,000 mcg of MK-4 per day. I completely accept that you have issues with that dosage. It’s quite possible that others may as well. I don’t have an issue with 45 mg. Some of my friends and family who’ve taken 45 mg do not have issues. I give my kids 5 drops a day and they don’t have issues. As I like to say, we’re all snowflakes. We’re different and react to things differently. I wish I could drink coffee after dinner! If I do I’m up all night. But others I know sleep like babies after a strong cup of coffee. Not fair. But back to 45 mg – there are countless Japanese who take this amount on a daily basis. Still, 45 mg per day is an unreasonably high dose. A person eating a perfect ancestral diet would NEVER have consumed that much in a day. 45 mg (45,000 mcg) is 90 times more than what our Innovix product provides in a pill – is artificially high. You’d be fine with 2-5 drops per day. BTW, each drop is 1 mg or 1000 mcg. So you’d need 45 drops to get to 45 mg. The mere inconvenience will keep many people from reaching that dose.

      Yes, it is true that MK-4 has a short half-life in blood plasma. That is NOT THE SAME THING as being excreted from the body. This just means that it is removed from the blood. It is quickly stored in the brain, pancreas, salivary glands, and arteries. It could be stored there for a long time. The half-life story (often used by marketers of MK-7 products to dismiss the importance of MK-4) refers to blood. It does not mean MK-4 isn’t working for you in others parts of the body where it is needed. We need to understand the nuance of what it means to have a short blood plasma half-life. Most people interpret it as ‘it only works for a short period.’ That’s wrong.

      Yes, taking fat-soluble nutrients like Vit K2, D3, A, and E complex with meals is always a good idea because of the presence of fat.

      • Hi Vin,
        Thank you for your reply,

        Foie Gras (Goose Liver) is outlawed in California..
        Here is the law..
        The California foie gras law, California S.B. 1520,[1] is a California State statute that prohibits the “force feed[ing of] a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s
        liver beyond normal size” (California Health and Safety Code § 25981) as well as the sale of products that are a result of this process (§ 25982).[2] This outlawed the traditional method of producing foie gras in California. The law was enacted in 2004 and went into effect on July 1, 2012.[3][4] On January 7, 2015, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson held that the portion of California’s law banning the sale of foie gras within the state (California Health and Safety Code § 25982) was preempted by the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act, and enjoined the California Attorney General from enforcing it.[5][6] That decision is currently on appeal.
        Truthfully I think the law is the right thing to do. If you have ever seen how they force feed Geese etc, only for our benefit its disgusting. There are other ways for us to get what we need. Btw I’am a meat eater, and use to eat the Paleo diet.

        That said, from one of your other emails, I stopped taking the Throne K2-MK4, and bought , Innovix Labs Full Spectrum, Healthy bones & arteries K2 Mk4 +
        Mk-7. One a day. I do not feel sick with that type.
        I thought on the throne k2-mk-4, One drop was 5mg !!!
        I also use Only Organic Grass fed butter, and 1000 day Gouda cheese. Eggs from chickens that are Really Free Ranged, Not store bought.. 5000D3, A, Omega 3, Black seed caps, and others for my bones etc.
        Take vits after I eat dinner with a little T.J’s crunchy Almond butter. I’m thinking it has fat in it !!
        Hope I’m doing the right thing for my bones & body.

        Thank you for your info,
        Take Care,
        Annie

  20. Hi Vin,

    Thanks so much for the informative blog and being responsive to comments. Learning a lot here already. My question is regard to K2 and cooking. Specifically cooking butter, cheese, and eggs. Does it reduce the K2 or would the cooked result match your table above?

    Thanks,
    jesse

    • Hi Jesse – K2 seems to be somewhat sensitive to heat…but it also depends on the type. MK-4 seems more easily degraded by heat, at least that’s what happens when we heat abuse our product to see what happens. For practical purposes, I don’t see it changing anything. I am not going to recommend that we switch to raw or less cooked foods for the sake of preserving a few micrograms of K2. I say just keep cooking. If you lose a few mcg of K2, that’s OK. As long as you eat the foods you mention above, you’re fine. And it’s a good thing that butter and cheese can be eaten raw.

  21. Quick followup, can you share your source on the K2 prenatally from weeks 5-12? I’d like to read more and googling has just turned up the most useless results, nothing “scholarly”. The interesting thing is that by week 5 most women aren’t even sure they are pregnant yet, so if this is true they’d basically need to shore up their nutrient status as soon as they begin trying to conceive.
    thanks again,
    jesse

    • Hi again, Jesse – I should clarify: human tooth development or odotogenesis happens in the first trimester of pregnancy and a little into the second. This is where I got the weeks 5-12 reference. There are plenty of solid references to read up on that. Tooth and jaw development require adequate K2. For ethical reasons, no one has conducted controlled studies with pregnant women – one group given K2 and the other not. So the thought sequence goes like this: tooth development occurs in weeks 5 thru 12. Menaquinones are required for tooth/jaw development. Therefore Menaquinones must be especially critical in weeks 5-12 of pregnancy. Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book is a good source of references too. That’s probably where my research started.

      As far as not knowing they’re pregnant – yes, this is an issue with Folate, DHA, choline too. Pregnancy has a ‘Look busy – the boss is coming!’ effect on people’s eating and lifestyle. The time to start eating, exercising, and sleeping is many months BEFORE conception. Poor epigenetics is a terrible thing to burden you children and grandchildren with.

  22. Thanks for the earlier responses. Final question here… Do you believe that our needs for vitK have increased since the agricultural revolution? If not, what do you believe paleo sources of K2 were prior to mass dairy consumption?

    • Hi Jesse – great question. No, our needs have not changed at all since the agricultural revolution or dairy consumption. Aged hard cheese and grass-fed butter just happen to be the ‘low-hanging fruits’ for K2. Our pre-agriculture diet naturally included organ meats (mostly liver) and other animal products from animals that ate grass. Most grass-eating animals convert K1 in plants to MK-4. Humans don’t seem very good at it. It’s a very good thing that we need very little K2. This is a microbial conversion in some species and in ours too. But it is possible we were better at it prior to widespread antibiotic use…but that’s just a guess. Our ability to convert tiny amounts of K1 to K2 and the occasional butter/cheese indulgence keeps us going in the absence of a true ancestral diet.

      • In trying to answer my own question I stumbled across a statement from Mark’s Daily Apple:

        “Incidentally, the body can “make” K2 from K1, but it’s not a 1:1 conversion. Though many sources put it at 10:1, the presence of fat (oh, lovely, lovable fat) enhances that conversion process. ”

        I couldn’t find any reference or verification of that. Perhaps paleo man had good conversion of vegetable K1 by eating sufficient fats. Perhaps they got great levels of K2 during certain seasons and hobbled through the off season etc…

        Regarding the conversion from K1 to K2 this could be of interest:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9468334

        Essentially saying that it’s not gut flora that do the conversion.

