(…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.
- You need BOTH MK-4 and MK-7 forms of Vitamin K2. MK-4 may be more important.*
- The shape of the K2 molecule makes a difference (CIS form or TRANS form)*
- It’s not critical to have Vitamin K1 in K2 formulas*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
You need both MK-4 and MK-7 (particularly MK-4)
These are very different molecules with different structures and different functions.
- MK-4 is the only K2 in the brain, where it seems to concentrate. MK-7 seems to be absent in the brain. MK-4 activates proteins involved in maintaining structure of brain cell membranes. These proteins are called Vitamin K Dependent Proteins (VKDP). Scientists have identified 15 VKDP proteins so far. MK-4 also supports healthy inflammation response and oxidative stress in the brain.
- The form of Vitamin K that exists at the highest concentrations in tissues of animals and humans is menaquinone-4 (MK-4.) MK-4 accounts for about 40% and the remainder comprise mainly MK-9, MK-8, and MK-7, in that order. So you could say MK-7 is the fourth most important Vitamin K2.
- Pregnant women need MK-4 because MK-7 does not cross the placenta. MK-4 does. Pregnant women given supplements of MK-7 did not pass on MK-7 to the fetus. This means that pregnant women and developing fetus must have MK-4. MK-7 is also noticeably absent in the cord blood and fetus. We don’t know why this is the case.
- MK-4 and MK-7 are transported in the body by different lipoproteins. MK-4 is transported by HDL and LDL whereas MK-7 is transported around the body by VLDL.
- Human breast milk contains MK-4. It does not contain MK-7.
- Some cellular functions must have MK-4. And MK-7 does things MK-4 cannot.
- Consuming large quantities of MK-7 was extremely rare until the Japanese started fermenting soybeans (Natto) around 1000 AD. Until then, virtually all K2 came in the form of MK-4 with a smattering of other MK forms. Until recently, most healthy traditional cultures got their K2 in the MK-4 form.
- High dose MK-4 is used in Japan as a prescription drug for osteoporosis. Most of the studies showing lowered fracture risk used MK-4, not MK-7.
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. Once you begin thinking of MK-4 and MK-7 as having different roles in the body, rather than a weaker/stronger form of the same thing, the anti-MK-4 sales pitches start to sound hollow.
Synthetic vs Natural K2
If you cruse the interweb seeking knowledge on K2, you will read that MK-4 is synthetic and that MK-7 is natural. 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 extensive fermentation, purification, extraction, and precipitation that it’s really not accurate to call either of these ingredients ‘Natural.’ If you must have ‘natural,’ eat Natto or fatty goose liver.
In my opinion, even K2 made from Natto or Garbanzo (chick peas) are nature-identical, not natural.
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.
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.
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 necessarily. 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|
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 formulate a K2 product from scratch. One that had an meaningful level of both MK-4 and trans MK-7. But with no added K1.
Life Extension Super K2 MK-7 Isomer Analysis
|Total MK-7 (mcg)||271.9||211|
|% of MK-7 as Trans||19.6%||26%|
Addendum (January 2018): It’s been three years since this article was written. Life Extension has recently reformulated their Super K product to contain all-trans MK-7. My issue with the Life Extension product is no longer valid. The original content of this post remains for educational purposes.
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 K2 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 organ meats like liver. 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) of MK-4 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.
Current research trends are with higher doses of MK-7. Both 180 and 360 mcg doses of MK-7 appear promising and well-tolerated in supporting healthy arterial elasticity.*
US Pharmacopeia considers Vitamin K2 supplementation to be safe.
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.
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|
|European hard cheeses||76||MK-4 and MK-9|
|Pastured egg yolk||32||MK-4|
|Regular egg yolk||15||MK-4|
- Look for products that contain both MK-4 and MK-7.
- Find out if the K2 is in the trans form.
- All other factors are secondary to the two above.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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 – I gave my kids a drop of the Thorne Liquid K2 a few times a week. Still do, actually.
Addendum: that question was asked in 2015. It is early 2018 now and they each pop a capsule of the InnovixLabs softgel daily.
Hi. I’m taking vit d3 to combat my deficiency . We are recommended to build our magnesium levels, take boron and to take mk7 100mcg per 1000mcg d3. Im taking a recommended brand Nutrizing 600mcg per capsule. It is natto derived as menaquinone. I would’ve grateful for your thoughts . I’m not sure it agrees with me
Hi Agnes – I looked at the product you mentioned…the label and Amazon product page is, how should I put it…’hyper marketed.’ The product page says 600 mcg but the product doesn’t have 600 mcg of Vitamin K2. There wasn’t a clear breakdown of the formula, so I’m having a bit of a hard time saying nice things. If this is what your doctor wants you to take, then I’m certainly not going to talk you away from this product.
Why do you think it doesn’t agree with you? Are you having any odd side effects from the K2?
Overall, your bone health strategy is good – D3, Magnesium, K2 and Boron. Great. Now add some resistance exercise a few times a week and you should be good shape. Remember, Vitamin K2 is slow-acting. In studies, it’s taken months or years to see big changes. Re-mobilizing calcium around the body is a slow process.
OK, thank you. So the MK-4 will aid in their calcium absorption and no need to worry about MK-7?
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.
Great article. I’m a little confused on the MK-4 vs MK-7 especially in regards calcium transport and or routing.
For perspective, I have been dealing with fatigue and joint pain, mostly on my left side. Although my right knee sounds like a cat/dog crinkle toy when it bends. I have been taking daily methyl B vitamins and 500mg of time release magnesium.
A few weeks ago the pain was so bad I could barely stand for 10 minutes. I recalled taking 5000 IU of D a few years back. I felt terrific but had to stop because it made my insomnia epic. So I reintroduced it as an A/D/K(MK-4 only) formula in MCT and set the D part at 1500. At this dose vit A=5k IU and 2mg of MK-4.
I won’t say I’m pain free and have as much energy as I did 20 or 30 years ago but I feel WAY better. I was on Tramadol for 5 years and I feel almost as good now.
So here’s the question. You and others say MK-7 helps route calcium into bone. This theoretically could reverse not only osteoporosis, but arthritis and hypertension as well. So where I’m confused is does MK-4 perform a similar function? I mean if it’s essential for a growing fetus, then would it not have a similar role in adults? If D mobilizes calcium out of soft tissue, could MK-4 assist D with this mobilization and then subsequent routing to bones?
Forgive me if you already answered this question but as of today there are 367 hits for MK-4 on this page alone. I gave up after going through 165 of them. TIA!
Hi – MK-4 and MK-7 have some overlap in function, but they are different molecules, they are transported differently, and seem to have slightly different end results. MK-4 is not as well-researched as MK-7 due to the absence of intellectual property (MK-7 manufacturing is heavily patented and so, funded with research by intellectual property owners to drive sales). But we know that MK-4 is more rapidly taken up by tissues after consumption. MK-4 also seems less effective at reaching and effecting changes in bones when compared to MK-7. Also, MK-4 is more readily transported to tissues other than bones and it’s likely that MK-4 has non-bone-related functions.
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.
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?
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.
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. Jarlsberg is typically the highest.
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.
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.
Yep – forget D2, D3, K2. The stuff has very little Omega-3.
Thank you for taking the time to put all this together. I was led to believe that MK4 was synthetic & MK7 was the natural form. I’m glsd that I ran a cross this article.
Hi Donovan – thanks. As stated above, the definition of synthetic and natural are as yet undefined by the FDA. The starting materials for both MK-4 and MK-7 are plant materials. Does that make them natural? Depends on who you ask. In my opinion, both these nutrients are far enough from the plants they are made from that you could argue that it is not natural. But if something is made from plants, can it be synthetic.
In the meantime, watch for self-serving marketing statements about one being natural and another not. You see that even with MK-7-only products.
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.
Hello John – Solgar make a dry Vitamin A that is 5000iu which is about 100% daily needs. Don’t know much about the company or how good their products are?
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.
Can you expand on the “other potential issues” of raw milk please? I buy raw milk and drink some everyday. I make canary milk with it for diabetes control. I would like to know of any potential issues you are referring to. I like to be well informed if possible on this.
Hi Susan – the main issue I see is if the raw milk is not handled correctly and becomes contaminated. Pasteurization is designed to kill pathogens. Without that process, there is always a possibility of contamination. From a larger (purely opinion here) perspective, no other species on the planet consumes the milk of another species, especially as adults. It is possible that this is why so many people have dairy intolerance (no, I’m not talking lactose).
Hehe, actually some people don’t tolerate milk because it’s A1 Cows, in fact most people who take A1 dairy have some problems. Apparently A2 cow milk is almost identical to Mothers milk. Most commercial milk, including organic, grass fed are still A1, it’s just cheaper to farm.
Will your K2 help brain degenerative diseases? I have MS, primary lessons in brain. Right brain shrinkage, right to left not communicating, besides the normal pain, spasms, memory loss, unbalance, and now early dementia. Can’t take anymore DMTs for MS, age 71. I’m trying diligently to eat MS diet for women (similar to Wole Foods), sleep (impossible), meditating, and as much PT as possible (gentle stretching). I read somewhere K2 would help. I also took test and was told MTHFR mutation (taking 15 mg Meryl folate prescribed by doc) along with allele musfunctions. Any advice appreciated. I take a lot of recommended supplements
Hi Julia – your situation sounds like it is a lot for anyone to handle. Any one of those symptoms would be difficult, let alone the combination!
While there is some proof that K2 is important for proper brain health, especially the MK-4 form, we don’t know with certainty whether it will help with degenerative disease. My best bet would be to work with an Integrative Medicine MD in your area. There are dozens of nutrition and lifestyle related levers to pull in situations like this, but I think it’d be best to work with an MD who’s well versed (and authorized!) to dispense such advice.
Detoxing from having MTHFR mutation takes a while, but I’m glad you got that diagnosed and are taking the proper remedies. Make sure you are getting the other B vitamins, D, and glutathione. In the meantime, eat a whole foods/high veggie paleo/high fiber/no sugar/no processed grain type diet.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,,
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.
Here is a easy to read Gov Website about Prop 65 :
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..
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.
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?
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.
Thank you for your information.
I’m looking for more information about MK4 and MK7 for newborn.
I see a lot of products contain vitamin D3 with MK7 for newborns but can’t find anything about official recommendation.
Could you give me some advice about adding MK4 and MK7 drops for this situation please?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you so much!
Hi Trang – you should not be giving supplements to newborns. If there is a medical need or emergency, the OB/GYN/neonatologist can/should take care of this.
However, if the mother is breastfeeding then nourishing the mother’s diet with MK-4 form of K2 as well as DHA is critical…either through food and/or supplements.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hi Ricky – MK-7 is made in USA with geranium flower petals and acacia tree oil. So, no, it is not from Natto.
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.
Thanks Vin. Appreciate very much your sharing!
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.
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.
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, 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). 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. 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. 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,
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
Essentially saying that it’s not gut flora that do the conversion.
Thanks for the great convo.
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.
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.
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 ?
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.’
Please, I want to know Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 is taken in the morning or evening is the best. Thanks
Hi Hoang – the time of day does not matter. What helps is if you take it with a large meal.
I have read above website link, they high recommended to take vitamin k2 mk7 form not mk4 because mk4 form is synthetic form but you said mk4 is better than mk7. May you explain why ? 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.
Any idea if all mk-4s in the market today are made up of the cis and trans forms?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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..
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
Thank you, Nik. Will consider your good suggestion.
Asked a few questions – but can’t see that they have showed up 🙂
Hi Nik – please re-post if you can. I don’t see any questions on my end.
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?
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”
Thank you for your email.
Our Vitamin K2 is MK4 which is trans.
I hope this information is helpful.”
So there you have it!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How is your daughter doing? I had a similar problem long ago, but my menses resumed quite quickly. So I was wondering… If I posted the question “is she right-handed or left handed?”, you would ask “why does it matter?” I’ll explain in a while.
Also, it is rather Mg, the element that converts into Ca, in the body. Louis Kervran discovered that biological transmutations is the norm, not the exception. You are right about the Ca-supplements, which mostly cause overdosing. We primarily need plenty of Mg together with other nutrients.
Teenagers need a good diet, but they also need to be listened attentively and tenderly. Because they are building an identity, above all.
According to the GNM (German New Medicine, a complete guide on how the psyche affects the biological procedures – newmedicine.ca), estrogen production is halted by a psychological issue (some shocking event). By default each problem’s context affects a relative biological function.
So the problem that can affect the female hormones has to do with “femininity” and generally the “identity” of the person. It could be something as simple as an unjust insult. But if the person was caught by surprise, then, even that unimportant event could affect both the psyche and the physical body. Keep in mind that we are taken by surprise more easily when something unpleasant happens within the “friends and family” environment, because that’s where we are rather trustful, while, in a situation which we have not yet explored, we are still on guard. So, if a stranger insults us, we’ll think that he’s being hostile. But if an uncle, or a neighbor, or a teacher… says something improper out of insensitivity, then we might take it to heart.
By the way, the 2 ‘relays’ (brain-centers) controlling the secretion of the sexual hormones, are also involved in the control of the coronaries – arteries and veins. So, the former affect the latter as well. And as time passes, problems can only get more complicated, if left uncared of. And even then, “care” has to be very discrete. Delicate handling of situations. Because, inquiring, asking questions in a straightforward manner, in many cases, especially with kids and teenagers, (where a hidden old psychological wound remains partly healed and partly hurting silently) can bring no results; actually, the person with the problem will most possibly find him or herself trying to camouflage the psychological wound (as an instinctive reaction).
So, yeah… No playing with the psyche!
No menstruation, usually means that the relay of the coronary veins has been “shut-down”. If the female is right-handed, then, she just had a psychological shocking event to do with her “identity”. If she is a left-handed, then, things must have been more complicated, as this must have been her second “such-conflict”, but it must have been more severe than the first one. The impact must have been more intense. And the two conflicts have probably happened quite ‘apart’. Probably more than 3 months apart. Could be a few years apart… Otherwise, the person shows no obvious physical disturbances but… starts to develop some characteristic ‘traits’.
More info, on http://www.gnmonlineseminars.com.
Another thought is: The fact that your daughter is quite thin may imply another conflict affecting her digestion-relays, some sort of anorexia. We all carry all sorts of conflicts, which drain us energetically and physically. Most of us hardly ever become aware of them all, what exactly they are and how they affect us. This way, they tend to be ruling our lives, from the subconscious and on the cellular level.
If you are wondering, how my menses resumed…
In an instance which should have been “another daily routine”, obeying my mother’s prompt, to go, do some errand… I had an unpleasant, unexpected event and that event (a so-called second sexual conflict), although not really serious, was more intense than the first one. As a result: not only the menses resumed but after that second issue (the first, being an insult; the second, being a threat), I used to have “heavy menses” for years. Until I felt quite safe in non-familiar environments or where unknown men were near. And after that psychological shift, which is always taking place gradually, at a rather sub-conscious level (because we hardly ever notice – consciously – those fears etc which we wish to forget), my menses eventually became gradually lighter.
I didn’t realize all that, until I followed the above seminars…repeatedly. It took me a lot of psychology-work, within myself, to realize the obvious, because I had to admit those old fears and wounds – admit it all… to myself!!!
And then I realized something really weird: Had I not had the second conflict quite soon, I might have been suffering other problems, perhaps more serious… And so, I once again verified the old saying:
There is always a little good in every bad thing or event. And vice versa.
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.
I heard that K2 supplement kills cancerous tumors. how true is this?
Will taking K2 help in breast cancer?
Hi Haifa – I have not seen any research that shows K2 kills cancer cells. If there is any truth behind this claim, the science needs to be stronger.
Thank you Vin
Actually, yes. The best results are with liver cancer where there is a 90% reduction in liver cancer rates with patients in research trials taking MK4 vitamin K2. There is no reduction noted with MK7 vitamin K2.
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 – try MK-4 form of Vitamin K2.
Recently I took a few drops of Thorne’s Mk-4 based on my autistic daughter’s great success with taking about 3000mcg/daily. I gave it for periodontal reasons but it seems that it more so helped her behavior and quite substantially. Nevertheless, I decided to take some myself because I have a couple of sensitive teeth and at that level of 2000-3000mcg daily of mk-4, I get a sense of nervousness which I normally never have. On the other hand, I have taken Jarrow’s mk-7 mcg 90 and have not had any benefits nor side effects. Maybe I need to drop down to a much lower amount or try the above mentioned Innovix. We do use Innovix for their magnesium malate/ magnesium glycinate capsules.
Also… what is the best calcium/magnesium supplementation?
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/
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 ??
Hi Christian – it applies to both MK-4 and MK-7.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You seem to be doing everything right in terms of making it possible for the body to remove calcium. the vitamin D3, MK4 vitaminK2, Retinol Vitamin A (in cod liver oil) and boron will all help with this. The boron dose should be in the 18 mg to 35 mg range. Have a look at Dr Jorge Fletchas video report on Boron for more information. There is a CAC test you can request to check on your ongoing calcium deposit status. Artery calcification is a major predictor of poor heart health.
Other things that can lead to artery calcification are steroid drugs or high cortisol levels, anorexia, heavy exercise, and long term use of warfarin blood thinning drugs.
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.
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.
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?
Hi Sebastian – yes, you are better off combining the two liquid products.
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/
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. 🙂
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.
thank you for asking this question–I was also wondering if this gelatin capsule was halal/kosher. Now I can order 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.
Is 100% of the MK-7 in the trans form in Full Spectrum Vitamin K2?
Hi David – yes.
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.
Thanks for the observation about 5-P-5 helping you with the chest pains, it may be a clue with what is going on with others taking MK7 and having similar side effects. Previously we had nothing to suggest to users of MK7 other than to stop taking it. The MK7 side effects are generally sleeplessness, anxiety, a thumping heart beat, and high blood pressure. I’m thinking that this happens in 5%-10% of the population given the frequency of its reporting. One web report I read of a new natto eater talked of his going days before he was able to sleep again after eating the 800 to 1100 mcg of MK7 in natto and of being unable to have a relaxed breath.
Physicians are generally not aware of vitamins and don’t know about vitamin K2 in either of its forms. They would likely tell you to stop it and leave it at that.
You understand that high levels of vitamin D3 and the MK4 form of vitamin K2 are important to bones. Vitamin A as the retinol form is important too, taking 5000 to 10,000 IU will work with the higher levels of vitamin D and help in control of calcium. Refer to Chris Masterjohn writings on Vitain A for more on this. As found in a 2009 Tuffs University Trial, adding Retinol vitamin A increased formation of MPG in the body, this is a calcium scavenging protein that is potentiated by MK4. In addition, your arthritis and calcium control would also be improved by adding high dose boron which boosts release of calcitonin, another calcium controlling protein and reduces losses of calcium and magnesium. Look up Dr Jorge Fletchas 2013 video on Boron for an eye opener on boron. In addition, bones need protein for maintenance and its known that low protein diets increase bone loss.
Hi David – you’ve made some good points. I’d like to comment on your estimation that 5-10% of people who take MK-7 report heart palpitations or heart thumping or other side effects.
Here are the reported (published) facts: MK-7 has been investigated in at least 36 clinical trials as of this writing, with a total number of 5539 participants. Dosage ranges from 45 mcg to 360 mcg. Our search focused on and revealed two incidences of palpitation among the 5539 participants. One of the adverse event was assessed as “unknown” for relationship to the supplement by the investigator, the other event was not assessed for causality. Emanus et al 2010 used 360 micrograms MK-7 daily for a year. While I generally talk people down from MK-7 doses over 100 mcg, this study reported 1 person with muscular pain, 1 person with general unwell feeling and 2 persons with itching. There were no reports of palpitations, even at 360 mcg.
Now, there is always going to be a difference between published and anecdotal reports. But this is what the published data says. We also maintain proprietary data on ‘# of reported adverse events per bottle sold’ and this corroborates published data.
Hello David & (Vin),
Thank you both for your reply and information.
I took Vin’s advice and have been busy looking for an alternative doctor to help me sort all of this out. I found a pharmacy doctor that is alternative! Woo Hoo!!! She did an extensive blood test panel looking for conversion problems, plus lipids and blood sugar.
We found 3 mutations with just blood tests. I submitted the saliva 23andMe DNA test last week so I won’t have those results for 6-8 weeks.
But here is what we found in the blood;
Apo-E mutation at E2/E4
1.4% of American Women have this.
Risks for CHD, Alzheimer’s and Atherosclerosis
Factor 2 or (Factor II)
Increased risk for developing clots.
VITAMIN K deficiency – HOLY CATS!!!
Too much Prothrombin
Dr believes this is why I am not converting B6 and needed the P5P form. Also my B12 levels were sky high and I do NOT supplement with B12. She prescribed Lithium Orate at 5mg to balance B12, read Dr. Amy Yasko about this relationship. (Lithium blood test showed I was very low.)
OTHER RED FLAGS
Apo-B mine was 158 mg/dL
This is the sticky bad cholesterol and it should be less than 80 mg/dL.
LpPLA2, Activity mine was 261 nmol/min/mL
This should be less than 180 and it is a marker of atherosclerosis-related to inflammation.
So here is what we concluded, the reaction to the K2 MK7 was a combination of the Factor 2 deficiency in Vitamin K and my body trying to deal with the supplement after being deficient for so long and the bad lipid panels. My blood is so thick and sticky it is amazing it flows at all. MK7 was trying to do a Roto-Rooter job on my arteries and my body just couldn’t handle the large dose of MK7 that I was taking, hence why she believes why I had chest pains.
Anyone who has chest pains or any other heart issue after taking MK7 please find an alternative doctor. If your tests come out like mine (Factor 2 and bad Lipid panels) then that COULD be the missing link as to why SOME of us have a problem with MK7. I sure hope some research is done on this in the near future.
Genetics is where a lot of medicine/health care is going. My new doctor is really into this. And just because you have genetic mutation doesn’t mean you have the condition! However, I my case I do have the conditions.
For future reference my genetic heritage is;
Mother-Irish, Welsh and Native American (in that order)
All of my genetic mutations come from my mom. My maternal grandfather had clots so bad that they had to put a sieves in his legs so he wouldn’t have a heart attack or stoke. If he were alive I bet he had the Factor 2 deficiency plus all the other things I inherited. Thanks Graps!
The doctor approved of me taking Serrapeptase which I had done some research on. I started low with 40,000 SPU’s and have built up to 120,000 SPU’s 2 times a day. This will help clean out my arteries. The doctor put me on Cholesterol Pro with Bergamot another supplement to clean up the bad cholesterol.
Blood tests are scheduled for the end of August. I will report back afterwords. It is my belief that if I can get some of this bad cholesterol out of my arteries I might be able to tolerate a low dose of K2 MK4 which I still feel I need because of the Factor 2 Vitamin K deficiency.
I found a low dose MK4 and will try taking it in about a month to see how I respond. This will give the Serrapeptase and the Cholesterol Pro a chance to do their job before incorporating the K2 MK4.
I want to be clear, just because these are the supplements that my doctor approved of, it MIGHT not be the best for YOU! Again, find an alternative doctor and get the blood work done, we are all unique.
I hope this information might help the FEW who are puzzled as to why they have heart issues after taking MK7. The more information we can share the more we can help one another.
Hi Shelley – glad you were able to find a practitioner who’s able to dig a little deeper. It sounds like you’re closer to figuring out what’s going on.
A few things to keep in mind for others reading this: Integrative Medicine MDs with some certification in this specialty are worth looking for and traveling long distances to see. The second thing to remember is that if you go down the rabbit hole of DNA testing, you need someone to hold your hands, so to speak, for data interpretation. Reacting appropriately to what your DNA testing reveals is an emotional issue, but one that merits some thought and reason. People who are caring for ageing parents with Alzheimers may not, understandably, respond well to suddenly knowing they are at increased risk of developing the same fate. Genetic predisposition does not equal inevitability. You have strong influence over how your genes are expressed, mostly through diet, exercise, microbiome care, sleep and stress management.
Keep us posted, Shelley.
I wanted to thank you for all of your advice and for posting my latest update. Especially on finding an alternative dr. Without your advice I don’t know where I would be today. I am truly grateful for this blog and all the help you have given to a person you don’t even know!
I have to tell you what the doctor said when she was going through my supplements. YOUR magnesium was a huge hit with her. She said, “this is a really good magnesium. I like the biglycinate and malate forms.” Then she said that I did a really great job of picking out the supplements that I needed. FYI, we are on our second bottle of your Mg and I told my girlfriend about it last night.
I do agree that there are people who will not be able to handle the DNA information. And those people IMHO should not get tested. I know my mother-in-law is one of them. She would worry that she had every single condition that would show a mutation. She would NEVER understand that just because you have the genetic marker does NOT mean you have the CONDITION. She basically lives in constant fear and it’s pretty sad.
My mother has Alzheimer’s. And my best guess is that she got this genetic marker from my grandfather, her dad. I look at this information as a tool for understanding what COULD happen NOT what IS. For me, I take a proactive stance on this and really appreciate the knowledge that genetics is giving me. And I do agree that environment and lifestyle has a lot to do with how these diseases play out.
Again you’re absolutely right that I need help deciphering all this genetic information. The 23andMe test is going to be 75 pages long. Holy cats!!!
My doctor said she will need help interpreting it and knows I can do some of the research to help her out. But also you may not be aware that there is another website called Genetic Genie and what that does, at least from my understanding, is it helps decipher or filter out your top mutations. So you’re not just searching for a needle in a haystack.
Once I get the online document from 23andMe it gets uploaded to Genetic Genie. Then I print that out and get it to my dr. And the both of us will start going through it and figuring out what are the most prominent markers. She has done this quite a bit but doesn’t have the time to filter through all if it. Her plan is for me to come in every 4-6 weeks and tackle the most problematic issues.
Also doctors are very aware of patients who are unable to handle this information and ones that will be able to help them decipher it. My doctor said she doesn’t recommend doing genetic testing on most of her patients. It’s too time-consuming for her and some of the patients can’t handle it emotionally. Just like you were mentioning.
With the highest gratitude,
You’re welcome, Shelley. Glad I was able to help.
Yes, DNA testing can be a pandora’s box for some. But if you’re able to process it properly, it can be a very useful tool/driver for lifestyle and diet modification. There are also several interpretation services that popped up after the FDA came down on 23andMe.
(can you please remove the other and post this new edited submission. Thank you)
Hi Shelley, Vin and to all who might be reading this in 2022,
I hope you are all well!
I landed here experiencing similar freighting heart palpitations and pressured feeling
n the heart area of my chest, insomnia, and general sense of illness, from what appears to all be from taking one dose of K2 – MK7 / MK4
To anyone else experiencing similar symptoms and just diving in, this is not brand specific, but might be a genetic metabolization issue or not effecting a small but unlucky percentage of users, I also suspect it might be related to amounts of and or types of K2 and or those of us with preexisting leaky gut syndrome, but what ever is causing this it is frightening and as others in this blog have already stated, if you are experiencing this from any supplement or a medicine, stop using it and seek professional medical advice. And it is that advising that brings me here because my mainstream PCP has ZERO knowledge of anything outside the framework that she was educated in, they are so far behind the times, they do not know what to do with the genetic data that they have access to, genetic data that could help us! I’m now seeking a medical professional that can use my genetic data to guide me in recovering and supporting my optimal wellness.
Some of my story:
I’m a low income senior attempting to make use of Obamacare and after a year of reporting to my PCP of brain fog, insomnia, and significantly diminished level of energy, and when I could fall asleep regularly being awoken by painful sharp jabs (way beyond cramps) in my calves-shins, my PCP (extremely kind and mainstream nurse practitioner, best one can get on my income level of access to health care) did ordered blood labs that revealed low vitamin D levels (18), she performed a physical examination and everything else looked and sounded fine. I was given a knee-jerk RX for 50,000 IU vitamin D3, which a patient blogs indicated might cause me more side effects, so I opted to titrate using a combo of different levels of OTC D3 aiming for 10-15000 IU a day including K2 in a 2-3x per day dose of “Nusava” (D3 5000IU / K 120mcg=62% mk4, 38%mk7, w 250mg of Omega 3) drops. All was going well, feeling better every day, w deficiency symptoms beginning to noticeably be diminishing. Good enough, nope! Then, wanting to make sure I was getting enough K, I read further information and thought I needed a combination of mk4 and mk7 and introduced the InnovixLabs combo product and experienced the adverse effects reported above. It took a littel over24 hours for my heart to begin to calm down and overall to begin to feel “normal” like I was not going to die. Too much mk4 or mk7, or wrong ratio, or genetics? Untill I can figure the safest way to proceed, I’m done with any dose of any K7 beyond the minimal amounts in the Nusava drops will attempt to return to using those drops which I’d never had experienced any adverse effects.
Shelley, one of your posts mentioned guidance from a “pharmacy Doctor” using your raw genetic data to guide you. I know it’s been 5 years and if you might still follow this blog, I’d be grateful for the contact info or website of that pharmacy Doctor and or any other useful resources that you have since found.
good article. I’ve been under drugs in the past for vit D deficiency (value 10; 150 toxicity), low phosphorous and Calcium on the high border. I did every blood test for parathyroid gland as well. Every things normal.
So, I’ve been taking 25.000IU a week for a month (total 4). But the level of 25-OH Vitamine D3 in the bloodstream didn’t rise. After, I gave it up and changed diet and went to beach every day. Vit D rose up to 60 after summer; also phosphorous rose and Calcium got down. Perfect.
Years after that (few months ago) I found out to have bad cavities (caries) and I read that the cause can be Vit D low, bad Ph/Ca ratio, low VitA and too sugar in the diet. I did a blood test and my Vit D was, 2 months ago, < 7.
Reading on the web I started to drink raw milk, increase the consume of cheese and butter ( I did use not much in the past diary products), and Fermented Cod Liver oil (I tried also not fermented, much cheaper).
But the suggestions are also to take with K2 as Mk7; I see on Amazon that there is a brand that has 600 mcg; other contains just 100mcg; so, what do you suggest? Isn't 600 mcg a day too high? Or maybe Can I take it just temporarily, for a month or two?
I'm trying to see if this diet will improve my cavities, just this. I don't want take cod liver oil forever neither supplents.
What do you think about these?
Also I'm interested on Solgar k2-
HI Michele – for a lot of people, Vitamin D supplements simply do not work as well as daily sunshine.
I would not take 600 mcg of K2 as MK-7. That is an artificially high dose. Humans have never consumed that much MK-7 in our history. MK-7 is best at 5-100 mcg per day. However, 600 mcg of MK-4 form should be fine.
Thanks for reply. I was wondering if have sense taking one 600 mcg pill as MK7 for “week” (one a week); By the way, is there a brand I linked in my previous post, which is better than other?
Hi Michele – MK-7 has a half life of 2-3 days, so you will have a very high amount in your blood for the first few days and then not much. This is, again, an unnatural dose. If you (and your doctor) are OK with this dose, then, you could try it. My suggestion is to use a product with 100 mcg or may be 200 mcg at the most. I don’t have a preference amongst the brands you mentioned. Although, Solgar is a good one.
Hi Michelle, it is no wonder that the 25,000 IU of vitamin D is not helping you. This is only 3500 IU per day. You may well need 5000 to 10,000 IU per day to see a major vitamin D blood level increase. generally the dose needs to be 1000 to 1500 IU per 25 pounds of body weight. Also, if this is the vitamin D2 form, just throw it away. The vitamin D3 form is three times more effective than the D2 and has less in the way of side effects than vitamin D3!
Skip the weekly dosing, this is something that doctors do and its not effective in creating the best health and improving vitamin D levels. We were evolved to have sunlight every day and bolus dosing has been shown to be ineffective in much research. Unfortunately the doctors medical references are out of date on this.
I see on Amazon.com that the k2 complex you suggested (which contains MK-4 500mcg and MK-7 100 mcg) cannot be shipped in my country from US. Is there a K2 (with both MK 4&7) complex alternative? thanks.
Hi Michele – you have two options: use a freight forwarder (companies that give you a US address to which you could ship products purchased on Amazon.com US and the freight forwarder ships to your country) or you could buy MK-4 and MK-7 separately from different brands.
the problem is also the cost. The brand you suggested in a previous post is quite cheap; but MK-4 and MK-7 separately isn’t so cheap; however, I see that the best compromise seems to be a brand of which someone complained; here it is:
Also, it seems not to have too much bulk agents, isn’t it? I really don’t know what to buy….
Hi Michele – I go into depth about the product you mention – please re-read the article above.
Try looking at Iherb for shipments within the UK. What happens is some authority decides to put a restriction on MK4 or MK7 doses, by assuming them to be equivalent to regular vitamin K which has a much smaller dose. One option is to order the Thorne liquid MK4 which is expensive but come in a bottle that will last a while. This passes because its not a restricted pill size. I got good results from taking the Vitacost Ultra K with K2 Complex that had 1300 mcg of MK4 and 100 mcg of MK7. You may be able to find natto at a Korean or Japan food store and eat that in small amounts. A 3 ounce serving of natto has 800 to 1100 mcg of MK7!
Also note on the product you mentioned, this has 600 mcg of MK7 vitmain K2. This is a really high dose, three to six times typical MK7 doses. If you have any sensitivity to MK7, this is going to be very annoying, you will have sleeplessness, anxiety, and a thumping heart with increased blood pressure for days. The MK4 form is what all mammals make and use best and MK4 has the best results in research trials and is better researched than the MK7 form. Try going with an MK4 only product first.
Because the body works with MK4 so well, it is often that you see doses of 1 mg to 5 mg commonly being taken. These are 1000 mcg to 5000 mcg in mcg units. Doses of Mk4 many times this have been safely tested so don’t be worried about the size.
I would try one of these two (tel me if they’re suitable, please):
but it remains the problem with MK-4 which I can’t find standalone. All searches give me only MK-7; possible?
I would start to take only MK-7 and then MK-4, if I will find it; accetable choice?
Hi Michele – go with the lower dose of MK-7 and try this for MK-4: https://www.iherb.com/pr/Thorne-Research-Vitamin-K2-1-fl-oz-30-ml/21592
I need your help! Unfortunately, not many products can be purchased in my country.
What do you think about these product?
ps: Sorry for my poor english
Hi Emmerich – this product looks OK. I would prefer a little less MK-7 and a little more MK-4.
Curious what you think of this one:
Hi Susan – unknown to consumers, there is a Vitamin K2 arms race going on behind the scenes in the supplement industry. A brand hoping to gain market share and unique marketing story cannot do so with 100 mcg of MK-7. People like bigger, faster, more. It is an easy marketing message. We’ve already witnessed this with Omega-3, Vitamin D3, and CoQ10. What was once a medically adequate dose is no longer adequate for commercial success, so companies add more and more MK-7 to their formulas. I’m sure 320 mcg will be highly effective at mobilizing the enzymes needed to put calcium to work. But when even 200 mcg of MK-7 per day is novel to the human species, doses in the 300-400 mcg range are, well, extra-terrestrial. I’m not doubting the efficacy of such high dosage, just the long-term safety and necessity.
I don’t recommend MK-7 doses higher than 200 mcg per day. The product you refer to has 320 mcg. The chances of side effects are higher. I’d rather you keep MK-7 at around 100 mcg and take much larger MK-4 doses.
I’ve ordered the Innovix Full Spectrum Vitamin K2. Any recommendation on a Vitamin A & D supplement to complement the Vitamin K2 product?
Hi Shameer – I like the 5000 IU Vitamin D3 and 25,000 IU Vitamin A, both from NOW Foods. You need to have your doctor test your Vitamin D level before you decide to supplement. Also, you don’t need that much Vitamin A daily, a few times a week is fine. Also, keep in mind that Vitamin D3 supplements are not the same as getting full body sun exposure. Ten to 15 minutes of mid-day sun exposure will not only increase your D3 levels, it will even lower LDL cholesterol levels. Get your D from the sun – it is better than pills.
…In New England in the winter it is pretty much impossible to get enough vitamin D from the sun.
Can the Innovix vitamin K be taken every other day? I’d prefer to get it from food, but I’m having trouble finding rich, readily available sources -other than gouda – that aren’t high in vitamin A.
Hi EastCoaster – yes, certainly, you can take it every other day or only on days when you think your diet is short on K2.