        Thanks for the great convo.
        jesse

        • Hi Jesse – I rarely find faults with Mark’s articles, but I’m not certain I agree with this statement. Fat in diet aids transport and possibly rate of absorption. But I can’t think of any way (read or imagined) that fat aids in the conversion of K1 to K2. That’s simply not my understanding of biochemistry.

          Like with several nutrients, ancestral humans who migrated away from the equator (a recent event) probably experienced seasonal K2 feasts and famines. Remember that for the vast majority of human existence, we were a tropical/subtropical species where we had access to K2 year round.

          There are a couple of genes that code for the reductase enzymes that cleave and cobble appropriate substrates into MK-4. So this explain why we all don’t have crumbly bones and completely calcified arteries. And why vegetarians manage to deliver babies with fully formed skulls. We still make tiny bits of MK-4 ourselves from menadione (?) and/or K1. I have no clue if this is a secondary adaptation to seasonal availability of K2.

          Bacteroides synthesize MK-10 and 11. Enterobacteria make MK-8, Vellionella make MK-7 and Eubacterium make MK-6. So may be rats don’t need these bugs to make MK-n, but we certainly seem to do. It is a bad idea to extrapolate rat studies to humans when it comes to K2 because there is huge inter-species difference in ability to synthesize K2. There is very little inefficiency in biology, so it makes you think why these bugs are capable of synthesizing MKs with differing chain lengths. We have NO CLUE what MK-8 or MK-6 does for the human body. Why are these bugs producing it and what have we done by consuming antibiotics/delivering by c-section/formula feeding/hyper-clean living?

          We might have come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go.

  23. Hi Vin,

    My wife is in the senventh week pregnancy. I want to know the best time that my wife can take full spectrum vitamin K2, how dosage ? Thanks

    • Hi Bao – check with her OB/GYN before you add anything new to her regimen. If she gets the OK, she may start taking it right away. Earlier the better and one pill per day should suffice.

  24. Hi Vin again,

    Thanks for your reply

    I see brand Life Extension Super K have vitamin K higher than brand Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 but price cheaper, should my wife take brand Life Extension ?

    Thanks

    • Hi Bao – I recommended Life Extension’s K2 product to friends and family for several years. I no longer take or recommend that product.

      We did some testing on that product and found that they are using a form of K2 that is not well absorbed. Please read the section above with the sub-heading ‘Why I stopped taking the most popular K2 supplement and formulated our own.’

  25. Hi Vin,

    Please, I want to know Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 is taken in the morning or evening is the best. Thanks

    • Hi Bao – please re-read the first half of this article. I explain all the issues raised in the article you link to. Many of the points listed in that article in misleading and misinformed. Sadly, the ‘facts’ quoted in that article are repeated marketing points of MK-7 sales companies. Since we sell both, I don’t have to be partial to either form, but to the published science.

      MK-7 and MK-4 are both equally synthetic. If you want natural Vitamin K2, then you need to eat fatty goose liver, natto, a lot of hard european cheeses, butter from grass fed cows, liver from grass-fed animals…if you’re OK doing that, you won’t need K2 supplements or most other supplements.

    • Hi Brendon – we don’t know that about MK-4 yet. We know how to make and analyze for the cis/trans forms of MK-7. Not quite there on MK-4.

    • Hi Brendon – just a follow up after checking with our quality control chemists. The MK-4 in our product tests as 99%+ trans. I don’t know if all MK-4 products on the market are all-trans. As of now, I’ve only tested competitors’ products for MK-7 cis/trans analysis. I can confirm that Nutrigold’s MK-7 is all-trans and meets all label claims. Dr. Best is all-trans MK-7 but they fell short on the amount of MK-7 (by a tiny bit). Life Extension…well, that was not pretty.

  26. Your article on vitamin K is outstanding. Thanks for all the prime references supporting your work. I will tune in here much more often.

    It seems that many bloggers (including Sarah Pope- the Healthy Home Economist) heartily endorse MK 7 and are not informed about the importance of MK-4. I also would suppose that producing MK-7 is a fairly inexpensive process. I too like the Thorne MK4-D3 product. I just put two drops on my hand and lick it off. That’s the easiest way not to lose any of the product.

    The FCLO was tested for vitamins D3, A and K2 by various entities, including Weston A Price Foundation that supports its sale, with several samples, and showed very low on D and K2. D testing by Covance and a Norwegian Lab. MK4 testing by Vita K Labs in Netherlands (Dr. Cees Vermeer’s lab) in two samplings showed almost no MK4 (microgram per 1/2 teaspoon =.006910. The testing showed much more MK4 in butter oil and emu oil. There was a tiny amount of MK-6-9 in the FCLO but I suppose that is the result of bacterial contamination as bacteria make all MK’s except for MK4. So I doubt you are getting any or a reliable amount of MK-4 in the FCLO, but the vitamin A is unopposed because there is no/little D. This is not a good situation. FCLO was also tested for CoQ 10. The label claimed it contained this in the past but the Covance testing showed none.

    • Hi Aurjan – relying on fermented cod liver oil for K2 is a mistake. If you’re going to consume stinky stuff, go for Natto! At least there’s tons of K2 in Natto.

      I get very annoyed when I read ‘expert bloggers’ and health authorities. They are not doing their homework. They are simply repeating the marketing message of the 3 or 4 companies that produce MK-7. Most of these companies are virulently anti-MK-4 because it is counter to their marketing narrative. I recently explained the need for MK-4 to our own MK-7 supplier – they had to listen to me because I am their customer! 🙂 – basically the facts I state above. They make MK-7 and believed that MK-4 was worthless. After my explanation, they had no response. But I am certain they are back out there trashing MK-4.

      Most of the new research is on MK-7 and is industry-sponsored. So bloggers get the impression that MK-7 is all that matters. This is dangerous.

      When I first began formulating this product a few years ago, it was just MK-7 and K1. Then I dropped K1 as I researched further. And added MK-4 after more research.

  27. Hi Vin,

    I have read some websites where they said mother’s diet did not affect much breast milk quality. Now my wife is taking Omegavia DHA 600, Full Spectrum Vitamin K, Choline, Calcium and Mutivitamin prenatal. Should my wife maintain to take these supplements in the nursing period because they said it was not important. Please let me know above supplements which one get into breast milk ? I want her to continue taking above products but if it doesn’t througth breast milk is worthless. Please give me some advises

    Thanks for your support

    • Hi binh – you should stop reading websites that say a mother’s diet does not affect breast milk quality! That’s nonsense! What a mother eats – food and supplements – will definitely affect the health of both the baby and the breast milk. This should not be a debate.

  28. Hi Vin,
    your k2 formulation would be perfect for me except for the bovine gelatin capsule… have you considered a vegetarian option ?

    • Hi Julian – there are no plans at this moment to change to a vegetarian option. Even if you are not a vegetarian, I see the appeal of a veggie softgel capsule…on paper. This is why we considered it. And then passed on it. Because when you start making it the capsule, you have to make the ‘gelatin’ with carageenan, corn starch, glycerin, sorbitol, and a long list of other ingredients that puts a people off. Not to mention a significant increase in cost.