I’ve been wandering on internet looking for more information about Mk4 vs Mk7. For what I found out, it seems that there are no limitation in dosage of Mk4 (even 45000 mcg a day). However, it also seems that Mk-4 stays in the blood just few hours and for this reason there should be the necessity to take more than one dose a day. On the contrary, Mk-7 stays in the blood many hours (days), and for this reason it’s possible to take one shot a day and in a lower dosage. Howerver, I read that up 365 mcg a day is possible and healthy (there are studies on it).
Another thing I chanced upon is that Mk-4 is extracted in a form not so much absorbable (from tobacco plant, confirm or not, please).
I also read that some cheeses, especially hard ones, contains K2. But Gouda and Brie also contains K2. Brie isn’t a hard cheese.
Can you tel me if the K2 of Brie is also/only in the skin? Many people throw it away, but I know it is basically a mould….I also guess that even Blue Cheese (not really an hard cheese) contains K2.
Hi Michele – the duration of K2 in the blood is a completely useless way to measure the efficacy or dosing frequency of Vitamin K2. ‘MK-4 stays in the blood for only a short time and therefore is not good’ is something you will see everywhere on the internet. This is nonsense. I address this issue in detail in the article above.
The source of MK-4 does not matter, as long as it is pure Menatetrenone.
Brie may have some K2, but hard cheeses are better sources.
I have been searching about vitamin K2 for a while and your article contains the most reliable information. I have been using K2 with D3 by Zhou Nutrient since last month to increase my D3 level. It contains 5000 IU Vit D3 and 90 mcg MK7 in trans form. I also just bought MK 4 based on your recommendation for myself and my kids (16 and 11 yr old). I presume one drop (1 mg) per day should be fine. When I am done with K2 +D3, I will buy Innovix MK4+MK 7 and supplement with Vit. D3.
Do you know anything about the brand Zhou? One of the customer review said that these were powder filled capsules not oil based. What is the difference? If not oil based, does it mean it is not useful? Also, Can I put the K2/ D3 drops in water to take it? Do you have any recommendation regarding K2 + D3 supplement?
Thank you SO much for this great blog and article.
Hi Azize – I am not familiar with Zhou. The delivery form, powder or oil is not critical, as long as the product provides what the label says it does. I would not add K2 to water, as it likely to float and/or stick to the sides of the container. I generally recommend that people separate their K2 and D3 supplements. Ideally, you should get your D3 from the sun during summer months. And not everyone needs 5000 IU of D3 every day.
Is it correct that vitamin A and vitamin E should be taken two hours before or after taking vitamin K2 MK4 because they will neutralize menatetrenone?
Hi Jeff – there is no evidence of this at all.
I assume that Menatetrenone is more or less a synonymous of menaquinone-4….
By the way, is there a particular time for taking Mk4 or Mk7 ‘in pills’ ? Empty stomach? During the meal?
Hi Michele – yes, Menatetrenone is the chemical name for MK-4 form of K2. We think it is best if taken with a meal. Just before or just after is fine too.
There are many research projects about Matrix-Gla protein (MGP) in kidney disease now.
“Haemodialysis patients suffer from accelerated vascular calcification. The vitamin K-dependent matrix Gla protein (MGP) is one of the most powerful inhibitors of vascular calcification. Haemodialysis patients have high levels of the inactive form of MGP (desphosphorylated-uncarboxylated-MGP, dp-uc-MGP) and may benefit from pharmacological doses of vitamin K2 (menaquinone) to improve the calcification inhibitory activity of MGP.” Source: Vitamin K2 supplementation in haemodialysis patients: a randomized dose-finding study. You will find more studies at
Some of these studies use K2 mk7 from Nattopharma. (sold by Bringwell.no, but produced in japan). 1. Are they “Real thing” with high trans mk7? 2. Is it pointless to also take K1 to get mk4? 3. Is it better to go directly to pure mk4 instead than K1?
kidney patient, Sweden.
Hi Niclas – the Nattopharma K2 is sold under the MenaQ7 sub-brand. There are three types – from chickpea, from soy, synthetic. All are good. The chickpea and soy are mostly trans form while the synthetic is 100% trans. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
No harm in taking some K1, but don’t take a lot, hoping your body will convert the excess to MK-4. It is far better to go directly to MK-4
Long time reader here, I’m posting this in regards to stating both mk-4 and mk-7 are both synthetic, while that’s true mk-7 can be synthetic or natural, mk-4 is not made by bacteria. There was a minimal study to compare the two, and it came to the conclusion that “Menaquinone-7 appears to offer a number of practical benefits over menaquinone-4 in terms of lower dosing and single daily dosing instead of multiple doses.” For RA patients would need 45mg of mk-4 a day compared to 100mcg for mk-7. And 600mcg of mk-4 isn’t proven adequate.
Jarrow: derives from natto, but natto’s composition isn’t clear and it can be cis or trans form of mk-7, so you should look into MenaQ7.
Also I’m not sure on the “marketing” strategy you presented as companies can offer both forms of k2, and mk-4 isn’t proprietary so it wouldn’t be a problem for companies.
In the end I agree with most of what you say, but it still isn’t clear on mk-4 in my opinion and research I’ve done. But just to add another product, Mercola k2 from MenaQ7 seems to be good as well.
Hi Tom – you raise good questions. I’ll try my best to address them one by one, in detail, because you’re not the only one with these concerns.
Synthetic vs Natural MK-4: as of now, there is no known technology for mass producing MK-4 with bacteria. Even though the raw material for producing bulk quantities of MK-4 is plant material, I don’t consider it ‘natural.’ I consider ALL supplemental forms of MK-4 synthetic. As with virtually all nutrients, it is better to get them from food rather than supplements. That’s my personal opinion.
Synthetic vs Natural MK-7: here, there is a little more nuance. The technology exists to produce MK-7 from soy protein powder or chickpea (garbanzo) powder – these two forms are generally considered ‘natural.’ There is also a slightly more labor intensive process where you can make MK-7 from flower petals. This is for arbitrary reasons, considered ‘synthetic.’ The starting materials for both are from plants. Some would argue that they are all ‘natural’ based on the origin of the raw materials. Having looked at the process and patents for making MK-7, I personally feel that NONE of the MK-7 forms on the market are truly natural because of the complex steps required to make the product and also because the finished MK-7 is so far removed from nature. Having said that, the ‘synthetic’ forms made from flowers are purer and are ironically, in the nature-identical all-trans shape. The ‘natural’ stuff made from soy and chickpeas are mostly, not all, trans.
Since the FDA’s position on natural vs synthetic is not very clear, there is a lot of wiggle room for marketers and brands to distinguish themselves from each other with ‘natural’ claims. I paint them all with the same brush. Any better-than-thou claim is putting the proverbial lipstick on the oinker.
The best source for MK-4 is grass fed butter from cows that were grazing on rapidly-growing green grass. Back in the day, most butters qualified. Now, it’s anyone’s guess. I use Kerry Gold, but I have not sent it off to a lab for testing. I really ought to. Hard cheeses, and egg yolks from pastured chicken are good too. I’ll assume eating foie gras and organs like pancreas and salivary glands are off the table for most Americans. Chicken has a little bit and is probably where most Americans get their meager supply.
That MK-7 offers ‘practical benefits in terms of lower and single daily dosing’, if I may be blunt, is utter, self-serving nonsense. When you are taking micrograms versus milligrams of something in a pill, there is no practical benefit to dosing or pill size at all. The ‘single daily’ dosing claim is equally nonsensical. This claim is based on the serum half-life of MK-7 being much longer. The longer half life has been twisted to mean that it is more effective. That MK-7 stays in your blood longer means absolutely nothing because MK-4 is quickly absorbed and cleared from the blood. MK-4 is tucked away in the brain (where there is no MK-7), pancreas, salivary glands etc. Just because MK-4 is not in the blood does not mean it is not doing its job. You could jokingly turn this around and say ‘MK-7 hangs around in the blood unused and doing nothing because no organ wants it.’ 🙂 This has to do with marketing, not just science. MK-7 has a better ‘story’ and MK-4 does not have strong manufacturing patents for companies to guard and therefore market. Marketing MK-4 with branded names like MenaQ7 is not commercially viable. I like MenaQ7. We considered using it in our product during formulation, but at that time, their product was not all-trans – it was mostly trans. They now offer an all-trans version, which I like even more.
The 45 mg dosage for MK-4 is for the Japanese drug, Glakay. It’s for osteoporosis. The clinical studies were done on 45 mg initially and so follow up studies used the same dose and the drug was based on published science. I am not aware of lower dosing for osteoporosis. Having said that, 45 mg of 45,000 mcg is a level that our human species has never naturally consumed. An ideal hunter-gatherer diet would have contained less than 1 mg or 1000 mcg of MK-4 daily.
They key things for K2 supplements are still 1) the variety of MKs – mostly MK-4 with a little MK-7. Until we can reliably manufacture it, eat hard cheeses for MK-9 etc. and 2) cis or trans form. People (like you) are catching on and will hopefully pressure brands and manufacturers to be more transparent. This will flush out the mostly cis form coming out of China.
And finally, is Cis versus Trans K2 another marketing ploy? I don’t think so. Look at the article above for the difference in molecular shapes of cis vs trans MK-7. Trans is what is found in foods and nature. If/when a well-designed study shows that this difference in molecular shape has no effect on the carboxylation of Gla-proteins, I will gladly change my tune. Until then, I hold my position.
Forgot to mention, this article brings up a good point that cis vs trans is a marketing ploy. https://www.reddit.com/r/Supplements/comments/5mdiko/to_be_honest_im_not_sure_if_transmk7_is_all_its/
Hi Tom – I responded to this question in my previous answer. I am glad people are getting informed and passionate about this. Plausible conjecture. Until proven otherwise, go with the nature-identical molecule.
My recent bone density showed osteoporosis in my spine and osteopenia in my hips. I want to know how much of your product I should be taking. Is it really necessary to take 45mg of MK-4 a day to build bone and prevent fractures? Will MK7 also build bone as well? Is it known how much MK7 should be taken?
Hi Lisa – it is not necessary to take 45 mg of MK-4. Although MK-4 at 45 mg daily is used as a pharmaceutical treatment for osteoporosis, that is not an approved treatment in the US. Humans have traditionally consumed about 500 micrograms of MK-4 on a daily basis. Most of us barely consume even a fraction of that in our diets. Taking one capsule a day will give you what you need. MK-7 will also build bone strength. So, the product has two separate mechanisms for strengthening your bones.
I take two per day because neither MK-4 nor MK-7 stay in your body for very long – they are metabolized and eliminated from the body within a day or two, so there is not much risk of taking too much. You can overdose with Vitamin D3 or A, but that’s almost impossible to do with K2. If you’re considering taking K2, you also need Magnesium, D3, and Vitamin A.
We purchased your combination vitamin K product and are very pleased . We also take vitamin a and D and I’ve always believed the fat soluble vitamins are in conjunction with one another and the studies are starting to pan that out .
But I notice many of the vitamin K experts talk about vitamin A and D but precious few mention vitamin E in conjunction with the other fat soluble vitamins
what is your take on Vitamin E both s a vitamin and a hormone in conjunction with A D and K ?
Hi William – I, too, wondered why more discussions of A, D, and K2 don’t include E. I don’t think it is because E is not required, but we know a few processes that require A, D, and K2, and we simply don’t have many obvious processes that require all 4 or a combination that requires E. That does NOT mean that E is not critical or that you can afford to take A, D, and K2 without E.
Vitamin E deficiency is a serious problem. I can recall three studies on the topic and the most comforting one says 70% of us are deficient while the most alarming says 90% of us are. Vitamin E should also not be looked at as a single entity or nutrient. It is, like K2, a complex. There are 4 different types of tocopherols and 4 tocotrieneols. Sadly, most of the science on the ingredient (and virtually all the ones that have garnered negative headlines) have been with a poorly-absorbed, synthetic form of one of the tocopherols. Where would the state of science be if all studies were done with ALL EIGHT forms of E?
Vegetables and egg yolks are good sources, but people are scared of yolks (sadly) and we have a spotty record of eating vegetables. Supplementation kept some of us out of trouble, but then around 2005, there were some bad headlines based on poor science and that was the time of peak Vitamin E supplement consumption. People have backed away from taking Vit E pills. May be avoiding the synthetic form of 1 of the 8 E form is not such a bad thing, but the message people received was that Vit E was bad for them. That is a tragedy…
I take Jarrow Famil-E. It has all 8 types of E.
What if I am only interested in treating osteoporosis – K2 is what I really want. Do I still need MK7 and MK4?
Hi Deborah – yes, you need both MK-7 and MK-4.
Thank you for this article! I’m 24 weeks pregnant and want to decline vitamin K shot. My diet is likely not super high in K though. I eat lots of mixed greens, tomato, avocado, peas, seeds, nuts, egg a couple times a week, tuna once a week or less, and the baby seems to hate meats and chicken so I eat almost none of that. I am drinking nettle leaf. Any thoughts on which supplement I should take between yours and the Thorne one? Yours has both forms but maybe I’m getting enough MK7? I’d like to have the liquid so I can give to my 4 year old too but will that give me what I need to get vitamin K to baby through placenta and breastmilk? Or should I buy yours? My concern is more the late onset VKDB.
Hi Jessica – as I outline in the article, MK-4 is far more important than MK-7 during pregnancy because MK-7 does not cross into the fetus. MK-7 also does not appear to cross into the brain. MK-4 is a smaller molecule and will do both.
The InnovixLabs product has enough MK-4, but if you want or feel comfortable with more MK-4, then the Thorne item is a good addition. As far as getting enough MK-7 from food, unless you are eating Natto at least twice a week, you are getting much of any MK-7 in your diet. It is much easier to get MK-4 from the diet. MK-4 will be transferred to the baby via the placenta and breast milk.
The decision to decline the Vitamin K shot for your baby at birth is something you need to discuss with your OB. But keep in mind that the shot is K1, not K2. K1 shot is given to prevent bleeding and hemorrhagic disease from K1 deficiency. So many mothers are K1 deficient from not eating enough green vegetables that their babies are born K1 deficient. This can be a problem. It may not be an issue for you due to the high green veggie consumption, but still, talk to your doctor. My issue with the shot is that it is a shot! K1 can be easily given in reasonable doses orally. The medical system is more about preventing loss and liability. Comfort and well-being are secondary…if not, they’d give oral K1. Or better yet, OB’s would tell their patients to eat lots of veggies during pregnancy.
Your eating K2 is for your baby’s bone, brain, and dental development. Your baby’s teeth, baby and adult teeth, are already partially developed and K2 is needed for that.
Thank you for this. Is there a vitamin K1 you recommend for me to take along with the K2 and that I could give baby?
Hi Jessica – if you eat green leafy vegetables, you are unlikely to require K1 supplementation because the body recycles and reuses K1. As long as you eat green leafy vegetables, you should be OK.
For my electrical conduction error of the heart, if I take K2 with MK-7 and MK-4 before I swallow Vitamin E, then I will not experience severe heart palpitations. The Super K from Life Extension works well for this purpose. However, now I am treating osteoporosis and will change to Thorne as mentioned above, but will it offer the same protection from the heart palpitations? Safely dosing Vitamin E has always been a challenge until this puzzle piece was revealed to me.
Hi Candis – since you seem to have figured out what works for you, I am reluctant to ask you to change anything. I don’t know if the Thorne product will be OK with the palpitations. Please discuss that with your doctor. Note that taking Vitamin K1, K2 and E without the other two fat-soluble vitamins (D3 and A) may cause some issues themselves. Again, talk to your doctor about how and how much.
For what it’s worth, you don’t need to extreme amount of K2 found in the Thorne product to give you protection from osteoporosis. What you are taking now is plenty.
This K2 product looks great by InnovixLabs. But it is a shame it is only available on Amazon. I can send links to the Amazon page that tells sellers the warehouse conditions that their products will suffer while in storage there – high and low temps – for a long period of time. But since I know someone who works there, I know the temps go even higher than that sometimes.
I am amazed that anyone buys supplements from Amazon’s warehouses. When you read reviews on Amazon and people gripe about what we know are well-made supplements – capsules stuck together, rancidity and other issues – it is NO SURPRISE whatsoever, given the harsh conditions that they experience while stored there.
Wish we could order this product directly instead of from Amazon.
Hi Gaius – you can buy the product directly from https://innovixlabs.com/products/full-spectrum-vitamin-k2/
Hi there. I’m looking to get our whole family on a K2 supplement. My husband, myself (30 weeks pregnant), and our 7 yr old. We have started a D3 but I realize that we need a K2 with it. Is the InnovixLabs Vitamin K2 ok for everyone in our family or should I get a different formula for my 7 yr old?
Hi Becky – yes, the formula works for everyone. I have twin 7 year old who take 2 or 3 of these capsules every week. I usually give them one capsule every other day or every third day. Since you’re pregnant, run it by your OB/GYN. It is critical to get enough D3 during pregnancy, especially now that it is almost winter time. But, again, check with your OB about your blood levels about dosage.
What do you think of Douglas labs liquid D and K? It seems to have both mk4 and mk7 in a liquid form. FLOZ NutriK2 Liquid Vitamins K That you gave your kids is no longer available anywhere. I was lllokung for a substitute for it, how about the Douglas labs one? It doesn’t have an A vitamin it it though. If I get the Seeking health liquid A and the Douglas labs D and K liquid (if you think it’s ok) then how much of each, the liquid D and K and the liquid A should I give my 3 year old grandson? He very big for his age more like the size of a 4 year old in height and weight. How often do I give him theses vitamins. He’s a picky eater and doesn’t eat a much.
Hi Susan – yes, the Douglas Labs product has both MK-4 and MK-7 in reasonable dosages. My issue with that formula is very minor – that it has K1, which people don’t usually need to supplement with (assuming they eat some veggies) and that it contains just enough D3 to make people feel like they are taking enough of it. But it only contains 1000 IU of D3 per dose. That is unlikely to bring anyone out of deficiency. Most of us sun-avoiding desk jockeys (adults) need about 4000 IU (on average) to climb out of deficiency. If you decide to take this product, make sure you think about a separate D3 supplement in case you are deficient. D3 is very individual – starting level, IUs needed daily to get you to optimal, how long it takes you to get there, and at what level you start feeling the side effects of too much. Talk to your doctor and do your homework on D3. If this is for your grand kid, please discuss with his pediatrician about dosage levels.