  29. Hi Vin,

    Thank you very much for creating this product and for sharing this invaluable information with us all.

    It appears that your product is the best vitamin k2 product on the market, as far as my own research goes. Please consider selling this to UK based retailers because i live in the UK.

    I have some questions for you:

    1) Why have you used gelatin as an ingredient?

    2) Are the capsules vegetable capsules or gelatin capsules?

    3) How much of the vitamin k2, both mk4 and mk7, is actually bio-available, absorb-able, and usable by the consumer’s body?

    The following link below explain why vegetable capsules might be a better option than gelatin capsules

    Gelatin capsules. Gelatin capsules are absorbed twice as well as a tablet and do not require pressure or heat to capture the vital ingredients. Unfortunately, gelatin capsules utilize a toxic preservative and are made from animal body parts,such as hooves, that carry the risk of prion exposure from BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). In addition, they are twice as expensive as a tablet. Their absorption can be delayed when consumed with cold liquids.

    Vcaps (vegetable capsules). Vcaps are twice as well absorbed as a gelatin capsule, regardless of the temperature of the fluid consumed with the capsule. They have no riskof toxic prion exposure and contain no toxic preservatives. However, they do cost twice as much as a gelatin capsule.

    Source: http://www.totalhealthsecrets.com/ENGLISH/resources/articleDetail.php?articles_id=46

    Also vegetable capsules are absorbed twice as better as gelatin capsules so I would like to know how much of the different forms of vitamin k2 in your product are actually bioavailable, absorbable, and usable by the consumer’s body.

    I would like to hear from one of the founders and creators of the product, such as Vin Kutty regarding this.

    I know you have partially discussed this issue already on this blog but I’m interested on further details.

    I thank you in advance

    • Hi Prabdeep – thank you.

      Answers to your questions:

      1 and 2: Gelatin is the softgel capsule shell. It is of bovine origin. We could have made the softgels using ‘veggie gelatin’ but the ingredients that go into making it is rather ‘chemically’ and disturbing to many. Veggie ‘gelatin’ also makes for very hard shells with sharp creases, which makes for difficult swallowing. Vegetable ‘gelatin’ is also expensive.

      3. As far as we know, over 97% should be available for absorption because it is in the proper TRANS isomer form.

      The link provided for vegetable capsules is, in my opinion, poorly researched and not objective. When I design/formulate OmegaVia or InnovixLabs products, I’m really making them for me, my family, and friends – these are people I care about deeply. If there is any way I can improve the product, I’ll do it. Given current technology, I am thoroughly unconvinced that using a vegetable capsule is better. But that might change in a year or two.

  30. Thanks very much Vin.

    I am going to order the life extension super k as a temporary product until I can get your product.

    I appreciate your kind help in this matter.

    I will update you with my progress

    Best wishes and merry xmas and happy new year

  31. Hi Vin,

    Thanks for all the wonderful information you have been sharing and your responses to the questions. you are doing a service to the society.

    I have one question in regards to Vitamin K2 for kids, you have mentioned that both forms of K2 (MK-4,MK-7) are important as they serve different function in human body. Is there one product available in liquid that has covered both of these for kids?
    We live in northern hemisphere, west Coast of Canada where it is not easy to get some appreciable amount of sun exposure especially during winters/fall and spring.

    So we usually supplement with D3 5000IU for myself and my wife and 1000IU for kids every day. But since we do not eat levers so likely are not getting much Vitamin A (Retinol) so will be adding Now Vitamin A from fish lever oil on your recommendation, and K2. would it also be ok to give liquid Vitamin A to kids. if what should be the ratio between A and D..

    Was about to order Thorne K2 on your advise but it does not have any Mk-7 in it so not sure would we still order it or not. we do eat some KerryGold butter everyday.

    Will appreciate your response on it..

    Best Regards
    Jay

    • Hi Jay – I’m not aware of one liquid K2 product that provides both MK-4 and MK-7 forms of K2. I give my kids liquid MK-4 from Thorne and MK-7 from a company called Floz inc. Not sure if both are available in Canada. I also give them occasional liquid A drop from Seeking Health. The ratio of A to D that I give my kids is 5:1 but that isn’t a ‘carved in stone’ thing.

      All this is giving me great new product ideas – thanks! 🙂

  32. Hi Vin,

    Thank you much for your prompt response, I will look into the suggested products. But I think if we can have single product likely liquid for kids with 4,7,K1 lot of people like me can be benefited.

    Hopefully we will see some formulation from Innovix based on these lines in future.

    Best
    Jay

    • Hi Jay – if we ever make a liquid K2 product for kids (not promising anything), it will not have K1. See article above for reasons why. But may add some D3 and A. Adding Vit A to the formula will guarantee poor sales because people are bizarrely scared of it.

  33. Hi Vin,
    May I know how old are your kids when you started them on MK4 and MK7 directly (not via breast milk)?

    My 2 months old infant gets his MK4 from breast milk, via 1mg Thorne drops that mommy takes daily. I started him on D3 (400IU) and probiotics since he is one month old but hesistant on MK4 as I couldn’t find any articles on upper limit for infants.

    Would be very grateful if you can share your childrens’ regime.

    Our doctors have not heard of vitamin K2 (or Choline for that matter).

    • Hi Chris – I’ve been giving them low doses of K2 since just before they could walk. They now simply chew the InnovixLabs K2 softgel a couple of times a week. Or 7-8 drops of the Thorne liquid MK-4.

      If mom has sufficient MK-4, the infant should be fine. I would not supplement a 2 month old with K2.

      • Hi Vin,
        Thanks so much for your reply.

        Just to check which version of Thorne did you use for your children? K2 or D/K2? The K2 has 1 mg of MK-4 per drop where as D/K2 has 100mcg per drop (but also has 500IU D3 per drop).

        What is your view on feeding DHA directly to infants instead of via breast milk? Couple of brands including Nordics has liquid DHA/EPA for babies. I’m wary of other ingredients in the bottle. Seems safer to have mommy filters them before passing the DHA to junior via breast milk. The downside is we have no clue how much DHA he is getting via breast milk though mommy is taking 1g DHA daily.

        • Chris – I’ve used the Thorne product that has 1000 mcg MK-4 per drop.

          As long as the baby is breast feeding, then have mommy take the DHA. 1 gram per day is good enough. Enough of it will get passed onto to baby.

  34. Hi Vin,
    I have search many information about K2-MK7 a lot as I have serve allergy to soy.As I have serve psoriasis, I would like to have a try for it with Vitamin D3 and magnesium chloride.However, I found that most form of K2-MK7 is the fermentation of soy i.e natto. My psoriasis become worse after I ate natto.So I decide to find the another source of K2-mk7. Have you heard Ortho Molecular Product Liquid Vitamin D3 with K2 this product? I found it on the internet.It states that its K2-MK7 is not from natto. It is come from a company called Kappa Bioscience AS.They name it call k2vital.Do you think it is the safe ingredient for supplement?I am so allergic to soy so I hope it could be the alternative.
    Also,I would like to ask the amount of dosage K2-MK7,Vitamin D3 and magnesium should I take.I am not familar with these supplements.I really hope you could give me some advice to me.Many Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • HI Carrie – try an anti-inflammatory diet for psoriasis, along with Omega-3 and Curcumin to reduce inflammation. Allergy to soy is the least of your problems.

      You can get K2 from cheese, chicken and eggs. If not, there are several K2 products without soy. Our InnovixLabs offers a soy free one on Amazon.com There is a liquid MK-4 item from Thorne. K2Vital is good.

      Aim for 100 to 200 mcg of MK-7 per day. D3 dosage depends on how much sun you get, how much you already have in your body and your diet. But given that, most people need abotu 4000 to 5000 IU per day. You’ll need 400 to 600 mg of Magnesium per day, combined from foods and supplements. A little more if OK. Pass on Magnesium chloride and mag oxide – go with citrate, glycinate, malate, and other organic forms.

  35. Hi Vin
    You made the statement that persons on a blood thinner ( warfarin) should not be taking k2 because warfarin will make k2 ineffective same as k1. Warfarin does not make k1 ineffective or at least totally ineffective. Depending on the dosage some k1 is getting through or you would bleed to death. for example my INR is 2.0 to 3.0. I maintain this INR with 5 mg tablet once per day I can increase my INR to 5.0 to 6.0 and risk severe bleeding. I maintain a consistent diet of green leafy vegetables. If I eat more my INR drops and my dose increases. If I eat less my INR goes up and my dose decreases. I can eat as much as I want of liver, grass fed butter and eggs as these have no effect on my INR. Bottom line as I see it is if this food has no effect on my INR then my INR has no effect on the food.
    A person on Warfarin has less k1 to convert to k2 which would lead to more calification in the arteries which has been pretty much been established.

    I have been taking your formula for the past two months. My INR has not changed. My dosage of Warfarin has remained exactly the same as before (5 mgs).
    I have recently discovered that I have a moderate valve blockage caused mainly by calcium. The doctor measured the opening in square centimeters. I am due for an appointment in nine months. This will be the real test for k2 since we can see if the opening remains the same or increases or decreases. Normally the opening is expected to decrease by .1 centimeter per year unless on a blood thinner such as warfarin which of course makes it worse.

    I have researched k2 on a number of websites and have selected your product because it makes the best argument for being the best. This is a new science and there is a lot of unknowns. I go along with what now makes the most sense.

    • Hi Martin – the reason why we state that people on blood thinners should/not take K2 is because anyone taking Warfarin has an existing doctor-patient relationship. And we’d prefer to shift that discussion between you and your doctor for several reasons, mostly related to regulatory and legal limitations.

      K1 is generally believed to influence INR more than K2. This could be why you’re not noticing much change in your INR with the consumption of K2 heavy foods or supplements. If that is the case, let’s hope your next appointment in 9 months gives you some good news.

  36. Many thanks for that fantastic info regarding K2.
    I have osteoporosis and just recovering from Polymyalgia Rheumatica and now, thankfully, on low dose of steroid medication (2mg prednisolone)
    Refuse the usual Fossimax etc treatments for osteoporosis and prefer the natural way
    Diet as natural as possible……… Lots of Cheese..Brie and cheddar, grass fed butter and eggs,some poultry and fish and plenty veg and fruit. Maybe Jarleberg would be better.
    Try to walk etc for bone density.

    Have been taking K2 Doctor’s Best 45mcg. But considering Nutrigold …… however, nervous of going on higher dose ? Could I start by using 100mcg alternate days ??
    Any other advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Hilary

    • Hi Hilary – unlike the other fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, and E, Vitamin K2 does not get stored or build up in the body. So you have no risk of overdosing. 45 mcg is too low, especially for someone with bone issues. I take 100 mcg or 200 mcg of MK-7 and DO NOT forget MK-4. Your cheese consumption will take care of MK-8 and 9, so no worries there. You need to look at K2 as a complex. Do not take JUST MK-7. If you already have a bottle of the Nutrigold MK-7 (good company and good people!) then get a bottle of the Thorne MK-4, which you can (and should!) add to your MK-7 routine.

      Cook your meat ‘bone-in’ for more calcium. Make sure your D3 levels are optimal and get at least 400 mg of Magnesium via supplements every day. Walk a lot. Then add resistance exercise and possibly yoga.

  37. Hi Vin,
    My 77 year mom, has 5 stents, and is on Plavic , one blood vessel in neck completely clog, other 50%. My question is , is it safe to give her the larger dose of K4/K7, or start off with a smaller one. no others,that offer K4 at all in lower dose, and from what I understand lower is not effective…is this true…..???

    VITAMIN K2 (by InnovixLabs) seems Great, is it too much for her ?

    Thanks for your time. Bob.k

    • Hi Bob – before you do anything, check with her doctor. If the doctors is fine with her taking K2, then one or two pills daily of the InnovixLabs K2 should be fine. It’s virtually impossible to overdose of K2 since it is not stored in the body.

  38. Hi Vin,

    Very good read, thank you. In some cases you even suggest the Thorne mk-4 drops although having your own stuff to sell. Stand up sh*t dude 😉
    I do think “Fish Oil Articles” could be “Blog” or something instead. More people could easily benefit from the articles not only on fish oil but never find them..

  39. Hi Vin

    Thanks for your exceptionally informative post. Very helpful.

    In your response to Brendon (11 Nov 2015) you write

    “just a follow up after checking with our quality control chemists. The MK-4 in our product tests as 99%+ trans. I don’t know if all MK-4 products on the market are all-trans.”

    Two questions if I may. Your response to Brendon suggests that there are two isomers of MK-4: cis and trans. Is that the case? If so, then given that you recommend Thorne’s MK-4 product, have you confirmed that – like your product – it’s 99%+ trans?

    Many thanks

    Richard

    • Hi Richard – I have not tested the Thorne item to see if it is also mostly in the trans form. Now that you bring it up, I am curious. You may be able to get a quick answer from their customer service people.

      • My note to Thorne.

        “Hi I’ve read that the vitamin K2 subtype MK-7 can be either cis or trans. I’m wondering if MK-4 can also be either cis or trans. If so, is the MK4 in Thorne products trans, cis or a mixture of the two? Many thanks Richard Starkey”

        Thorne’s reply.

        “Hello Richard:
        Thank you for your email.
        Our Vitamin K2 is MK4 which is trans.
        I hope this information is helpful.”

        So there you have it!

  40. Hello,
    I have just been put on Vascepa for my cholesterol, the triglycerides mainly. I am investigating alternatives because I can’t afford Vascepa. Would your product bring about similar if not the same results as say a Vascepa or Nordic Natural Fish Oil. I am new to all of this information. I appreciate your information and counsel.
    Thank you,
    Molly McFadden

    • Hi Molly – our product is similar to Nordic Naturals, but it is more concentrated. You may also want to look at OmegaVia EPA 500, which is an EPA-only formula. Vascepa is a drug. OmegaVia is a supplement. They are not the same – you need to discuss this openly with your doctor.