Yes, FLOZ K2 seems like it’s gone from the market. Too bad. My kids take the InnovixLabs K2 product – they just chew the softgels because the taste is acceptable to them, but I would not suggest that for a 3 year old.
I’m not asking for myself as I do take your vitamin K and 5,000 vit D and just ordered Now’s brand vitamin A for myself. But I was asking for my 3 yr old grandson. His pediatrician would not recommend giving him anything beyond a multi vitamin as almost all pediatricians would. In my experience, Allopathic doctors don’t know much about vitamin and mineral supplements or any over the counter supplements. They are only taught about prescription drugs.
You might find the exception but I’ve never encounter one. Is it safe to give my 3 yr old grandson
Liquid Nutri K from floz inc? How many drops would you recommend I give him? I found some available on line. He does not eat a well rounded diet to get theses vitamins through food as would be the first choice. Will the vitamin D in this formula with the amount of drops you recommend be enough for him or should a add more vitamin D supplement?
Hi Susan – Vitamin K2 is ESSENTIAL to all humans. So it’s not a matter of safety, but the right dosage and the right product. The InnovixLabs K2 product was not formulated with 3 year olds in mind, so the dosage may be more than they need. My suggestion is to try a liquid MK-4 form of the product, perhaps from Thorne, so that you can control exactly how much he gets. One drop of that (every other day or every third day) should add 1000 mcg of MK-4 and ought to be plenty. You may wish to talk to the customer service team at Thorne too.
Most kids will need some Vitamin D by winter/spring – how much is the issue. You can overdo D3 easily if you are careful – a friend of mine did with her kid. To find out how easy it is to overdo Vitamin D3, I began taking 20,000 IU daily from a base of about 45 to 50 ng/ml. After 3 weeks of that, I completely stopped sleeping. Oh that was hell. That lasted a whole week before I could fall asleep. D3 is a hormone. You can easily overdose. D3 is very popular these days and lots of people are taking 5000 IU daily without K2 and A. They might be in for some trouble. Heck, even with K2 and A, I pushed myself over the edge with 20,000 IU for just 3 weeks. Everyone reacts to D3 slightly differently. Having said that, when my kids were 3, I gave them 1000 IU drops two or three times a week during the winter and none in the summer when they are out in the pool getting lots of sun. Turns out that you cannot overdose on D from excess sun.
I’m from England and I have read the info re Innox/mk7/mk4. I am 63 and have osteoporosis. I am trying to find out the dose to help this rather than a preventative dose? I am also having trouble finding info on trans K2?
Any advice/help would be appreciated.
Hi Carole – osteoporosis is a medical condition and we are neither authorized nor qualified to treat medical conditions. However, if you are interested in bone strength, a regular dose of one (or even two) capsule of the Innovix K2 can help.
Trans versus Cis K2 is not a topic frequently addressed by the health media. K2 is found in the trans form in nature and in foods. Cis form is not nature-identical and we are unclear on its effect on our health. The K2 in the Innovix product are in the nature-identical trans form.
Hello Vin! I am from Greece living temporary in Germany. No sun around here! so, I have just got to know that it would be a good idea to start getting some vitamin D3 in combination with K2. I read some articles and did some online research but as you had already mentioned above, the majority of supplements offer only the MK-7. Could you tell me your opinion about this german product? I was wondering if it contains a lot of MK-20mg no mcg per drop?!
They also have this product but I am not sure about this one which combine both of D3 and K2.
It is mention alltrans but WHO actually knows? Do you think I should take one of this?
Or D3 vitmanin with just one drop of Throne supplement. Unfortunately german amazon do not provide innovixlab K2. I would appreciate it much if you could share your thoughts. Thank you very much for your time and your useful article.
Hi Myrto – the product contains 120 micrograms of MK-7 form of K2 per serving. There is nothing wrong with that. If you can find some MK-4 in addition to that, you will be in better shape. Talk to your doctor about your D3 levels before you start supplementing with it. In northern Europe, people usually need about 4000 IU per day during the winter months, but that depends on your blood level.
I read an article in November, 2017, issue of Life Extension magazine, citing a trial performed with a group of post-menopausal women, where they took a daily dosage of 180 mcg of MK-7 for a period of three years. The results indicated the possibility of reversal of plaque calcification through large doses of K2. Do you have any insight on these and other such tests?
Hi Jim – studies on REVERSAL of plaque and calcified arteries are still emerging. I read the same article too. The science is promising, but we still don’t know if several hundred micrograms are required for reversal. Or if lower levels can achieve the same. Some of these reversal studies are conducted by MK-7 manufacturers, so there is vested interest in using high doses of MK-7. There is no reason to think that MK-4 will not work. But intellectual property positions are such that MK-4 research in this area is dwindling. If I had near-complete blockage, I would not rely solely on K2 but rather let a cardiologist perform surgical intervention. And then use K2 to subsequently guide proper calcium deposition. Plaque and blockage do not happen overnight, so it’s unreasonable to expect K2 to fix it overnight. Nutrients dont work that way. Only surgery can. It’s worth noting that the duration of the study was 3 years.
Can I ask why you give your kids the Thorne if you have made this other supplements? Is it just b/c they don’t take capsules easily?
Thanks for this interesting post!
Hi Adrienne – I used to give my kids the Thorne liquid K2 drops when they were too young to chomp on or swallow pills. They no longer take the Thorne product. Instead, they chew on the InnovixLabs softgel. They prefer to chew on it rather than swallow the pill.
Can u take these if u take the drug tenormin 50 mg will they affect the medicine ? my vitamin d3 was 10 and I’ve read u should take vitamin k with vitamin d3
Hi Ann – if you are on blood thinners, K2 may cause some interference with the functioning of those drugs. We are not aware of any interaction with the medications you mention. Please discuss with your pharmacist and/or doctor before proceeding.
If your blood Vitamin D level is 10, I assume your doctor has you taking D3 immediately. That REALLY low. I would not wait for the K2 pills to show up in the mail before taking the D3. Start taking the D3 right away. A few days or weeks without K2 is not a big deal. It is when you take high dose D3 for a long time while being low on K2 and A that you could start seeing issues.
Better to get D3 from the sun directly, but at this time of the year, that’s pointless. Next summer, be sure to get 10-15 minutes of daily mid day sun exposure without sunscreen.
I found Liquid Nutri K from floz inc on line. They don’t make it anymore and are getting rid of the last supplies of it. So I have a chance to purchase some for my grandchild. He is 3 years old but the size of a 4 or 5 year old. He is 42 lbs and 42 inches tall. How much should I give him and how often?
Hi Susan – if you’re giving him MK-7, then, start with 10 or 20 micrograms every couple of days. If he’s OK with that, I think 30 micrograms daily or every other day should be fine. Given the age of the child, please run this idea past the pediatrician.
You said you gave the nutri K from floz inc to your kids when they were little. I just read that it hasf Vitamin K2 (as MenaQ7) so does that mean it has no Mk-4?
Is it better to give my grandson an mk4 liquid and a vitamin A liquid separately? How about the vitamin D in the nutri k from floz inc?
Hi Susan – MenaQ7 is MK-7. It does not have MK-4. Consider using the liquid Thorne item, as it has MK-4. One drop of the Thorne product every couple of days is plenty. it will last you until he’s much older. Try to get some Vitamin A from food sources. Check with his pediatrician before you start on A and D3. Kids usually need both, but you can theoretically get too much of both. So you need to know what you are doing. There will be some research needed.
This is a copy and paste from Examine.com……….
The minimum effective dose for short chain menaquinones (MK-4) is 1,500mcg. Doses of up to 45mg (45,000mcg) have been safely used in a superloading dosing protocol.
The minimum effective dose for longer chain menaquinones (MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9) is between 90-360mcg. Further research is needed to determine the maximum effective dose for MK
I’m taking your full spectrum vitamin K2. The bottle says 1 capsule is 500mcg’s MK 4 and 100 mcg’s MK 7. Should I be taking 1 capsule 3 times a day with meals or 3 capsules all together with one meal? I’ve only been taking 1 capsule per day with an avocado and egg breakfast. I want to get the most benefit I can from the vitamin K.
Hi Granny6 – I really like Examine.com and the general quality of their work, but no one can claim to have a minimum effective dose for MK-4…especially at 1500 mcg.
Why? Because it is virtually impossible to arrive at a figure without doing unethical testing on human subjects.
I suspect that Examine.com are using the term ‘minimum effective dose‘ to mean the lowest dose used in a recent clinical study. Technically, these two terms have VERY different meanings. I figured out what they meant by looking at the numbers for MK-7, which they claim is between 90 and 360 mcg, which happens to be the range of dosage used in recent studies. A lot of MK-7 studies are funded by companies that sell MK-7. And there is a vested commercial interest in jacking up dosage levels. At no time in the human evolutionary process, until the Japanese stumbled upon fermented soybeans (Natto), would humans have consumed 360 mcg of MK-7. There has been little or no reported side effects for 360 mcg of MK-7, so the dosage arms race continued unchecked. As for acceptable dosages, I’ll accept 1500 mcg for MK-4 long before I’ll accept 360 mcg for MK-7.
As for 45,000 mcg of MK-4, that’s based on few Japanese studies behind the MK-4-based Osteoporosis drug in Japan. It too is not a reasonable or ancestrally accurate dose for humans. But the dosage appears to be safe. And not surprisingly, that much MK-4 will make your bones stronger.
Having said all that, I think 1500 mcg probably is on the high end of what ancestral humans probably consumed on a daily basis thru their diet. 1000 mcg is a fair amount. That’s why we kept the formula at 1000 mcg per pill. Given that most of us don’t even consume 100 mcg daily (at best), taking 500 to 1000 mcg is a solid supplement. As for your dosage, one pill per day is plenty. If you want to be very aggressive about strengthening your bones and/or reducing calcium deposits in soft tissues and arteries, you could double or triple your dose temporarily for a couple of months…but one pill is a solid maintenance dose for just about everyone.
Found your blog from a link in a comment on Chris Masterjohn’ K2 blog post. I liked your comments on K2 and brain and on the placenta.
My particular interest right now is how we can optimise our Dental health with Fat soluble vitamins. Seems like lots of people on “Clean” diets are taking K2 and D and still getting lots of cavities. And I’m wondering what’s missing? Have you written on the connection between K2 and Dental health?
Hi Alex – good question. I have not written about K2 and dental health. K2 has a strong impact anywhere calcium is deposited and teeth are not that different from bones. Integrative or holistic dental care providers can probably share a lot of unpublished clinical observations that could serve as hypotheses for studies.
As for people taking K2 + D and still getting cavities, well, I don’t have a clear answer why that is. But I have a few solid guesses: starchy diets, inadequate flossing/brushing, dysbiotic oral cavity, etc. ‘Clean’ diets can induce plaque formation too, if it’s excessively high in starchy root vegetables. Healthy teeth have a ‘fluid cleansing system’ that’s operated by the hypothalamus. When high blood glucose (easily done with ‘clean’ starches too!) increases the reactive oxygen species (oxidative burden) in the hypothalamus, this interrupts or reverses the mechanism by which teeth are naturally cleaned by this fluid cleansing system. K2 has mild impact on this process, but not enough to stop it when glucose is high. So, clean diets are only ‘clean’ if it does not chronically raise blood sugar.
I was wondering if you had any thoughts on Life Extension Super K now that they have changed the formula?
Serving Size 1 softgel
Amount Per Serving
Vitamin C (as Ascorbyl palmitate) 10 mg
Vitamin K activity 2600 mcg
Vitamin K1 (as phytonadione) 1500 mcg
Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-4) 1000 mcg
Vitamin K2 (as all-trans menaquinone-7) 100 mcg
Other ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, gelatin, glycerin, beeswax, purified water, maltodextrin, carob color.
Hi Jim – thanks for bringing that to our attention. It’s great that they now offer an all-trans formula. It was truly disappointing to learn that only about 25% of the MK-7 was in the trans form, but that was a few years ago. I feel comfortable recommending this product, but with a mild reservation. I still don’t think there is a strong argument for taking K1 as a supplement, given that our bodies recycle K1 and even the french fry oil at McDonalds could have some K1. As rampant as K2 deficiency is, K1 deficiency is very rare.
PS: I have inserted an addendum in the article above to note this change in Life Extension’s formula, but am going to leave the original discussion intact for the sake of science and narrative.
Before I seen this blog about K2 written by you, I bought Pure Therapeutics Vegan D3 + K2 liquid on Amazon. They claim their K2 is trans. They also have D3. Most of the K2 internet stuff I’ve read states that K2 must be taken with D3 for it to work, but you are not pushing D3 that much in your blog; how come ? . Also, do you know anything about Pure Therapetics ?
Hi Jim – K2, D3 and Vitamin A work together. These, along with Vitamin E complex, are called fat-soluble vitamins. It is not a good idea to take a lot of D3 by itself (like tons of people are!) without eating foods or supplements with A and K2. But you don’t need to take all three of these AT THE SAME TIME. It’s perfectly fine to supplement these at separate times. I take D3 and K2 regularly. But I don’t take A and E as regularly, depending on my diet, or if I don’t eat foods rich in A and E, I supplement with it once or twice a week. Unlike K2, D3, A, and E are stored in the body. K2 is not stored for weeks or months like D3 and A. So it is far more likely that you’ll run out of K2 before you do A or D.
The reason I didn’t push D3 in this blog is that I was done writing about it on another blog. 🙂 Here it is in a nutshell: most people are deficient in D3. It is MUCH better to get D from the sun than supplements. Most people need about 4000 IU per day during winter time. It is not a good idea to continuously take 5000 IU pills every day without testing your blood for D levels. Work with a doctor and decide how much.
A lot of K2 products now have D3. This is mostly because the #1 selling K2 supplement on Amazon has D3. It’s the one-eyed leading the blind. Amazon brands all copy each other. It is not because it’s what’s right for your health. You may need far more or far less D3 than what is found in a one of those products.
That K2 must be taken at the same time and together with D3 is self-serving marketing BS.
Vin, this blog is good. The main reason I am taking K2 is that last June I got a 100 score on the CT calcium scan of my heart. All the blockage is in my LAD artery. So this means I have a good chance of a heart attack in the next 5 years. I always was active and took a multi vit, and an extra calcium supplement for years, but no K2 or magnesium. Do you think that me taking good trans K2 and D3, A and laid off the calcium supp that this blockage can be reversed? I would be a good guinea pig for a K2 study.
I am also laying off sugars and processed foods, dr put me on statins but my knees started hurting so I quit.
Clear this up for me too, of MK-4 or MK-7, which one is for artery health ?
Also, there is 2-year K2 study by NCBI called VITAK_CAC that I am waiting to see their results. DO you know about it ?
Hi again, Jim – I am neither authorized nor qualified to practice medicine in the state of California (where I live and our company is located), so I cannot answer some of your medical questions. Please understand that it is a regulatory requirement and not an unwillingness to help. Having said that, I am more than happy to discuss the science behind Vitamin K2 and nutrition.
Taking a multivitamin/calcium pill is poor insurance against many illnesses, not because multis and calcium do no good, but because multivitamins are a shotgun approach to filling in nutritional gaps and what you took may not be what your body needs. Multis almost always contain the wrong amount of the wrong type of nutrient. There is some evidence that calcium in the absence of K2, D3, and A may end up hurting people. Calcium without a doubt will get deposited in soft tissues in a K2 deficient state. A much better approach is to have a dietitian and Integrative Medicine MD analyze your diet and deficiency symptoms, and evaluate your genetic predisposition to certain conditions and THEN suggest a diet and supplement routine to address the needed issues. But, seriously, how many of us go through that trouble so we can take the right supplements?
BOTH MK-4 and MK-7 have a strong impact on heart and artery health. It is false and possibly dangerous to think that only MK-7 can help. Research on MK-4 has slowed down. The rate of new and positive science building under MK-7 is both comforting and impressive. But the reason that MK-7 gets so much more attention is that it is being driven by two things: 1) commercial interests and 2) longer half-life. There are new and patented ways to manufacture MK-7 and the companies that own the patents are funding a lot of research. Thanks to the safety profile of MK-7, the dosages used in studies continue to go up. The VitaK-CAC study that you mention uses 360 mcg of MK-7. This study is partially funded by an MK-7 manufacturer. More here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663571/ There have already been other studies along these lines at similar doses. What you need to take away from these studies is that higher MK-7 doses appear safe and something you may want to consider. But I would not dismiss MK-4 at all. I’d also strongly recommend that you take 3000 mg of Omega-3 daily, along with 400 mg Magnesium, a B-complex, 100 mg CoQ10 along with your D3, K2, and A. If you want to take a multi in addition to all that, that’s fine. Completely laying off sugar, juices, processed grains, junk foods, cereals, and basically anything with flour will help. Replace your diet with one that contains a lot of veggies and fiber.
What are your thoughts on this Basic Bone Nutrients product by Thorne Research?
It’s fairly new & seems fairly containing. My Vitamin D is low so I am planning to take 2 tablets a day of this product along with 6 drops a day of the Thorne Vitamin D3 / K2 liquid.
Hi Shameer – the problem with multi-ingredient formulas like this is that one size never fits all. It has 500 IU of D3, which is not enough to nudge up your serum D3 levels. It has 45 mcg of K2 as MK-7, which is about half to a third of what I prefer. It is missing MK-4. Calcium and Magnesium are inadequate. All in all, you’d need 3 or 4 of these pills a day, spread out over the day. Even then, you may need additional D3 if you are trying to correct a deficiency.
I enjoy tremendously reading your insights. I find them both very knowledgable and also caring. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.
I would love to read more of you, if you care to share what is that “another blog” you’ve mentioned?
Thanks so much
Thank you, Tom. Here are two posts by a guest author that we published before this one:
I’m a post-menopausal female and after a bad accident three months ago when I fractured my wrist and femur I was informed by the surgeon who had to give me a complete hip replacement and pin my wrist back together that I have osteoporosis. He has given me a prescription for a drug called Prolia and told me if I take the recommended six monthly injection plus calcium supplements I should be able to stabilise my condition. I did some reading about Prolia and discovered that the majority of users suffer terrible debilitating side effects giving them a poor quality of life. I’m scared of further fractures but not prepared to risk Prolia so I’m looking for an alternative healthier way to treat my osteoporosis and read that calcium + D3 + K2 + magnesium + daily exercise is an effective combination.