  41. Hi Vin what brand of K2 Mk4 recommend and for my wife we trying to conceived. She is taking prenatal nordic Dha and Vitamin D5,000 with K2 MK7 90 mpg from Michael Neuropathic Supplement. (2 pills) because she tested her Vitamin D level two month ago and it was 24. Taking that supplest raised her level to 48. She would need to add MK4 or just eat grass feed butter, cheese, chicken liver. How much she should eat that everyday… Im worry about her nauseas on the first trimestre. So don’t know she will handle it that or its better to take a supplement. What should be the right dosage MK4. Thanks

    • Hi Luis – glad that she is at least taking MK-7. Have her talk to her OB/GYN about taking MK-4. Thorne’s MK-4 drops are good. Or our sister company makes an MK-4 and MK-7 blend under the InnovixLabs brand. Aim for 500 to 1000 mcg of MK-4 per day.

  42. Thank for answer. I have another wuestion can be silly I would like to know there is not way to get overdose with vitamin K supplements. 500-1000mcg looks like a huge dose If I compared with one of my wofe prenatal that has 50 and Vitamin d3 combo with K mk7 thas has 90mcg. Im worry that my wife take so much and cause anybirth defect to our future baby. Thanks

    • Hi Luis – this is why I asked you to check with her OB/GYN. This is a medical decision since your wife is pregnant. It is not a general health/diet question. Medical questions need to addressed by your physician.

      Outside of pregnancy, generally, the dosage for MK-4 is 5 to 10X that of MK-7. Neither forms of K2 stay in the body for very long. MK-4 only stays in the serum for a couple of hours. MK-7 for a couple of days. So an overdose due to long term accumulation (like you can have with many other nutrients) is not physiologically likely.

      • Hello Vin,
        Impressive analisys. Im using Vitabay mk7 drops but read that k2 is light sensitive and the bottle is transparent. Should i wrap the bottle in alu minium foil or better go for pills ? Thank you.
        Best regards,
        Bennie

        • Hi Bennie – yes, K2 is light sensitive. I would discard the bottle you have and use a product that has both colored pill/bottle to block light.

          • Hello Vin,
            Thank you for answering my question. That was very helpful. I would take InnovixLabs if it was available in the Netherlands, but found an alternative.
            Best regards,
            Bennie

  43. Hello Vin,
    I so appreciate your information on vit k2! My 22 year old son is severely disabled and is fed directly into the stomach with a feeding tube. He has severe osteoporosis but on the whole is very healthy. Two years ago I figured out how to puree food and give this through his feeding tube rather than formula. I would really like to give him your Full Spectrum Vit K2 capsules but need to know if I can pierce them with a needle perhaps and either squeeze the capsule contents into his mouth or directly into the syringe I use to administer his food. I think I’d prefer to squeeze it into the syringe but what would you suggest? How much should I give him with his severe osteoporosis? Thank-you very much!

    • Hi Elsha – if his doctor is OK with this plan, then, yes, you may pierce it and give to him mixed with this food. There may be some squirting or spilling of the capsule content during the process since the contents of the pill may be under some pressure.

  44. His doctor is fine with most everything I do but I’m thinking now he would need high dose of the MK4 for the osteoporosis, correct? In the posts I’ve also been reading about the Thorne MK4. Would you recommend adding this on to your product? How much MK4 and MK7 should I shoot for with his osteoporosis? I don’t think my doctor can possibly guide me in this area.

    • Hi Elsha – I dont think you will need more MK-4 than what’s in one of our capsules. But, there is no harm in adding a little more MK-4 using the Thorne product.

  45. Thank you for all this information on K2. I found this site since I have been researching bone health for my 16 year old daughter who stopped menstruating over a year ago. She is very healthy, but is very athletic (swims and runs track) and has little body fat. We are mostly vegetarian, but consume some fish. According to our doctors, the concern about not menstruating is that without enough estrogen in her body she will not build up adequate bone strength during these crucial years. I am hoping that adding K2 to her regimen will help bring calcium to her bones. What I would like to know is if K2 will help her in the absence of adequate estrogen? I am very concerned about her developing early onset osteoperosis. She does eat dairy and eggs, both organic and from pasture raised animals as much is possible, she also supplements with vitamin D3. She has also been supplementing with calcium, but after researching more about calcium supplements, I’m no longer sure this is the way to go. I could really use some good advice on the best supplements for my daughter to build her bone strength and hopefully avoid osteoperosis in the future. Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Jennifer – ‘little body fat and runs track’ are hints at what might be unbalanced. How much healthy fats does she consume? Think fish oil, flax oil, butter, olive oil, and even coconut oil. If it is low, then she needs to focus on getting a lot more of all of the above. When I hear ‘vegetarian,’ I immediately get concerned because my mind first goes to: I wonder if they are eating mostly grains with very little fat. That’d be the wrong way to do vegetarian. The right way is with mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lentils. Even better if you can add fish and eggs to vegetables. Fermented dairy may be OK for some people too. Be very generous with fish, eggs, and the fats mentioned above. Fats control an awful lot of hormone activity.

      Supplements should be an afterthought. Fix the diet first.

  46. I appreciate this article and blog, I just recently started taking the Thorne product. I will be looking into your product when finished with this one. My question is off topic but I would love to hear your response. I am a 57 year old woman and I have heard varying information regarding Calcium supplements over the years. Some say to take 1,500mg of Calcium per day, others say that amount will cause more harm than good because it can actually cause plaque build up in the arteries. Can you please enlighten me on this topic?

    • Hi Brenda – I don’t think you need to take 1500 mg of Calcium daily if: 1) you have a good diet (whole foods with fish/meat cooked bone-in, veggies, nuts, eggs, fruits) and 2) if you consume enough magnesium and K2 and 3) get enough D3 from sunlight and/or supplements. 1500 mg daily may be OK if have just been diagnosed with osteoporosis, but you should split it into two doses AND you take the other cofactors (Magnesium, D3, K2 etc.) along with the calcium. Otherwise, I see no reason for anyone to supplement more than 500 or 600 mg at a time.

  47. Hello, I am a bit late for this thread but would appreciate your insights.
    I have tried mk 7 form of vitamin k2, both in 45 and 90 Mcg dosages. I found myself with accelerated heartbeat and a feeling of extreme raciness. I do take Valsartan 320 for blood pressure and Synthroid for Hashimotos and check levels regularly.
    Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Laura – I usually don’t tell people to supplement with calcium unless their diet is awful. In which case, I recommend 500-600 mg of Calcium in citrate form. I prefer to take all the other ‘supportive’ nutrients to better utilize the calcium that may already be present in the diet – magnesium, D3, K2 etc. Aim for 400 mg of Magnesium daily, preferably from one of the better absorbed forms like glycinate and malate. Our sister company, InnovixLabs, makes one: http://innovixlabs.com/products/advanced-magnesium/

  48. Hy ,
    Thanks you for the great article.
    About the “CIS” vs “TRANS” version. Is this only valid for the MK7 or is it also the case for MK4 ??

      • Thanks Vin,
        I also send a mail to “Now Foods” to ask them how and where their MK4 and MK7 are produced and if they ever tested the % Trans contents.
        Their answer is “All-trans Vitamin K-2 ( menaquinone-4) is produced from natural fermentation from yeast here in USA”….
        I read everywhere that MK4 is synthetic as it is only “naturally” found in animals..
        I can nowhere find that MK4 can be made by yeast fermentation.
        So the fact they say via yeast fermentation sounds strange…
        I also asked if they are “Bioidentical” and they say “The term “bio-identical” typically applies to hormones, not vitamins. Obviously both are natural forms of vitamin K-2″.
        This is also contradicting things I read a few places.
        I guess the reply is from a representative who does not have the lab background.
        Any thoughts..
        Regards,
        Christian

        • Hi Christian – yes, I have several thoughts, but this is what I can say: sorting through information you get from companies, especially if it is scientific information, can be difficult and/or confusing. The individual within the company responding to your query also makes a difference.

  49. You seem to emphasize the importance of MK-4 over MK-7 so why does it matter that the original formula you were taking was not 100% trans? Even if it was 100% trans doesn’t it still need proper co-factors such as A, D, Mg, in order to be properly absorbed? What about MK-4? Is there no cis- / trans- concern there?

    • Hi Jerry – both MK-4 and MK-7 need to be in the trans form.

      I don’t know if the Life Extension item uses trans MK-4. But I know that when we tested, Life Extension was not using all-trans MK-7. I emphasize the importance of MK-4 because most people (and companies selling K2) seem to think that MK-7 is all that is required – and that is false. They are distinct molecules with different purposes and effects, as the article above states. You need both, and in the trans form. There are other MK types that we need but they are not available as supplements, but only in fermented foods and some animal fats.

      Vitamin K2 does not need co-factors like D3, magnesium, and A for absorption. Calcium does.

  50. What you have written about has been a nagging question to me for the last 4 years. So good job that youtook time to research this question. Virtually no websites touch upon these issues. They just say MK7 is the best with reason that it stays in blood serum. That has never stood well with me. So many things can’t be measured from blood serum.

    I am male near age 60. The most important health issue for old people is calcification. That is why most end up dying.

    The reason I amusing K2 is for removing calcification. I don’t see any research saying MK7 will help with removing calfication but only MK4.

    I remember reading an anecdote from a 90 year old gentlemen who took MK7 for years to protect his heart from calcification. He seemed very health conscious. He ended up having heart valve surgery and wondered why MK7 did not protect him from calcificatioon.

    I take 2000 IU D3 and 3000 IU cod liver oil. Borax weekly for boron. I minimize calcium to no more than 200mg. I take 1000mg of original milk of magnesia. I will vary butyric acid with calcium, potassium and salt forms. I want calcium deposits to get used. I keep calcium supplements to 100mg or less a day. Also take Cordiart / Pomegranate for any endothelian dysfunction.

    I am taking the Relentless brand with 15mg / 60mcg MK4 / MK7 twice a day to remove calcification from body. If I was younger, I would opt for lower dose like your brand. Does this seem reasonable to you and any info about info you have come across regarding that brand.

    • Hi Prioris – thank you. Serum half-life is a terrible way to measure the utility of many nutrients and substances. MK-7 has serious marketing forces behind it. MK-4 does not. This is part (or most) of the problem.

      Having said that, we are embarking on a new adventure with many people supplementing never-before-seen-in-humans levels of MK-7. We might get lucky and find out that super-high MK-7 may actually REVERSE established calcification. We can’t say that yet, but I hope it works out that way. Until then, it is wise to take MK-4 along with your MK-7.

      Your plan sounds original and informed. However, calcium is not the enemy. You still need it to function. Whether this protocol works can only be determined with a coronary calcium scan or the like. Work with your doctor on all this. Good luck and keep us posted.

  51. I’ve been taking a K2 supplement from GNC that is 100mcg MK7. Not much I know, but had to get started with something.

    The first time I took it I had terrible stomach distress which took several days to get over. So the next time I took a dose, thinking perhaps the pill was the problem and not the contents, I sliced it and ingested only the contents, and not the whole pill. Voila, no distress! But then I began to wonder if K2 tolerates stomach acid, and if I was getting the whole benefit, needing the pill and not only the contents.

    Anyway, I look forward to trying your product as it is obviously a better supplement. Hopefully the whole pill goes down with no problems.

    Thanks for all the great information.

    Joe

    • Hi Joe – if the contents of the pill posed no issues, then the whole pill should not because the capsules shell is just easily-digested gelatin. If you are willing to try the GNC product a couple of more times with a week break in between, and you get the same digestive distress, then you may conclude with more certainty that there is a problem.

      Stomach acid does not bother K2 much.

  52. Thanks a lot for this in-depth article about K2. I suffer from longtime crohns in my ileum and I prefer to take vitamins in drops for that reason.

    I´m currently very low in Vitamin D and I know the co-factors are Vitamin K2, boron. However I was planing on ordering this http://www.orthomolecularproducts.com/liquid-vitamin-d3-with-k2/

    And it says it contains K2 in mk7, so my question is really, should I complete the vitamins with https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FGWDTK/ which contains MK4 instead?

    Thanks

  53. Is there any word or update on any differences between MK-4 and MK-7 with respect to effect on INR? For the time being at least, I’m on warfarin; had begun taking a small dose (45mcg /day) of MK-7 with no apparent effect on INR. Given the arterial calcification implications of warfarin, I’d like to increase K2 up to whatever point it becomes counterproductive (i.e. begins lowering INR/ requiring higher dose of warfarin). A credentialed friend told me that she’d found research that said or suggested MK-4 doesn’t affect clotting at all; but thus far I haven’t found any supporting documentation. The only research I’ve seen thus far makes clear that at some level, K2-MK7 does lower INR; but nothing specific about MK-4.
    What do you know about this?

    • Hi Roger – no update. What we know is that K1 is what’s mostly responsible for any interference with blood thinners. There is a relatively minor effect from MK-7 and less from MK-4. The non-profit Vitamin K2 Foundation believes that there is an ideal dosage of MK-7 that could allow both blood thinners and K2 to perform their functions with only a little interference. They hint at a dosage of 50 micrograms per day or less to do this. If you are on a blood thinner, you should talk to your doctor about how to handle this rather than go about it yourself. More here: http://vitamink2.org/k2-pedia/myths-facts/

  54. Hi Vin,

    I understand the K2 (M4-M7) capsules are made of bovine. Is the bovine organic, halal or kosher? Also, if I purchase your product, K2 should I continue to take my regimen of Calcium Citrate 500 mg & Chelated Magnesium 650? Since you are an expert on the Omega’s, what do you think about Norwegian Gold Omega 3’s, 2080 mg daily?

    • Hi Kimmy – yes, the capsule shell is made with halal/kosher bovine gelatin. It is not organic. K2, Magnesium, and D3 help your calcium get absorbed properly and deposited into your bones, so yes, you will still need calcium and magnesium if your diet is low in these two minerals.