Previously I lived in the Middle East where its generally too hot to go out in daylight and developed a Vit D deficiency which was eventually diagnosed and corrected by my doctor there. I now Iive in Southern Spain which is cooler and sunny year round and I’m getting regular exposure to the sun. I also found out that the Omeprazol I’ve been taking many years to control acid reflux is possibly inhibiting calcium absorption. I can’t live without this medication so I’ve switched my diet to a healthier and more calcium rich one and ordered some Citracal Maximum calcium supplements recommended for those taking antacids. The dosage is 630mg elemental calcium citrate and 500iu Vit D as cholecalciferol twice daily.
I’m now researching K2 which has happily brought me to your very informative webpage and would like to ask for your advice on a suitable combination and intake for my condition and a supplement that would provide it.
Thank you so much,
Hi Gail – first, I’m glad you’re still here…because the accident could have been worse.
As for your osteoporosis, it is a disease and medical condition and so, must be addressed by your doctor. I cannot officially offer you help. K2 is not a replacement for Prolia. Having said that, you are headed in the right direction. The combination Calcium (no more than 500 mg or so at a time) + K2 (a combination of MK-4 and MK-7. About 500 to 1000 mcg of the former and 100 to 200 mcg of the latter should do.) + D3 (most people need 4000 IU per day during winter months to maintain optimal levels), and of course Magnesium (about 400 mg of elemental Mg) together should help strengthen bones. It won’t happen overnight or even in a couple of months. But regular intake over a couple of years should make a difference.
As for Omeprazole, ooh boy, this drug is meant for short-term use. Chronic use has a laundry list of side effects too long to list here. Omeprazole is usually a sign that diet is off its rails. Eliminating sugar, grain, and flour is a start. But I’d talk to an Integrative Medicine MD near you and/or a dietitian who specializes in whole food eating plan.
Hi Vin. I am wondering if there exists any contraindication for taking the various alternative blood thinners such as Lumbrokinase, Serrapeptase, Nattokinase along with K2? I have hypercoagulability and taking lumbrokinase 3x daily to thin my blood. Does lumbrokinase (or the other 2) interfere with K2 mechanism in the body the same way that pharmaceutical blood thinners do? As an aside, I have been taking the lumbrokinase for about a month and have noticed a marked decrease in dental plaque.
Hi Thea – lumbrokinase is a fibrinolytic enzyme, which does not interfere with K2. Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme, so again, no known interference with K2. Nattokinase is another protein digesting enzyme that has similar actions to lumbrokinase. Nattokinase is actually found together with K2 in Natto, fermented soybeans, consumed in Japan. These enzymes do not work the same way that standard prescription medical blood thinners work. Given your condition, I would check with your doctor before you make any changes to your supplement routine.
Does Now still use hexane to extract their oils. This is a concern of mine as I’ve used Now products for years after breast cancer surgery.
Hi Betty – I don’t know. They have a good customer service department. If the person answering the phone does not know the answer, they do transfer you to people who know.
Hi there, I’m also interested in taking this product during pregnancy. At the moment we are starting IVF. My prenatal has 50 mcg of mk-7. If I add your formula, my mk-7 would be 150mcg. I just wanted to make sure that dosage isn’t to high. Of course I’ll run it by my fertility doctor. I have a feeling they are going to say not to take it without even considering it. In which case, I may look to take it before treatment and again after a positive pregnancy test when I can consult an OB. Still, I was wanting your opinion on dose. Thank you!
Hi Lara – check with your doctor on dosage…although 150 mcg is fairly standard dose these days, as clinical research is being conducted on 360 mcg. But here is something you need to know: MK-7 doesn’t help a lot with developing fetus. It does cross the blood-brain barrier. Only MK-4 does. There is a paragraph about this in the article above. MK-7 is still good for you (the adult), but MK-4 is what helps the developing fetus.
It’s about time prenatals starting including K2. But ironic that they went with the MK-7 form. Can you please share the name of the brand you are using? Also, make sure you are getting enough choline – another thing prenatals desperately need but virtually all of them lack. More here on what you might need when you get to pregnancy: https://omegavia.com/fish-oil-during-pregnancy/
Thanks for the info! For the past few years I took Carlson labs k2 (Mk-4) quite regularly — but my fertility doctor didn’t know much about it so she wasn’t keen on me taking it. At that time, I was taking mk-4 for oral health, but I discontinued taking them when I started the prenatals. The prenatals I’ve been taking are Garden of life Vitamin Code RAW prenatal and New Chapter Perfect prenatal. Neither contain Mk-4, but both have Mk-7. I’m hoping to get the go ahead with an mk-4 supplement though, not just for the health of a potential baby, but mine as well. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis when I was just 15 on account of anorexia. I’m not sure where my bones are today at 33, but I do have a dexa scan planned in the near future. Despite being quite healthy for the past 7 years or so, I’m concerned my bones may not be quite recovered. I really want to have a healthy and active pregnancy without complications. Still my bones definitely went through many years of not being properly looked after. I don’t have any symptoms of osteoporosis today, I’m quite active and eat a very nutrient dense diet so I’m hoping I’m not in too bad of shape.
*just thought I should not, the reason we are currently undergoing Ivf has to do with male infertility, nothing to do with an old eating disorder. All my hormones look quite great! They found my TSH level was a little high at 6 and needs to drop a little, but all my other numbers are right where they need to be. So far, we’ve been told we are easy compared to most couples who come in. I just want to make sure I’m doing all I can to ensure a healthy pregnancy. I appreciate the link to the DHA info. For the last month, I’ve been taking Nordic Naturals prenatal DHA… any thoughts on that product? Prior to this, I was taking Nutigold triple strength omega for multiple years.
Hi again, Lara – have your partner take the following: DHA, Pycnogenol, CoQ10, Vitamin C and a regular multivitamin that contains good amounts of B vitamins and trace minerals. And, yes, K2 as well. And definitely cut out sugar and junk food! It takes about 90 days to improve motility and count. Both Nutrigold and Nordic are fine. You now have this too: https://shop.omegavia.com/products/omegavia-dha-600?variant=14633178183
Hi Lara – I’m glad you’re here. And I’m glad you’re reading up on this stuff. Please re-read the part about K2 and pregnancy. You were doing the right thing by taking MK-4. I think you should bring this up with your doctor again. It is important. BTW, did you notice any improvement in your oral health with MK-4?
Fertility and your baby’s health is very closely tied to nutrition, sun exposure, activity, etc.
I plan to bring up the K2 mk-4 again, specifically to help protect my bones during pregnancy and help any growing baby. I was thinking of adding your k2 supplement, and maybe even a drop or two of the Thorne K2 for extra mk-4. I appreciate your recommendations for my husband. Unfortunately, our infertility problems are what they are. My husband had testicular cancer in 2011, so we are using banked sperm. It was truly this event though that got us both on a healthy path. In taking care of him, I learned to take care of myself. We eat a plant heavy diet, with organic meat and wild seafood as a bonus. As for my teeth, they improved a lot! They become whiter and brighter. I originally learned about the supplement when reading about vegan diets, and the benefit of adding k-2.
Hi Lara – if you are taking the Carlson MK-4 item, them adding the InnovixLabs product will have you fully covered on both MK-4 and MK-7. No need to add a third source of MK-4.
Understood on the infertility situation. If the cancer scare from 7 years ago has now brought you two to a healthier place, then, that was the silver lining. Your diet sounds great. I wish you two the best.
Thanks, Vin. Any preference between Thorne or Carlsons for mk-4? I was wondering if Thorne might be better absorbed.
Hi Lara – I’d expect no difference in absorption. Choice is personal preference. Thorne is liquid and so, easier to take. Five drops of Thorne = 1 capsule from Carlsons. In the long run, Thorne is a better value because it will take you a LONG time to use up the Thorne liquid K2.
Excellent article. But very frustrating!
I’ve tried ordering on your site and
Amazon but neither will send to Australia! For goodness sake, it 2018 how hard can it be?
It would seem OK for personal use. Have a read.
I can buy this product on ebay via ‘sharks’ who are charging $27 plus $22 postage!!
Looks like a great product, how about finding an agent and expand you business in the land downunder.
Hi Edward – on behalf of InnovixLabs, my sincere apologies. Amazon won’t ship abroad from the US because of ‘regulatory issues.’ We, well, don’t have an excuse. The InnovixLabs.com site will be configured to accept orders from several countries, including Australia, in another month or so. In the meantime, shipments to Australia/NZ are being manually processed by Customer Service. They’ll be in touch with you.
The TGA does a great job safeguarding your fellow citizens, but securing regulatory approval for bulk exports to Australia is…it’s impolite to say those things in public.
The company that makes MenaQ7 K2 has introduced what they call a “full spectrum” Vitamin K2 that contains Vitamin K2 (MK) 6, 7, 8, 9. Any plans to introduce this in your Vitamin K2 supplement?
Hi Shameer – we’ve been discussing this ingredient with them for a while. It’s mostly MK-7 with small amounts of 6, 8, and 9. It takes a long time to establish ingredient/formula stability. If everything checks out, we’ll consider including this in our formula.
I was very concerned about innovixlabs k2 product…the label says made in USA…but on Amazon product questions and answers innovix answered a question concerning where the ingredients are made…the label says USA but they said the mk-4 was made in China…so should the label say 1/2 made in USA…personally I try very hard not to put anything in my body or my family that is made in China…I am very disappointed…I guess all labeling has to be suspect…sad very sad.
Hi Jerry – I understand and share your concern. We’ve always been upfront about the sources of all ingredients. If you review even a few of the nearly 300 comments above, you’ll find that frank talk and open disclosure is a part of our culture and approach. Country of origin is a subject that comes up from time to time on our websites and when customers call our customer service line. We will always openly share this information.
MK-7 is made in USA. MK-4 is made in China. The gelatin used to make the capsule is from Brazil and Argentina. The olive oil in which the K2 is dissolved is from USA. Per labeling regulations, a product’s ‘Made in’ status is different from the origin of a specific ingredient within the product. The ‘Made in’ status is where the substantial portion of the value of the product originates. That would clearly be USA. It is virtually impossible these days to manufacture or buy a dietary supplement with a single country of origin – for example: every single multivitamin on the market will contain ingredients from several countries including China, as there are no Vitamin C manufacturers left in America. For what it’s worth, the new version of our Vitamin K2 product label does not say ‘Made in USA’ and innovixlabs.com website reflects this as well. Instead, when space on the label permits, we declare the country of origin of each ingredient.
Having said all that, MK-4 is not available from anywhere else but China. There is no other source. Most products on the market contain MK-7 made in India. However, science shows that MK-4 should be the predominant form of K2 in our diet. Given this scenario, we have a highly reliable and trustworthy source for MK-4. The MK-4 manufacturer is required by U.S. law to meet the same safety standards as suppliers in the U.S. or any other country. Still, both the raw material and the finished product are verified for purity and potency in our lab and as well as a third-party lab to ensure purity and potency.
Dr Cicero Coimbra believes that K2 should be taken 12 hours away from D3 link to article. http://www.vitamindprotocol.com/the-vitamin-k2-revolution.html
The reasoning is they both vie for same receptor site(s). Does K2 use the same receptor sites and/or pathways as D3 and therefore should they be taken 12 hrs apart for optimal efficacy?
I’m a certified nutritionist and certified enzyme therapist and need to know these particulars in order to recommend the best protocol.
Looking forward to your answer.
Hi Trish –
I’ve not be able to find any compelling evidence that supports the notion that D3 and K2 should be taken a few hours apart.
If you’re on an extremely low-fat diet, absorption may be compromised. But for the rest of us, dietary fat is not a bottleneck as the link in your comment suggests. The Coimbra link does not provide reference to back up the statement.
D3 and its downstream metabolites are transported using an alpha globulin protein. This is a high capacity system and is unlikely to be bottlenecked in any way. D3 also has multiple receptor sites. So, I don’t see how the argument hold. It’s not immediately obvious (to me) how these to interdependent molecules may competitive inhibit each other at receptor sites. Still, I’ve reached out to the authors of the studies linked below. If I hear otherwise, I will post it here. Until then, I’d go with taking 500 to 1000 mcg of MK-4 daily. All the other MKs can be taken in smaller amounts. Instead of focusing on WHEN to take D3 and K, I’d suggest simply taking K2 with D3 and A.
Hi, Vin Kutty,
I want to know whether K2 MK-4 has also an TRANS and CIS form, can’t find that anywhere. As I found a product with D3 from Lichen, MK-4, MK-7 both claiming to be all TRANS. Or is it just limited to long chain lengths like MK-7, 8, 9? Besides, if there is an CIS and TRANS form of MK-4, it would seem that the Japanese study uses CIS as it’s in pretty high dosage to be effective.
Hi The Fat Lover – MK-4 is also in the trans form. You’re right, not much talk of MK-4 being cis or trans. It’s not expressly stated whether Japanese studies used cis of trans form.
Thanks for that, I emailed Thorne Research, as they have a K2 liquid drops that can technically last a life time. And they said all their K2 are in CIS, so I’m definitely not getting their K2 MK-7, but what about MK-4, since it’s a short chain, perhaps maybe the body can convert it easier to TRANS from CIS? Any data in this?
Hi The Fat Lover – Thorne is a good company. Yes, they are our competitors, but I am going to come to their defense and say that your customer service person mis-spoke or mis-typed. I’m guessing the person meant all-trans. Both consumers (and believe it or not!) and the supplement industry are just becoming aware of the cis/trans K2 issue. Fortunately, once aware, companies are doing the right thing by selling the nature-identical form of K2. As for MK-4, I have only seen the trans form available.
Perhaps, they’ve just switched and some of their products was still in CIS? I didn’t use trickery in my question to them, I was pretty frank. Besides, many companies still sell D-Ascorbic Acid rather L-Ascorbic Acid. So it’s not possible to have a CIS MK-4, or just needs a lot of chemical for that change.
This is what they said: “Our vitamin K products are all Cis, no Trans. They are both produced via a chemical synthesis process. No solvents except alcohol are used.
Our Vitamin D is derived from lanolin, which is converted into vitamin D and purified.”
Anyways, you’ve got a nice competitor especially for the MK-4. Besides, how much K1 does our body converts to MK-4, a source mentioned 10%, but is that based on percentage or just limited in amounts. If I were to eat Kale and get 1000 mcg of K1, would I get 100 mcg of MK-4 or is that TOO high.
I can’t address the Cis/Trans issues from that company any more than I have.
As for converting K1 to MK-4. We are capable of it. It happens in liver tissues and possibly some microbial conversion as well. How much and how well does K1 and MK-7 get converted to MK-4? That’s a good question. We don’t have a clear answer. We don’t even know what enzyme is responsible for that conversion. We don’t know how much impact microbiome dysbiosis influences this. We don’t know how much nutritional insufficiency influences this either, but we think zinc and magnesium deficiencies can bottleneck this process – and we know that most adults are borderline low in magnesium intake. But we do know that several statin drugs prevent this conversion from K1 to K2. Population studies that show high K1 intake does not show a corresponding increased K2 status and subsequent improved cardiac status. So there must be something that prevents the high K1 consumption from getting converted to K2.
So, the take home message (especially for vegans who believe all the K2 they need can come from K1) is that you probably still need some K2 in the MK-4 form from elsewhere in your diet.
And btw, I’m thinking why the Dutch are tall :). I believe in their diets, though now it’s worse. But in the 60s 80s… they have lots of MK-4, as their cows are pretty much grass-fed. And since they spent a lot of time in the sun too, they should get sufficient D3, and they also consume a LOT of cheese. So I’ll assume the older generation of dutch used to consume 1100 to 1500mg of calcium a day? Though we don’t need that much… and have probably 5000 to 7000 IU of D3, based on the time spent outdoors, and UV as well as light skin. And they probably have 200 mcg of MK-4, 300 mcg of MK-8, 9 a day. Which I believe allowed them to grow seriously tall. What are you thoughts on it.
It’s a fun topic. Increased height among the Dutch and their K2-rich cheese consumption has crossed my mind. Also interesting to note is that most K2 research was pioneered there.
Was hoping in the near future you might create a pharmaceutical dose. There is one other brand out there that I’m aware of that does, but I would prefer yours for those of us who need it for heart disease, and that take a statin, & also large amounts of Vit D3. Thank you
Hi Stacey – I am not aware of a pharmaceutical dose for MK-7. Doses used in most studies on MK-7 can be reached with one or two capsules of our product. MK-4 is sold as pharmaceutical drug in Japan, for osteoporosis, at much higher doses than we offer. We have no plans to offer that much MK-4 because because 500 to 1000 micrograms of MK-4 is able to provide significant support to your health. If you’re focused on supporting your heart health, take two capsules a day – that’s what I do. As for D3, that depends on several factors, depending on your serum levels, amount of sun exposure, time of year, your diet etc. It’s best to measure your blood D level and tailor your dosage with your doctor’s help. On average people need about 4000 IU per day, but that’s on average – it may not apply to you. Someone’s who works at a desk all day may require a lot more by the end of winter than, say, a lifeguard.
I have been taking 10000 iu’s of Vit D along with the Innovix Vit k2 and a Mag glycinate daily. My D levels have been low for a couple of years, and supplementing with D alone weren’t bringing them up to desirable levels. Now that I’ve been taking these 3 supplements, my D levels are up to 65 at last test (in May). I just recently saw a GI specialist for problems relating to my gall bladder removal, and she said I should come off of the Vit K right away as it could cause blood clotting. I know that there is some concern in taking Vit K if you are on blood thinners, but any danger if you aren’t? I have read through all the comments and am trying to understand all the different factors in supplementing with K. Any info you can give me, with links if possible, are appreciated. My regular doctor is aware of the different supplements I’m taking, it was the specialist that was concerned. Thanks!
Hi Amy – Vitamin K2, if taken at higher than 50 micrograms per day (or thereabout) can interfere mildly with blood thinning medications. Ki can interfere much more with blood thinners. If you are not on these medications, there are no known blood clotting risks if you follow label directions. Still, I suggest you go with your doctor’s advise. If you decide to stop K2, you may want to reduce your D3 levels. Taking that much D3 without K2 and A may cause issues your doctor may not be able to pinpoint.