      Norwegian Gold Omega-3 good. The ‘2080 mg’ is for two pills. So each pill has 1040 mg of Omega-3. I formulated OmegaVia to be better than that item. OmegaVia has more Omega-3 at a lower cost. 🙂

      • Hi Vin,

        Thanks for your response. I will try your brand after I finish what I have. I purchased your K2 M4-M7and took my first dose today. After taking it, I remembered about someone’s post about heart palpitation’s after taking M7. They were advised to switch to M4. My worry is that your K2 has M4 and M7. Has anyone experienced heart palpitations from your combination? If so, what is your advice? I don’t like wasting money!

        • Hi Kimmy – if you are not happy with the product, for whatever reason, we will gladly return your purchase price. So put that worry aside. As for heart palpitations, this is not a scientifically documented side effect of MK-7 although there are a couple of people who insist otherwise. If/when some people experience this side effect, it is very rare, temporary and goes away in a day or so. We sell tens of thousands of this product and have received complaints about palpitations from a couple of customers. Note that K2 is not stored in the body for long periods of time, so lingering side effects are unlikely.

  55. Hi Vin,
    I meant to ask what’s the greatest difference between your Curcumin vs. Longvida Optimized Curcumin? I purchased the Longvida in hopes of getting past the side affects of Curcumin. Instead, I had the worst stomach discomfort ever! I took it with my most fattiest meal, sprinkled pepper, and ate bread after the discomfort started. By late night, thought I was going to have a heart attack, the heart burn was bad!

    • Hi Kimmy – both our (C3 Reduct) form and Longvida are second-generation of Curcumin extracts. Both are well-absorbed. Our C3 Reduct is a ‘metabolite’ of Curcumin. In other words, it is what your body would convert Curcumin to. This conversion can be difficult, so taking a pre-converted form bypasses some of the natural conversion bottlnecks. Longvida is a form that has been studied for absorption into the brain. For what it’s worth, until our InnovixLabs Curcumin was manufactured, I used to take Longvida. So I like both.
      Curcumin typically does not have major adverse effects. These days, there are literally millions of people taking both forms without issues – talk to your doctor about this.

  56. Great article with tons of helpful & informative info! After reading the article I decided & was excited to purchase the supplement you recommend… until I read the list of ingredients & saw that it has caramel color added which is a known carcinogen. I don’t understand why anyone would add caramel color to a product, particularly a product designed to improve health.

    • Hi Dana – the controversy over caramel color is related to a different type of caramel color (there are several types) and even that controversy is somewhat unfounded. Given the reductive nature of mass media science reporting, many people now falsely believe all caramel colors are harmful. That is not true.

      Here is why: there are two studies on a specific type of caramel color called 4-methylimidazole. This compound is also found naturally in coffee, beer and molasses. Both studies were on mice, not humans. One of those studies found that it increases the likelihood of carcinogenicity at very high doses. The second study found no such evidence. We have no data on what this compound does to humans. Let’s be conservative and assume it is not good for humans either. This type of caramel color is added to colas. You’d have to drink 2900 cans of cola every day for 70 years to equal the dose of caramel color used in that mice study. Both the US FDA and the European Food Safety Authority, after conducting their own independent safety reviews, concluded that there is no safety risk.

      But all this is somewhat irrelevant because this form of caramel color is not used by the supplement industry for making capsule shells.

      Why do we used a dark capsule for this product? To protect it from light. K2 is light sensitive and the amber bottle alone is insufficient in protecting it from light degradation.

  57. I am confused. I wanted to use Vitamin K2, but I am on Coumadin/Warfarin for heart problems caused by a heart attack I had 16 years ago. I was told that Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 would not negatively affect my Warfarin therapy like Vitamin K1. I was about to order Full Spectrum Vitamin K2, but now I don’t know what to do. I really want the benefits of K2, but need to use Warfarin.

    Please help me out here. Thank you very much.

    • Hi David – K1 is what interferes with blood thinning medications. K2 is less interfering. But there is minor effect by K2 on blood thinning meds. It is worth noting that Warfarin works by keeping you in constant state of K1 and K2 deficiency. You may have thinner blood, but you may also increase arterial calcification with the medically-induced Vitamin K deficiency. There are risks and benefits to taking these medications. There are also newer-generation anti-coagulants that work without interfering with Vitamin K2 – drugs like Xarelto. This is not medical advice. I am neither qualified not authorized to give you medical advice, so this decision must be made with your doctor.

  58. Thank you for this in depth article on K2. It is by far the best one explaining the difference between MK-4 and MK-7.

    I started taking D3 5000iu with K2 MK-7 90mcg and within a few days I got chest pains and my gallbladder started acting up as well. The gallbladder I can deal with but these chest pains are not good.

    My husband ordered your full spectrum K2 from Amazon last night. I am a little afraid to try it considering I am having these chest pains. Doing a google search I found some blogs where people were experiencing chest pains after taking MK-7, (NOT the MK-4).

    I really need the K2 because my hair analysis shows I have calcium free floating in my blood and soft tissues. I have DDD and gout, had cataracts at age 45. All of this I believe is do to too much calcium free floating and not getting into my bones where I need so desperately.

    Is this a common issue, chest pains? What is happening here? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Shelley – chest pain or palpitations are not formally documented side effects for MK-4 or MK-7 forms of K2. However, there are a couple of reports of this from people taking large doses of MK-7. This issue is reported by less than 1% of consumers. If you are concerned, please work with your doctor. And my recommendation would be to start small – take one pill and see how you react. Let 3-4 days pass and then take another pill to see what happens. K2 is not stored in the body, so there is no risk of accumulation or toxicity. Both forms of K2 will eventually be metabolized completely out of your body.

      Getting your K2 from foods is always the best option, but it may require you to get out of your dietary comfort zone. More here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/2016/12/09/the-ultimate-vitamin-k2-resource/

      • Hi Vin,

        Thank you so much for your reply.

        It is now a week later after having severe chest pains and I am having small less dominate and less frequent chest pains now. I am just super sensitive to EVERYTHING! Totally fustrating.

        I will definatly take your advice and try one of your full spectrum K2’s every 4th day after these chest pains completely go away. It gets better everyday, but I am a slow metabolizer.

        Lara Pizzorno author of “Your Bones” states that about 1/3 of the population isn’t able to process MK7. Just my luck, I am one of them. She says to use the MK4 form because those who are sensitive to MK 7 do better with MK4. So I am hopeful. This seems to be true on some blogs about K2 MK7. There are a few people who have side effects with MK7 but seem to do fine with the MK4. Even though there’s no hard evidence or clinical trials to prove this there seems to be some antidotal evidence to this.

        What I am trying to understand is why does it affect some of us this way? Mainly heart issues. If there’s any clinical trials about the side effects on the MK 7, I should be one of the test subjects if it doesn’t give me a heart attack!

        Thanks for the link to Masterjohn’s website but I have read it 3 times and truly appreciated the information!

        • Hi Shelley – have you talked to your doctor about your chest pain? If you haven’t, I’d do that right away. There is a reason why ER wards take you in right away if you tell them you have chest pain!

          I don’t have anything to rest the ‘Your Bones’ claim on. Frankly, I am peeved about people making unsubstantiated claims. I am sure there are some people who have issues processing MK-7, but I’d be shocked if 1/3 of all people are unable to process MK-7. The ‘one-third’ figure is baseless and bogus. MK-7 is not the most abundant form of K2 in ancestral human diet. That title goes to MK-4. But we do consume MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9 in small quantities in a lot of our foods. Some MK-7 is a small but natural part of human diet.

          Most people in eastern Japan consume relatively large quantities of MK-7 on a daily basis from Natto. You can get 1000 micrograms (10X what you find in most supplements) from just 100 grams of Natto. People outside of Tokyo eat an average of 80 grams of Natto per day. Easy to do that math. They consume a LOT more than what’s found in most supplements. http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(00)00554-2/fulltext

          Clinical doses in well-designed studies are now approaching 200 micrograms. Why aren’t a third of people in eastern Japan struggling with this problem? Why aren’t a third of all patients in clinical studies not struggling with this problem?

          Once these notions are set in motion on the internet, it’s hard to rectify with reason and science.

          Having said all that, I still strongly believe that we should be more focused on MK-4. The marketing behind MK-7 by its manufacturers is self-serving as I’ve noted in the piece above.

          My advice for you is to get your K2 from foods or possibly MK-4-only supplements, with a strong preference for food over supplements.

  59. Hi Vin,

    I agree that the claim made suggesting that 30% of people can’t tolerate K2-MK7 is way too high. After reading the reviews on Amazon with different brands of just K2-MK7 the number of people who can’t tolerate is more like 1%. Most of them complaining of heart issues.

    On Wednesday May 17th, I went to our large university hospital ER. My chest pains were just not going away and my husband was getting concerned. I felt they weren’t as severe as the week before but still they were there. Within a ½ hour of walking in they had done an EKG, a chest x-ray and drew blood. Eight hours later I finally got to see a doctor.

    The bottom line, they had no CLUE as to what was going on with me even though I clearly stated I had started taking K2-MK7 on May 7th. Chest pains started 3 days later on the 10th. One medic was confused and thought I was taking potassium (K) and I had to educate him on vitamin K2! All of the tests they did on me came out negative.

    After being at the hospital for 9 hours I went home with nothing, no information, no suggestions of what to do but to see my primary. Well, the good news is I had made an appointment back in February to see my primary and that appointment is next week. When you are on Obamacare with Medicaid in my city it takes 4 months to get in to see your doctor this is the norm here.

    I eventually found something to stop the chest pains it was P-5-P with the InnovixLabs Advanced Mg. Now, I am not saying this will work for anyone else. However, anyone reading this in the future who is looking for what had worked for my symptoms/reaction to MK7 might find this beneficial. It is long and you have been warned.

    May 7th started K2-MK7 with D3 by Zhou
    May 10th serve chest pains shooting across my chest from right to left. It felt electrical not like a muscle cramp.
    May 11th or 12th received my order of InnovixLabs of Advanced Magnesium. I love this stuff, no stomach issues. I took one in the am and one in the pm to start since I am so sensitive to everything. Continuing to take it daily.
    May 17 chest pains never went away even with taking the Mg. They were less severe by the 14th but still there. I also had shortness of breath, gout flare ups and pains in my back and arms, and leg cramps too. I felt like a Mack truck hit me, no energy and I felt like crap. Husband insisted I go to the ER and we now know that was a waste of time!
    May 18th morning and I am still feeling awful, I did some more research on K2 and found that, “…about 25% of the population have, as part of their genetic inheritance, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that results in their being unable to convert vitamin B6 into its active form, which is called pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P). And P-5-P is what gets magnesium into our cells.” https://www.inspire.com/groups/national-osteoporosis-foundation/discussion/part-2-your-bones-by-lara-pizzorno-and-dr-jonathan-v-wright/?page=5#replies

    Holy cats, it was like a light bulb came on and was thinking I bet that is one of my problems, my body isn’t making the conversions to get the nutrients or supplements working! I have very high amounts of Ca in my soft tissues and it isn’t being delivered into my bad bones, hence the reason I wanted K2. My body/liver isn’t making the conversion to get the Ca into my bones. So I thought the same could be happening with the Mg. Also, isn’t Mg given to people who have had heart attacks and stokes? Trying to connect the dots here….

    I tried the P-5-P to see if it would deliver the Mg and lo and behold I think it did!

    P-5-P is the active form of B6. (FYI, it wasn’t easy to find without a lot of other stuff in it. I finally found it at a small local vitamin shop. I got Thorne Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate 33.8 mg 60 capsules.)

    May 18th at 1pm I took my new favorite Mg and the P-5-P and within an hour my chest pains had stopped! I was thinking wow this is all that I needed?

    May 18th 6pm I started having small chest pains but not as bad as before. I took the Mg and P-5-P and within an hour the chest pains were gone again.

    May 18th 11pm chest pains started again, so I took another round of the Mg and P-5-P. Again within an hour the chest pains stopped.

    My body was needing these supplements every 5 hours. But I managed to sleep the whole night without any more chest pains. I hadn’t sleep in over a week, yeah I was a walking zombie!

    May 19th morning no chest pains but I am planning on dosing the Mg and P-5-P at least 3 times if not 4 times today.

    I still feel that I need vitamin A. My only concern with it will be to see if my body can utilize it. Not being medical at all, I have no idea how vitamin A works in our bodies. Is there a supplement or something that is needed to assist vitamin A should I find it isn’t being absorbed? I am starting to think I need different couriers to deliver these essential vitamins.

    I had ordered Country Life Natural Vitamin A & D3 last week along with the Thorne MK4 and it was delivered today! I want to try the K2 MK4 without any MK7. Once I get my body healed from this crisis and add the vitamin A & D3, plus additional D3, Mg and P-5-P I will try the 1000 mg MK4 from Thorne because MK4 is the preferred form according to your article, I am convinced of that. I am still not feeling 100% right but in time I am hopeful I will be.

    It might be helpful to those reading this to know that I don’t take ANY prescription medication. I am 59 years old with Degenerative Disc Disease, osteopenia, arthritis and gout. I blame the high tissue Ca for all of these problems.

    If this helps just one person then it was worth the time to write it.

    • Hi Shelley – thanks for sharing that with us. I am glad you got medical help, but sorry that they were unable to help. Yes, many medical professionals think your talking about Potassium (chemical element K) when you mention Vitamin K2. While you may have figured out some of these things by yourself, I strongly recommend that you track down a licensed Integrative Medicine MD near you. Or even someone not so near. They can get to the root cause of the issue and possibly even identify if you have any genetic predisposition for poorly metabolizing B vitamins or anything else. Genetic testing, let alone, interpreting the long list of alpha-numeric gibberish that it generates is simply not something most general practitioners are capable of. MDs with Integrative Medicine training, however, do. They can help you. Otherwise, you’re playing Sherlock Holmes with your body and health.

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