Hi Vin. I seem to have a problem with MK-4. Just one drop of the Thorne formulation gives me painful muscle cramps in the backs of my legs; thighs, behind knees & calves. I’m thinking it might be a reaction to the Nightshade source of synthetic MK-4. Any recommendations for an alternate source of MK-4. Would HVBO give me enough MK-4 to be effective? I’ve also considered dessicated liver supplements, but because I’m menopausal, I fear iron overload. Does anyone manufacture a synthetic MK-4 that is not derived from a Nightshade source? Thanks, Thea
Hi Thea – given how sensitive you appear to be to MK-4 supplements, I suggest you look to food sources listed in the article above. I don’t like fermented cod liver oil or butter oils because they don’t seem to disclose how much K2 one serving contains.
Hi vin, thanks for your good wepsite. I love reading your writing.
I recently take vitaminD 4,000 IU everyday.
And I want to determine the dose of vitamin A.
January 9, 2018 you said
“or if I don’t eat foods rich in A and E, I supplement with it once or twice a week.”
And in another article’s reply, you said
“Also, you don’t need that much Vitamin A daily, a few times a week is fine. ”
Does this mean that I should take vitamin A 20,000IU at a time twice a week ?
or take A 70,000 IU at a time ( 20,000 * 7 / 2 = 70,000) twice a week?
And I read that vitamin A should not be taken with vitamin D. Is it right?
But if I eat vitamin D in the morning and vitamin A in the evening, I heard that vitamin
A interferes with sleep… Is it right? How much vitamin A can disrupt sleep?
I’d like to set a time for vitamin A.
Hi Jay – how much Vitamin A you supplement with depends on your diet. Without an intimate understanding of your diet, I cannot tell you how much Vitamin A you might need. But I feel fairly confident in saying that if you took 20,000 IU once or twice a week, you’d meet most of your needs.
When I supplement, I take my A, D3, K2, and E complex together with a meal. I don’t see a reason to separate A and D3. Vitamin A supplements do not disrupt sleep if taken at recommended levels. Keep in mind that Vitamin A is critical for maintaining a healthy sleep/wake cycle.
Thank you very much for your kind reply.
Your suggestion is very useful for me!
I’m steroid dependent as of two years ago due to secondary adrenal insufficiency (SAI) due to an inflamed pituitary. I have started fracturing and have bulging discs, and kyphosis since last Oct. It started overnight with no trauma. I’ve lost 3 inches in height this year. I lost 1 inch prior to that due to Osteopenia. My bone density score was 2.6 going on two years ago, but according to a recent x-rays the bones are in really bad shape due to light grey bones vs dark grey bones, so my condition has escalated. I have 11 fractures and bulging discs now according to MRI reports. The fractures went undiagnosed for 6 mths until this spring when my new Neurosurgeon discovered the first fracture in a disc from 6 mths earlier from the E.R. They sent me home saying my back pain was muscular. My Neurosurgeon sent me for another MRI and discovered several more fractures of the spine. The bulging discs in S1-L5 were in the radiology report from the E.R., but I discovered that when I got the radiology report from the E.R. The Kyphosis puts a lot of pressure on my lower back and belly. It’s too late to do kyphoplasty, but I am leery of that. I don’t wish to do bone drugs.
I’ve been taking Healthy Origins Vit D 5,000 IU for many years now due to low Vit D. What do you think of Healthy Origins Vit D? I take magnesium every day, a good quality B complex with folate since I have a mild MTHFR defect. I also take sublingual B12 Hydroxycobalamin, (I have anemia off and on and enlarged blood cells) and take zinc. I take high doses of Vit C crystals 3 x per day to help build collagen. I’ve been taking collagen powder, but wonder if that’s a good choice since I haven’t been taking K2. I’ve added Starwest Botanicals turmeric powder along with pepper for inflammation.
Do you think Starwest Botanicals is safe? It comes from India. I’m taking 1/2 teaspoon per day of turmeric along with 1/4 teaspoon of Vit C crystals in powdered form and 1/8 teaspoon of organic cayenne powder, pepper and 1 Tablespoon of Braggs ACV 3 x per day before meals.
I wonder if all these years of Vit D per day has contributed to my bone density problems. I now realize that I need Vit K2, in both forms.
Steroids don’t help, but they convert to cortisol and my cortisol levels were only .5 mg prior to SAI diagnosis, and I had lost 35 lbs which made me look like I had anorexia. I was having multiple A-Fibrillation attacks prior to my SAI diagnosis. That is now stable, but I still have tacchycardia attacks when my cortisol drops too low. I updose my steroids when I have tacchycardia and it goes away.
I’m in a lot of pain when walking and getting comfortable is difficult. I practically live in my recliner with my heating pad. I can’t seem to get into an exercise regime due to limited mobility and low energy. Steroids have not improved my QOL. I’ve had
CFS and FM since 1995. I’m now almost 59. SAI is much worse than CFS. The Epstein Barr virus triggered CFS and FM. I also have a mouth full of mercury.
My budget is limited due to disability income and no financial help, so if you can help me to eliminate things and add the most important things like K2 I would really appreciate that. I have Medicare/Medicaid, so seeing a Dr out of pocket is impossible.
I know I’m asking a lot, but feel you can help me if I’m not overwhelming you with TMI.
Finding your blog with all of these Q & A has convinced me that if I had taken K2 sooner I may not have this collapsing spine.
I have been reading for days and thanks for clarifying that the Japanese study using 45 mg of K2 MK-4 is not necessary. You have so much common sense and provide logical and easy to understand explanations about using much lower doses of K2 MK-4, and MK-7.
You are so generous in offering to help us free of charge. You deserve to be rewarded by your higher power. I’m trying to avoid the subject of religion because I respect your own beliefs.
Hi Jeanna – you’ve been dealt a lot! It can’t be easy. Before I answer your specific questions, may I suggest you work with an Integrative Medicine MD in your area? If insurance and finances do not permit, at least consider an Integrative Medicine dietitian who could help optimize nutrient intake.
Healthy Origins Vitamin D – yes, this is fine.
Starwest Botanicals – they are fine too, but I’d rather you take a Curcumin extract rather than powdered Turmeric.
Vitamin D in high doses for long periods of time without adequate Vitamin A, K2, Magnesium and the other cofactors may cause some issues. I’m not saying that is the root cause of all the issues. What doesn’t cause bone issues is if you get all your Vitamin D from the sun. It’s free and you cannot overdose on D from the sun. The form of D made by the skin is superior to what’s in supplements and may have other benefits. Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia can be partially managed with dietary and lifestyle intervention – this is why I strongly recommend working with a dietitian who follows general Integrative Medicine guidelines. At first, it’d be mostly a drastic dietary change. You’re going to hate it. That’s OK. After a couple of months, you’ll start seeing benefits, which will give you the momentum you need to change activity and sun exposure levels.
It’d be silly to say that taking Vitamin K2 will fix all of this. It won’t. If you’re deficient (likely), then it will help correct the deficiency. But the inadequacy of K2 is not why you’re here today. It sounds like there are multiple causes and you need professional (of some kind) to help you navigate and triangulate to the root causes.
In the meantime, see if you can get a copy of this book: https://www.amazon.com/Make-Disease-Disappear-Rangan-Chatterjee/dp/0062846345
I’m not a doctor, but what you have doesn’t seem like “normal” osteoporosis. Something is out of whack and it appears to be much more serious than a lack of K2. Your low energy and weight loss caused me to think maybe it’s your thyroid. Then I recalled you mentioning your inflamed pituitary. It turns out “the thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland.” After a little research, here’s what I found:
“What is the link between thyroid disease and osteoporosis?
Thyroid hormone affects the rate of bone replacement. Too much thyroid hormone (i.e. thyroxine) in your body speeds the rate at which bone is lost. If this happens too fast the osteoblasts may not be able to replace the bone loss quickly enough. If the thyroxine level in your body stays too high for a long period or the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level in your body stays too low for a long period then there is a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. There is also some evidence that people with low TSH levels may lose bone at a faster rate than those with normal TSH levels even when the blood thyroxine measurement is within the normal range, but this is still being studied.”
TSH is a pituitary hormone
“Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine (T4), and then triiodothyronine (T3) which stimulates the metabolism of almost every tissue in the body.”
Yes, I would say this is worth checking into.
could you reccomend me a brand of cod fish oil (liquid) to buy in Europe ?
Hi Michele – the only European cod liver oil brand I am familiar with is Seven Seas.
Hello, thank you for this article. I’m searching for vit K2 for my Mom. She’s 68years old, was diagnosed osteopenia, so the doctor suggest high dose of Calcium (carbonate) and vit D3, without K2 (in Indonesia, mostly we never heard about vit K2). Now, she’s diagnosed with aorta calsification. Would you please suggest what vit K2 and the dossage ? And does she still need to take vit D3 ?
Hi Sherly – Calcium and D3, along with weight bearing exercises are typical recommendations for improving bone strength. But you will also need Magnesium and Vitamin K2. K2 is also important for arterial health. Dosage for arterial health is 180 micrograms (mcg) daily of K2 as MK-7. Newer studies have used higher doses like 360 mcg without issues. The body has an independent need for D3, but I’ll let her doctor dictate how much. Typically, it is 4000 to 5000 IU per day of D3. If cultural norms prevent full body sun exposure, then it becomes even more critical to supplement with D3.
Sorry for late reply, it tooks time to searching in tons of comments. Really appreciate you still answering, thank you! It’s hard to find vit K2 here, finally i got Nature’s Way Osteo-K vit K2 180mcg. Is it good? Since the diagnosa, she’s afraid to take Calcium and D3. But i tried to give her Anchor butter/Gouda hard cheese for calcium. Is it enough? Since our country is tropical, i think we didn’t need vit D supplement? Btw, what is weight bearing excercise? FYI, she had scoliosis too, and high LDL.
I can’t trust doctor here..1st doctor don’t even talk about K2, 2nd just said K2 is good but doesnt help much, and told my Mom to stay away from any cholesterol such eggs & coconut milk.
Hi Sherly – I am not familiar with the brand of K2 you mentioned. Butter does not contain calcium, but cheese usually does. You will need to work with a dietitian near you to nail down the details of her diet.
Many thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’ve a couple of questions and I’m hoping that you will see this comment and answer.
1. Which of the two forms of K2, MK-4 or MK-7, would be more effective in dealing with dental cavities? As much as I would like to buy your brand of K2, being a vegetarian (mainly plant based with small amount of whole grains) I’m looking at other options. I’m on a budget and want to limit my shopping only to the most necessary supplements.
2. Is it necessary to supplement with D3, even if I spend time under the sun? I live in India and this is not a problem at all.
3. Are there any co-factors absolutely necessary for K2 to be effective? I’m currently taking Magnesium and Boron.
Hi Deepak – we don’t have enough concrete evidence to show which if the K2 forms help with dental cavities.
Unless you are spending a couple of hours a day in the sun, you are probably not making enough D3 in your skin. Get your D level checked and supplement per your doctor’s instructions.
K2 works in tandem with D3, and Vitamin A. Those are the two key cofactors to keep in mind.
I know the source of MK-4 is synthetic but bio identical. What is it actually derived from?
Hi Chante – the raw material for making MK-4 are usually leaves and geranium petals. I suppose it could be called ‘natural’ due to the starting material, but we choose not to until the FDA has provided clear guidance on what can and cannot be called natural. The process of making MK-4 from vegetable matter is almost the same as making MK-7 from soy powder or chickpea (garbanzo) powder. Even though the manufacturing process is virtually the same, MK-7 is often called natural. I’m not sure why that is…must be a marketing decision.
Hi Vin. You mention that there is an MK4 that is made from geranium petals & leaves? What is this brand/contact info for manufacturer?
I’m desperately seeking a source of MK4 that is NOT made from tobacco or tobacco leaves, or any other Nightshade source. I have a severe sensitivity to Nightshades.
Thanx so much. You are an invaluable resource. Thea
Hi Thea – as of now (2018/2019), I am not aware of any MK-4 producer that guarantees 100% geranium petal sourced raw material. We know geranium is widely used, but they may occasionally use tobacco, other nightshade, or any other leaves or petals that contain geraniol and/or farnesol, the two natural components needed to begin MK-4 production. Unfortunately, there is currently no widespread demand for geranium-only MK-4. If there is a big enough market for it, I am certain someone will begin offering a geranium-based MK-4, but I don’t see that happening in the next few years.
You may want to look into a drug called Glakay. It is sold in Japan (with a prescription) and it is 15 mg MK-4 per pill. However, I do not know if it is nightshade free.
Hi Vin – Many folks are using Cod Liver Oil and Emu Oil together for the Vitamin A/D/K synergy. I think this is a valid approach if you can find good products that don’t go rancid and oxidize. There are good products out there. Emu Oil will contain about 5 mcg/g of Vitamin K2 MK4. At the recommended dosage of 6 g per day, this will provide about 30 mcg of MK4. This is far below the amount you are recommending (500-1000 mcg). However, this seems to be the most concentrated MK4 food found in nature. One would have to eat enormous amounts of hard cheeses, egg yolks, chicken liver, etc to reach that goal. Some of the new health protocols are saying that these large doses are only necessary when taking in an isolated supplement, and the body’s utilization of the vitamin will be far superior in a synergistic food blend. I do value your products (I use many of them), but I try to exercise caution when taking a single nutrient in isolation in a large dose. I feel this can create further imbalances in the body over time. What are your thoughts on this topic and what do you think is the most practical solution?
Hi Joe – foods are always a better source of nutrition (and pleasure!) than pills. Cod liver oil can be a good source of A and D if you can find a source that has not had its A and D removed. Most of the drug store variety cod liver oil pills have A added back. The issue with CLO is what you mentioned – anything that has A and D may be oxidized. Unless CLO has been tested for purity, oxidation parameters, and environmental contaminants by some organization, like, say, IFOS, I am not touching it. If it passes, I will happily take it.
Emu oil has potential. It does contains a little MK-4 form of K2, but only very little. Hard to find fatty goose liver (Foie Gras), but that’s where I’d look first. Butter from cows that recently ate rapidly growing green grass is a great source, and so is pastured egg yolks, and liver. Chicken dark meat is a surprisingly good source. These are your practical solutions, possibly with a little Emu oil, again, if you can confirm quality.
Taking a single nutrient in isolation and in very large doses is, well, artificial. That’s why it’s better to get nutrients from real foods. Having said that, there is no scientific merit in saying 100 mcg of MK-4 from foods is better than 500 mcg from a pill. MK-4 is MK-4 – it is extremely well absorbed, regardless of source. Now, calcium, that’s a different story. A lot of calcium without magnesium, D3, K2, boron etc, is not a good idea. With K2, what you need to make sure is that you get enough D3 and A with it. The foods I mention in the paragraph above contain K2, along with A. Eat it outside in the sun…and you’re good to go!
Vin, is it safe for a patient with advanced atherosclerosis, who has atrial fibrillation and had a stroke and heart attack, and is on Eliquis 5.0mg/day to take MK-4 and MK-7? Clearly his arteries need K2. But what about the fact that this patient is prone to clotting (given his a-fib)? I assume that K2 would further promotes clotting? Would Eliquis counterbalance that? What do you think? Thanks!
Hi Lydia – if you’re under medical care, then, you must discuss this with your doctor before you make a decision to take Vitamin K1 or K2. By itself, MK-4 and MK-7 are safe, but both influence blood clotting time. If you were taking Coumadin (Warfarin), then, taking K2, even at 20-50 mcg per day can affect clotting time. However, newer generations of anticoagulants like Eliquis, Pradaxa or Xarelto do not interfere with Vitamin K while providing anticoagulant effects. In other words, Eliquis is not a ‘Vitamin K Antagonist,’ (unlike Coumadin) which means if you’re consistent about eating some Vitamin K1 or K2 rich foods, you may be able to take Eliquis along with K2. Still, check with your doctor before you start taking K1 or K2.
I’ve been taking Life Extension Super K2 for some years then I came across your article with the test results and I changed to Thorne Research, 3-K Complete.
I’ve just learned now that Life Extension has changed the formula of their product and they claim that now it’s all-trans. I e-mailed them for a proof and they sent me lab result from their internal Quality Assurance/Quality Control showing it’s all-trans now.
What do you think about this? Would you trust them? I’m thinking about to switch back to their product.
Hi Andrew – yes, I trust them. Remember, this article was written a few years ago. Life Extension upgraded their formula to all-trans a year or two ago. So, the change is not new. Just curious…why switch from Thorne to Life Extension?
Hi Vin. Your articles are so informative. I’ve learned a lot in my journey of finding good supplements for my family. Yes, I know food is the best source but our diet are currently not ideal. Do you know about the Pure TheraPro Rx Vegan D3 + K2 “Full Spectrum” Drops? It seems to hit all your criteria for a good K2 supplement with bonus Vit D. I’m currently giving this to my 2 years old. From reading their information and reply on the Q&As, their words are very similar, if not identical, to your words here in the article. Is it a coincidence? Thanks
Hi Minh – if their words are ‘identical’ to mine, then, it is probably not a coincidence. Use caution giving drops to 2 year olds. It is very easy to overdose on Vitamin D3. You really need Vitamin A and some E if you are giving a child liquid D3.
Yes, I understand about the risk of overdosing with liquid supplement but it’s easier to give liquid to a 2 years old than tablet/gel. The serving size is 5 drops = 5000 UI D3, 500 mcg MK4, 180 mcg MK7. I only give him one drop a day (1000 UI D3, 100 mcg MK4, 36 mcg MK7). I know for D3 that’s plenty, especially summer is comming but as for MK4 and MK7, is that amount enough? How much Vit A and E should I give him? He drinks organic grass-fed milk, eat cheese and egg (white and yolk) 2-3 times a week, some vegetables, chicken, red meat, and fish. How much should I give him to cover the base just in case on days he doesn’t eat well? He’s also taking Best Nest Kids Liquid Vitamin (https://www.amazon.com/Best-Nest-L-Methylfolate-Methylcobalamin-Wellness/dp/B072J513XH/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=1TRAOCLOGK8U7&keywords=best+nest+kids+liquid+multi&qid=1557242485&s=gateway&sprefix=best+nest+kids%2Caps%2C355&sr=8-1-fkmrnull) From reading your “Why I’m not taking multivitamin” blog, I know the Vit A in there is not ideal but as for the rest, it seems ok? What do you think? He’s also taking Nordic Nature Omega 3 530 mg and I’m giving him topical Magnesium supplement in a lotion form of Magnesium chloride from Ancient Minerals (40 mg elemental Magnesium per 1ml/full pump press). Is this sufficient? Am I giving him too much supplement? With a toddler’s appetite, I just want to make sure he has all the nutrition his body needs. Thanks
As for us adults, my husband and I just started taking InnovixLabs Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 with MK-7 and MK-4 with Nutrigold 5000 IU D3, 1 tablet each/a day, after we found out our Vit D level at our annual physical exam. Mine was 22 and his was only 10. He was also diagnosed with diabetes with A1C of 7.9. We’re currently changing our diet and start to exercise more in hope of lowering his A1C. Same question as above regarding Vit A and E but for adult. What is a minimum amount you suggest we take to cover days when we don’t eat well? I’m also adding your Omega 3 and Advanced Magnesium to our routine too. Just waiting for them to arrived.
Sorry for the long reply/questions. From reading our your blog, you’re very informative and knowledgeable. I trust your recommendations. Thanks
Hi Minh – one drop a day of the liquid supplement should be fine. No risk with that level. As for A and E, it is, again, best to get from foods and it sounds like the diet is adequate to supply those nutrients. The Omega-3 dosage is fine. I am not sure how effective the topical Magnesium is – best to improve magnesium status with more vegetables.
Nutrigold D3 is a good product. But it can take several months to get your D levels up where they need to be. The response is slow. Typically, if you’re severely deficient, it is OK to take 10,000 or 20,000 IU per day for a week or two then go down to 5000 daily. After 4-6 months, you should be able to go down to 3000 or 4000 IU per day, which is what most people require to stay in the 40-60 range. Also, taking D3 with a meal helps absorption.
For adults, it is difficult to say how much you both need – you will need to work with a certified dietitian or nutritionist. Lately, I take 25,000 IU once or twice a week. Vitamin E is even more complicated – I take Jarrow FamilE two or three times a week.
As for the high A1c, stop all sweets, juice, soda, beer and then reduce anything with grains or flour. Increase vegetables, seafood, healthy fats like olive oil and fish oil, a small amount of nuts and eggs. Limit eating to daylight hours – 8 to 12 hours. No eating 2-3 hours before bed. Combine that with vigorous exercise.
Thank you so much for your reply/suggestions. One last question. You’ve mentioned that Vit A and D can be stored in the body for long time use. So to minimize the number of pills my husband has to take (he doesn’t like taking pills), can I buy the 25,000 IU Vitamin D (Thorne makes one) and have him take it daily for a week or two then goes down to once a week only?
Also, I’m planning to take the Jarrow B right complex which has 400 mcg of folate. I’m not planning to get pregnant yet, not until next year, so is the amount good for general? Can my husband also take it? Thanks.
Hi Minh – if you want to have your husband take 25,000 IU daily for a week and then down to once a week, it’d be better if you alerted his doctor and proceeded with the doctor’s oversight. It would also be better if you knew his CURRENT level. Remember that D3 is a hormone and should be handled with care. It is somewhat mislabeled as a Vitamin. While your plan should be safe, it might help if I shared my own experience: under my doctor’s supervision, I took 20,000 IU daily for two weeks to see what would happen. Of course, I started with blood level around 40 or 50. After two weeks of that, I stopped sleeping. My body simply could not sleep. That lasted a week and it was no fun. My doctor told me that I was in the 1% of the population that responds this way. Will your husband have a similar response? I don’t know. That is why it is best to get D3 from the sun. Next safest way is to take 3000 to 5000 IU per day on a daily basis. Short cuts work for a lot of people, but there is a higher chance of some unknown side effect.
Yes, both of you can take Jarrow B-Right. I don’t take it daily…may be two or three times a week, on days when I don’t eat eggs, liver, or meat.
Great information on your Site about Vit K. Much Appreciated.
Been taking K2 for years, but have recently switched supplier to NOW, and purchased ‘both’ their MK7 and MK4 with the idea of taking each 100mcg Capsule on alternate days. Am now thinking about switching to your brand.
However, two nagging points.
The formulation of my previous supplier of MK7, included Medium Chain Triglycerides, whereas my new supplier (NOW) does not. I’m therefore wondering if the presence of added Medium Chain Triglycerides is critical (to prevent the MK7 from deteriorating in the capsule before its consumed) OR if its presence signifies that the type of K2 is NOT the more desirable Trans Form?
Does your own brand include Medium Chain Triglycerides, if so why – and – if not – why not?
I don’t except you to comment on the NOW brand (though if you can, that’s great) but wondered if you can through any light on why Medium Chain Triglycerides are present in one Formula I was using, but not in the new one I’ve switched to?
Also, I like to purchase using PayPal. Can your brand be purchased using Paypal, direct from you? Do you also sell through iHerb?
Hi Martin, the presence of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) has no significance. Since Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is usually dispersed in an oil. Usually it is MCT or olive oil, or sometimes just coconut oil. In other words, it is a carrier and has no impact on the Vitamin K2.
Yes, the product can be purchased using PayPal, from http://www.innovixlabs.com. The product will be available on iHerb soon, but we don’t know starting when.
Very informative article – thank you!! I’ve recently begun looking into getting more K2 into my son’s diet. He just turned 2. He’s a very picky eater so I would like to supplement. He won’t swallow a pill. Might I be able to break open your capsule and use a dropper to administer it to him? Thanks!
Hi Matt – you could…but it’s a lot of work and the oil is going to likely squirt across the room if you apply a bit too much pressure. If you’re OK with those this issues, then, yes. But a liquid K2 item from Thorne may work well too, but it’s all MK-4 and no MK-7.
I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on consuming Australian Emu oil.
Hi Matt – it’s got a teeny bit of K2. Not enough to justify the hype, at least in some circles.
Hi, I’m afraid you’ve got an error in your article.
You say that Japanese in general consume 230ug of MK-7 per daty, however, the study you refer to, says that Japanese women (n=125) consume 230ug/d of vitamin K (including PK, MK-4 and MK-7) in total. They estimated the amount of MK-7 to be only 57.4ug/d.
Otherwise, really interesting and informative article.
Thank you, Daniel, for the correction. Your point underscores mine: dietary MK-7 consumption is typically much lower than MK-4 in the cuisines of most cultures. Japan is an exception because of their high Natto consumption. Natto consumption is not even across all of Japan, as part of the country consume more than the rest. MK-4 traditionally has been the primary form of K2 in our diets.
I’ve got a high calcium score and cholesterol and have been researching k2 for weeks and found some good articles but yours was by far the most comprehensive and informative. Thanks. Ordered the Full spectrum k-2 as well.
Thanks for your trust, Bill. Keep us posted on how you do. We’ve had a few customers contact us about lowered calcium scores, but we’d love to hear from more of you. Make sure you are topped up on Magnesium and Vitamin D3. One thing is clear though…this seems to be a very slow process. I would not expect much change if you go back to get your calcium score in 2 or 3 months.
For what it’s worth, studies on arterial stiffness (connected to calcium score) are trending towards higher dosages. Studies have used 100 mcg in the past, but since most are industry funded and sponsored, there is self-interest in increasing dosage. So, now, studies are using 180 mcg and even 360 mcg MK-7 per day. A lot of the science is sponsored by a company called NattoPharma, an MK-7 intellectual property owner. As far as we know, there is no risk to taking 180 or 360 mcg of MK-7. If higher doses are shown to work and lower doses are never explored, we will never know the lowest dose at which MK-7 is effective. Kinda sneaky if you ask me, but that’s how research has been going lately.
I came across this site when researching on best form of K2 and have gotten some eye-opening info. Thank you! I am curious about the estrogenic effects of these K2 supplements. I used to consume natto routinely as part of my diet, but have stopped due to estrogen concerns. Do supplements derived from natto still carry these potential estrogenic properties, or are they pretty much reduced to just the vitamin content?
Hi Jenny – K2 is said to modulate estrogen activity. Specifically, it can be a weak estrogen inhibitor by binding some estrogen receptors, thereby lowering the estradiol:estrone ratio. Some of this effect is attributed to K1 too. Now, I must admit…this is theoretical stuff and there isn’t a lot of data to go off. So, I don’t know if this could help improve bone density.
However, I suspect that the ‘estrogen concern’ that you are referring to is a soy phytoestrogen related issue. K2 supplements are not really derived from Natto, even if the manufacturer says so. Soy-derived K2 starts with soy protein as the raw material. Soy protein has very low phytoestrogen content and by the time this is fermented and the K2 isolated, you have virtually zero phytoestrogens. We don’t sell soy-derived K2, but even if we did, I’d say there is no issue with soy-derived K2 supplements.
Is your mk4 and the Thorne research brand mk4 the same? I have been using the Thorne brand drops for the past year but I have noticed that around 3 weeks after opening a new bottle my symptoms start to come back which I can only attribute to the vitamin getting oxidized. So like clockwork, I have to get a new bottle every 3 weeks and barely use a 10th of it before throwing it away and wasting a ton of money. I am thinking of switching over to your brand since it seems you guys use airtight soft gels. I have to say for the 3 weeks that the Thorne bottle does work, it works perfectly and my symptoms all disappear. Is it possible for you to say your mk4 is the same as the mk4 in the Thorne brand and just as effective? Also are your capsules airtight?
Hi Najeeb – both products have MK-4, but I don’t know the raw material source of Thorne’s MK-4. I have not heard anyone with this complaint. If you’re noticing it ‘like clockwork,’ well, then something is going on. Not sure what. Vitamin K2 is light sensitive…is it possible that you are storing the bottle under bright light?
Try the InnovixLabs product and see if it helps.
Yes, our capsules are definitely air tight.
I keep my liquid capsules in the fridge, presuming that they are less likely to turn rancid over time, since such capsules typically have an oil base.
I see you recommend storing your product at room temperature. Is there a downside to storing things in the fridge?
Hi Magnus – no downside to storing supplements in the fridge or freezer. If I’m not planning on using some products (like Omega-3), I may even store it in the freezer. The only issue I see is that if you live in a humid climate, taking the cold capsules out of the fridge and exposing them to the ambient humidity might lead to some condensation on the surface of the capsules, which could cause multiple issues. But storing in the fridge/freezer is not an issue.
Hi, great article. I’ve been reading the links as well, trying to get a better understanding of it all.
I was wondering if you could help clarify something for me…
If my child has an autoimmune disease, and is low in vitamin D, then I want to increase their vitamin D for it’s immune-strengthening effects, right?
But, I am reading that without proper vitamin K2 and magnesium, the D isn’t utilized by the body properly, anyway.
If this is the case, what do you recommend would be proper dosing for a 6 year old child? Of course, I would consult with the doctor before taking any steps, but I would like to know what products you recommend, at what dosage, and why (or links to articles, if you have any).
Until I found this article yesterday, I was all hung-ho about finding a good liquid D and K2 (in MK-7, because that’s what everybody recommends), but now I feel like I’m pretty near the starting point of my research!
Thank you for any help you can give,
Hi Jenny – sorry to set you back in your research! That wasn’t my intent. But sometimes, when you gather tons of info, it can be conflicting and you get data paralysis. Normal.
Vitamins A, D3, and K2 are somewhat interconnected. You can still take each separately without the other, but eventually, if you only take D3 without A or K2, you may run into imbalance issues like calcification. If you get your D3 from the sun (much, much better than from pills), then the risk of overdosing completely goes away.
Having said that, I’d certainly consider adding some Magnesium, A, and K2 along with the D3 supplements.
When my kids were 6, I gave them one of the InnovixLabs K2 two or three times a week along with one 5000 IU capsule of D3 and 25,000 IU of Vitamin A (Now Foods) once a week. Check with your pediatrician, but this is a reasonable dose. No risk or deficiency or overdosing. Make sure you also get MK-4 form of K2. Thorne makes a good liquid MK-4 item. Once the weather gets warm, send the kid out in the sun and play in the dirt.
Also, if you’re dealing with autoimmune disease, STRONGLY consider working with an integrative medicine MD and focus on gut health, gut permeability (leaky gut), prebiotic fibers, stress reduction, food intolerance etc. There are a LOT of things you can do to alleviate the situation. You may not be able to recover 100%, but there’s a lot you can do to beat it back…at least enough to get back some quality of life.
Thank you for all the info. I will definitely check out the products you mentioned and keep up my research from there.
In regard to your suggestion for an integrative medicine doctor… I’m in Japan at the moment and probably will be for another year or two. And my quick google search didn’t show any integrative medicine doctors here. Do you have suggestions for other types of doctors that could assist with autoimmune disorders?
Also, I would like your thoughts on my health as well. I show many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia–pain all over, extreme fatigue, brain fog, etc, but preliminary test haven’t shown anything yet. I plan on getting more testing, but do you have suggestions on how to go about it? I suppose your answer here might be the same as above, inre integrative medicine doctor, etc. My plan of action at the moment aside from more testing is to increase iron with desiccated liver tablets and transition to (or at least eat s close to) an AIP diet. But if you have any suggestions for this as well, it would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Jenny – many Integrative Medicine MDs know that many of their potential patients/clients are in places without such service, so many offer Skype consulting as long as you are willing to get blood tests etc where you are.
Autoimmune disorders certainly require professional medical help. You may need medications and only a doctor can determine that…but a lot of factors that worsen autoimmune conditions can be softened with an anti-inflammatory diet, stress/trigger reduction, and improved gut health (specifically addressing leaky gut or gut permeability issues). Improving these factors is something you should do regardless of medication or medical assistance.
Starting on an autoimmune protocol will certainly help. I suggest you read everything written by Dr Amy Myers (I know her) and also Dr. Terry Wahls. These two experts will guide you through all the diet and lifestyle changes you need while you find an Integrative Medicine MD.
Thank you! I will check them out and look into Integrative Medicine MDs who do Skype consults.
You have many of the same signs as I had some time ago and I solved more or less all my problems with a healthy LCHF diet. Stay away from sugar and wrong carbs. In fact stay away from most carbs. It is ruining many peoples life. Lots of healthy fat, 10-15 % protein and 5% carbs + lots of vegetables. (stay away from vegetables with loads of carbs)
Excellent post. The best I have come across!
I was about to order your product but found out that there is no Italy as country option on order list. Possible to add it?
Thank you in advance
Hi Ayumi – you may order all our products from iherb.com – they ship to Italy. We stopped shipping to Italy because shipments were getting stuck in customs for weeks or months.
I have come across this scientific study/research by the NCBI/NIH that findings are totally opposite to this article.
Hi Catherine – great question.
Yes, on the surface, if you looked at this study, you’d come away with the idea that MK-4 does not do much. But the key thing to remember from the Conclusion section is this: “as measured by serum vitamin K levels”
Serum levels and plasma half-life are not appropriate markers of Vitamin K2 status.
Why? We think it is because of the rapid uptake. I explain that in simple terms like this on the blog: 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?
This is not addressed in the paper.
To truly determine if your Vitamin K2 status is adequate, you need to know the ratio of the active versus inactive Osteocalcin levels. The authors of the study would have provided better service to health if they’d done that test instead of the simple serum level test. More on that here: https://innovixlabs.com/blogs/insights/vitamin-k-testing
Hope this helps.
Hi, I have been reading your articles and had a few questions. I have four kids ages 7,9,10,11. They eat eggs from our hens on a daily bases. Local Beef/pork around two to three times a week each. (from local friends who only do grass for their cattle and hogs). Occasionally we run out and do get it from the grocery so I can’t be sure it’s always grass fed. And chicken 1-2 times a week (always from the grocery because it’s extremely expensive from local farms) and wild caught fish once a week (usually salmon, cod or tuna). For lunches they will eat sardines and oysters about once a week but almost always leftovers from the previous night. We also eat one green vegetable and one colorful vegetable along with our protein for dinner. When they were smaller we were strict no grains or sweet potato/white potato. But as they got older we have eaten more sweet potatoes and recently some grains (specifically ezekiel’s sprouted bread and sprouted corn tortillas as well as organic white rice after rinsing and soaking). I have read in other articles of yours In which you say grains are slowly killing us and am thinking maybe we need to get back off of them. It’s just hard because when they were little they had never tasted it but now that they have it would be hard to eliminate it. We definitely don’t eat them on a daily basis but it is on a weekly basis. They eat lots of fruits (although from reading your other articles they might be eating too much non berry type fruits) and love nuts and seeds and nut butters. They drink dairy (raw milk). But I read that you don’t think milk is necessary or that other species don’t drink any other species’ milk. However you seem pro cheese so I was wondering if you could explain your logic as to why milk is not ok but cheese is when both come from the cow? Also I allow my kids to drink raw milk but I was wondering about cheese because finding raw grass fed cheese is hard. I can find one or the other but not both (unless it’s from a local farm but that’s cost prohibitive) and I am wondering if cheese that’s not raw but grass fed is good enough. I have read that a lot of good enzymes and vitamins are destroyed after pasteurizing so I do let them eat cheese but not nearly as much as they would love to eat. My husband and I will make a sweet treat about once a month and pancakes or waffles about 2 times a month for breakfast but that’s the only dessert my kids have. We always use coconut or almond flours and honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar for those desserts/pancakes. I wrote all that so you could get an idea of our diet. None of them have any cavities as well. My question and concern is that for a LONG time I was convinced that FCLO was the only thing my kids needed as a supplement. So they have been taking that since the 11 year old could walk on pretty consistent basis. Still taking actually. We have two more bottles before we finish what we have. We read lots of old books and so many kids book talk about cod liver oil so that and because it has been taken in previous generations along with the Weston a price foundation strongly recommending it based on Dr.Price’s research where my main reasons. Now after reading a lot more on it, I wonder if all these years I could have actually been doing any lasting harm because I really believe FCLO to be rancid. Which is incredibly frustrating because the main reason we bought it was to stay healthy. I have in previous years thought of switching to Rosita cod liver oil because of how they manufacture their cod liver oil but it’s just really expensive. But now that I am convinced FCLO is no good I am debating on either switching them to Rositas or starting to give them k2, Vitamin d and a, and dha/epa omega 3s. Is cod liver oil preferred since it’s more of a “food” than a supplement or should I just supplement. Besides the vitamins I mention do think I should add anything else? They spend hours outside in the sun and dirt playing. Thank you so much for your help and willingness to share your knowledge! I have read hundreds of your comments and you are not only knowledgeable but compassionate!
Hi Rebecca – wow – 4 littles between 7 and 11, huh? Phew. I have 2 in that range…I can only imagine 4 and I don’t want to think about what it must’ve been like 4 or 5 years ago.
Overall, it sounds like you have the meat/fat/protein part of your family’s diet down. I don’t see much need for change.
But do not cut back on roots and tubers. Kids should eat that. Frankly, adults should too, as long as you don’t have metabolic issues (obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides, etc.). Removing grains totally from the diet won’t hurt you as long as you are leaning on tubers, veggies, and fruits for carbs. Carbs are not evil. They are one of 3 macros. If you’ve been eating the Standard American Diet combined with low activity levels, then, yes, watching carbs is a good thing. But for healthy, active kids, carbs are key.
Having said that, a little rice on a weekly basis is totally fine. Try to be good 80 to 90% of the time. If you go really strict (with 4 littles!) you’ll drive yourself nuts. Cut yourself some slack. That little self-gift of relief will help your stress levels. Everyone in the family should help relieve mommy’s stress.
Milk vs cheese – milk has a lot of lactose. This is a sugar. It may not taste like it, but it will goose triglyceride in those prone to it. Generally, if you are not allergic to dairy, I am OK with cheese because it is a concentrated source of decent protein, fats, and most of all Vitamin K2 if you eat the right kind of hard cheese. The yellow sliced cheese-like product from the grocery store is crap. Get the hard European style cheeses.
I am not a fan of raw dairy – mostly due to the risk of bacterial contamination. It’s rare to have issues, but I just don’t feel comfortable. Besides, pasteurization does not destroy THAT much in terms of goodies.
FCLO – on paper, it is great. I am not at all comfortable taking it or recommending it due to the rancidity, lack of potency, and lack of transparency behind these products. I don’t think you’ve done any lasting harm. FCLO is popular with people who want to get their nutrients from foods rather than supplements – I get that and I agree with that. But I’s say look elsewhere for Omegas, Vitamin A, and D. Regular Cod liver oil these days is almost worthless (I normally don’t say that out lour or type it!) because it is weak and reconstituted with synthetic A and lanolin-based D3. I’d say eat fish, or take fish oil supplements for Omegas. Get lots and lots of sunshine. K2 is best from hard cheeses and chicken dark meat (but only if chicken was factory farmed more here from our sister company’s blog: https://innovixlabs.com/blogs/insights/the-slightly-disturbing-reason-why-your-chicken-thigh-is-high-in-vitamin-k2
Overall, I think you guys are doing great. Based solely on the sentences in your question, I’d say you need to focus more – a lot more – on veggies. Aim for 20-25 different types of veggies each week. Make it a game with the kids. Gamify it. Then focus on sleep – kids all still need 10-12 hours. Then focus on light discipline – lots of sun exposure and NO SCREENS, TVs, iPads etc after sundown. No blue lights in or near bedroom. Dirt – let kids get muddy and dirty outside. Put them in charge of growing carrots and veggies in the yard. Nature – at least 2 hours a week of just plain nature.
That’s all the good stuff I have for you – and NONE of it comes in a bottle.
Thank you for all the great content!
My dad has had a small ischemic stroke recently. I have given him K2 + D3 but have recently read that too much D3 could potentially cause hypercalcemia and create a buildup of calcium in the arteries which is the opposite of one wants to achieve in his situation. Should I stop with the D3 and only give him K2? Thank you very much! Any other interesting infos would be highly appreciated!
Hi Morris – since your dad is in post-operative care, please check with his doctor before doing anything.
Having said that, D3 related hypercalcemia is often a condition that is related to over-supplementation in the absence of Vitamin K2 and other calcium cofactors. If you take your Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2, A, and some E and Magnesium, the risk of hypercalcemia will be much lower because these fat-soluble vitamins and mineral (Magnesium) are meant to be taken together.
However, HOW MUCH D3 you give your dad should be entirely dependent on his blood level. Get his blood levels up to the recommended range. It is fine if you use high-dose D3 to get there quickly and then back off to a lower dose. But D3 dosage should always be guided by blood test results. No one should randomly take high doses without know how much they need.
Thank you! In conclusion you would still recommend also taking Vit. D as the positives outweigh the negatives when comparing it to only taking Vit. K2? also, Is there an omegavia product you would recommend in particular for him? DHA? Kind regards
Hi Morris – yes, taking D3 is better than not…especially if there is a deficiency. Remember that sun exposure is always better than taking supplements. Please have blood level tested. Yes, DHA 600 is a good choice. If you’re outside USA, iHerb is the best place to buy it: https://www.iherb.com/pr/OmegaVia-DHA-600-120-Capsules/94910
Hi I’ve been taking k2 mk7 and experienced increased sensitivity in my teeth along with joint pain/increased clicking and an odd sensation in my bones which was slightly unpleasant. I’ve tried different brands and also sourced an mk9 version with the same effect. Do you know why this is happening and what I can do about it other than stop taking it? I did think it could because I am not getting enough calcium and d3 in my diet so I increased my intake of these two significantly.
Hi Mick – I usually have an answer for most questions. But this one…sorry, I am stumped. I’ve not heard of joint pain or teeth sensitivity with Vitamin K2 consumption. It is also a medical question that is best addressed by your doctor. There is a chance that it is not caused by K2 and rather something else…but the only way to rule that out is to stop K2 for a few weeks and resume. You need to repeat this a few times to confirm. Also, keep in mind that K2 needs A, D3, and possibly Vitamin E to work properly. It is possible that you’re deficient in those 3 fat-soluble vitamins. Try that too in addition to talking to your doctor.
Hi, thanks for the reply, yes upon stopping within a week or so the pain goes away after it went I tried a different brand only for the pain to return, I have repeated this process 3 times with the same results. I have tried mk7 and mk9 both had the same effect. I wasn’t supplementing with either vitamin E/A so perhaps it is an imbalance.
Hi Mick – have you tried just MK-4 by itself to see if you have the issue? Throne makes a decent MK-4 only formula. The last ConsumerLab.com test of that product suggested that there was less per dose than what the label promised, but that just means you may have to take little extra. Otherwise a good product to try. Another option to try is Vitamin K2 rich foods: https://innovixlabs.com/blogs/insights/foods-that-contain-vitamin-k
Hi great article, I would like to try your formula but I have one worry. You stated that the Upper Limit dosage of MK-4 is 1000mcg but your formula has 500mcg.
If I would like to supplement for good dental health, is 500mcg in your formula of MK-4 enough already to be beneficial? Thanks!
Hi David – there is no ‘official’ upper limit to MK-4 form of K2. What I meant by the 1000 mcg dose is that it’s all your body will need on a daily basis. 500 mcg is roughly the traditional amount eaten historically by humans. Twice that amount is perfectly fine and safe. There is a pharmaceutical drug in Japan that is 45,000 mcg of MK-4…it’s used for bone health. So, 1000 mg daily is not a big amount.
The level in the InnovixLabs K2 is fine for bone and dental health.
Thanks Vin! I’ve spoken to a person a while ago that is taking your vitamin k2 formula. She said that after taking your formula, she noticed that her teeth are cleaner and she has fresher breath. I think that answers my question too. You gained another buyer here Vin. Do you think 1 softgel (500mcg MK-4) is enough for a person like me who develops rapid tartar buildup due to calcification? Note that I have good dental routine. I floss and use an electric toothbrush with proper technique. It’s just that I suffer from quick tartar buildup that might be due to vitamin k2 MK-4 deficiency. Thanks again Vin and stay safe.
Hi James – it’s impossible to say with certainty that a 500 mcg MK-4 dose will fix the problem.
Having said that, a dose of 500 mcg MK-4 is certainly sufficient for you and most people. But if your body handles it well, perhaps try 2 capsules for a month or two to see if that makes a bigger impact.
It is very likely that you will see an improvement, but how much and how quickly, well, that’s impossible to say. Tartar build up is connected to improper calcium deposition, but your individual oral chemistry, oral microbiome, the amount of sugar/sweets consumed, a degree of brushing and flossing all play into it. So…taking MK-4 by itself will not negate those other causal factors. Think of MK-4 as PART OF A PLAN, rather than a magic bullet. Please let us know your results.
Thank you for this excellent article on K2.
I intend to take Emu Oil capsules which is very high in K2 MK4.
If I am taking Emu Oil capsules, would you advise I take the standalone Mk7 you recommend in your article? I am concerned re: over dosing on MK4 if I was to take your product.
Hi Christopher – Emu oils contain the MK-4 form of Vitamin K2, like butter or ghee. That’s established. My issue with Emu oil products is that most do not state how much MK-4 is present in a dose. Without this information, you may be lulled into false of nutritional adequacy. You may or may not be getting enough.
The MK-4 level in the InnovixLabs product is based on a rough estimation of traditional human consumption. So, it has 500 mcg MK-4 per pill.
To put things in perspective, there a prescription form of Vitamin K2 (MK-4) in Japan that deliveres 45,000 mcg daily. That’s 90 times more than the InnovixLabs product on a daily basis. The Japanese drug has been on the market for decades and is considered very safe. So, our 500 mcg per pill is actually quite small – relatively.
Dear Mr Vin Kutty:
i just discovered your site today-
i Greatly appreciate your integrity and persistence-and your research based articles. your K2,4 supplement looks great!
(i’ve been taking NOW brand K2 and 4 separately in powder form for around a year.)
i’ve got questions after reading:
1) why is lanolin-based D3 not effective? it’s oil/protein based and animal based…
(one thing i can say from personal experience: Lanolin is an amazing skin wound healer….the best. both in humans, and in sheep. though i’m not sure what that has to do with Vit K2 😉 —unless the clotting mechanisms and other functions are involved in skin healing too…)
2) the K2-A-D3-E-Mg-Boron integration equation:
problem: i get scaly skin on my face if i take Vitamin A, even with the small amount that is present in Omega-3 fish oil supplements…it’s consistent. it goes away if i stop…comes back if i take more Omega 3 fish oil. does not happen with vit D3 in fish oil gel caps, in fact that helps clear it up. i’ve had to stop Omega 3 supplements because of it. Bummer, because i am missing out on Omega 3’s i’m sure, but also, i LOVE the taste of Omega 3 fish oil in fish gelatin caps. they’re like gummy bears IMO…weird, i know..
D3 dose is 4000IU in 600mg salmon oil *daily* …and i’m not outside much, unfortunately, to get D3 any other way. (that amount of fish oil/vit A does not seem to elicit the facial skin response, by the way).
Vitamin A IS stored in the liver and can become toxic if it adds up too much. is it possible with those (mild) symptoms in addition to my diet (outlined below), i could have enough or too much vit A? can i get away with just K2-4, K2-7, D3, and MgCitrate?
If not, what happens if I’m not getting enough A, but still taking K2 (4&7), D3 and Mg?
Where do all the forms of Vitamin E come from in the diet? do I need to supplement some of the forms based on what i eat (diet below)?
(my doctor said my questions were irrelevant, by the way, or didn’t know the answers, i’m thinking).
What foods have Boron? how do I know if i’m deficient?
I didn’t know it was a part of the healthy bones equation..
[diet: everything cooked from scratch 2 x daily: we eat daily pastured eggs, daily pastured cheese (2 oz maybe), daily pastured Ghee, butter, & yoghurt, daily 100% coconut cream in coffee and green tea (japanese source is tested), avocados weekly, weekly grass fed meat/mostly lamb, 2-3 x weekly wild caught anchovy/sardines/mackerel fish, daily steamed AND raw veggies, some potatoes/roots several x weekly, beans maybe 1x/week, daily sprouted seeds, not a lot of nuts since i get itchy eyes, fresh fruit in season, dried fruit a few pieces once daily for dessert. no sugars, no sweeteners or conventional desserts of any kind, ever, (though you could consider dried fruit a sweetener i guess..), no packaged food, no juice, no soda, no unfermented milk, no veggie oils ever except Olive (a fruit anyway), 1 slice dark Rye Danish bread with sardines 1-2 x a week or so. no other bread, pasta, flour-based junk, no junk food ever in fact. once weekly oats for breakfast and *real* wild rice once a month-maybe- IF that, and no other grains or flours. I’d say we might eat too much butter and ghee, and coconut cream maybe…]
3) how much does a bad GI gut bacterial community affect D3 and K2 absorption? or does it absorb in the duodenum and small intestine only?
(i don’t know if i have that or not, just wondering since i’ve taken ABX frequently in the past)…
4) apparently K2’s are not stored in the body, as you’ve posted a few times.
How can that be, since every other oil-based vitamin or mineral IS stored in the body—somewhere? SQ and abdominal fat, if not the liver, kidney fat, brain, or bones?…have there been studies showing the pathway of vitamin K2 going into blood stream, passing to organs, and then exiting the body, and/or getting used up, or changing form?
Thanks very much for the work you do–i’m grateful–
Hi Jo – responses to your questions:
1) Lanolin-based D3 is perfectly effective. There is no evidence that is not.
2) Vitamin A is unlikely to be the root cause of the skin scaliness. It is likely something associated with the Vitamin A. Very few people taking regular doses of Vitamin A build up excess to toxic levels. This is a sad myth that really should go away. Still, if you are concerned, focus on getting A from foods instead of supplements – this is always better. Take eggs and seeds for Vitamin E. You can get boron from beans, root vegetables, and fruits.
3) Gut dysbiosis may harm the body’s natural K2 production, but it will not affect the absorption of D3 and K2.
4) Vitamins A, D3, and E are stored much longer. K2 is not stored for long periods. Why? That’s a big topic – may be a blog subject sometime in the future.
ok thank you so much for your responses. i’m super relieved…
1) is there a way to know if I’m deficient in Boron?
2) what happens if i’m taking D3, K2, Mg, Boron, but not A? what are the effects of that?
3) if i order your K2-MK4,7 gel pill (which is really cute and convenient!) is the heat during transport going to affect it’s potency/degradation/rancidity?
Hi Jo – boron deficiency is very difficult to identify. If you are eating a wide variety of vegetables, you are almost certainly not Boron deficient. Avocados and peaches are good sources.
If you are not supplementing with Vitamin A, that’s not a problem, as long as your diet is rich in it. Without A, the other fat solubles are not properly utilized. The effect of taking all the other stuff but not Vitamin A is that you may not be getting the full benefits of all those other vitamins. Just make sure you are eating adequate amounts of Vitamin A rich foods.
Heat is not an issue with our Vitamin K2 product as long as you don’t leave the product out in the sun. We also add a slight overage to our pills, so even if there is a slight potency degradation, you will get what the label promises.
I would like to up my levels of Vit D & K2. What do you think is the best way to achieve this:
1.) organ supplements, as they contain many important vitamins.
2.) K2 + D3 supplements
3.) take 1.) + 2.) together.
Vit D and K2 seemed to be an easy concept when I discovered them, However there seems to be different info popping up all of the time e.g. mk4 vs mk7, trans, natural vs synthetic, how much to take… I understand that getting the vitamins directly from the source (organs) is the best. As I do not have access to them, dislike the taste…would the best alternative be organ supplements instead of taking vitamin supplements?
Thank you very much!
Hi Morris – the healthiest way is, of course, to eat more organ meats, fois gras, fermented vegetables, and if you are not allergic or inflamed by dairy (most are to varying degrees), some hard cheese.
The second best way is to take D3 and K2 separately. First, get a blood test for Vitamin D3 and then determine how much D3 to take. Most people need between 5000 to 10,000 IU daily for a few weeks to bring low levels close to normal range. After that, 3000 to 4000 IU per day is sufficient. Do not take doses higher than 10,000 IU as it seems to cause sleep disruption in many people. If you can find a D3 + K2 that has 4000 IU of D3, then use that.
I find that most D3 + K2 supplements on the market either have too much D3, no MK-4, and no Vitamin A. Most of the formulas appear to copy each other. So, this is my least favorite way of taking these supplements.
No matter how loudly the proponents of MK-7 shout, the fact remains that MK-4 is the form of K2 that’s most abundant in traditional human diet. MK-4 and MK-7 are transported and stored differently in the body. As the article above states, they do different things. You need both.
These days, virtually all K2 is sold in the nature-identical trans form. Five to 10 years ago, cis was fairly common, but not any more. I think you can put that concern behind you. Same with synthetic or natural. I truly believe that there is no ‘natural’ K2 in supplements. Even the K2 types that are made from beans are so processed and far removed from anything found in nature that it is not really fair to call the molecule natural.
If eating liver, fois gras, natto etc., are not options, then you only have one option – K2 made in a lab. Wondering whether it is natural or synthetic is pointless.
Thank you! great infos.
Could I eat organs, fermented foods, cheese… and additionally take K2 + D3 or would that be overkill?
Hi Morris – you can (and should) always rely on foods to get your nutrients. But if/when/how much Vitamin K2 supplementation you require depends on how often and how much organ meats/cheese/fermented vegetables you consume. Only you can make that decision. If you wish to be conservative, take the K2 + D3 2 or 3 times a week instead of daily.
Thank you so much for all of the interesting infos. Last question! would organ supplements be a good alternative?
Hi Morris – no, organ supplements are not good substitutes, unless the label says exactly what and how much is in it. Even then, I suspect you would have to take 10-15 of those capsules daily because organ supplements are usually weak.
I’m looking forward to trying the Innovix k2 combo, but I still have half a bottle of Thorne to finish. The mk7 I’m using with the Thorne mk4 is the k2 from Natural Factors. I’ve been happy with their products in the past and was surprised to hear that they could not provide a breakdown of the cis/trans composition since they don’t test for it, although they admit that the pill contains a “proprietary blend” of both. Do you know anything about this brand of mk7? Is this Eurofins testing costly? Now I’d really like to see just how much “real” mk7 I’ve been taking!
Hi Jen – both Thorne and Natural Factors are good and reputable companies. A lot of companies do not test for cis and trans breakdown of the MKs. Five to 10 years ago, this would have been a problem for me because a lot of the MK-7 was a cis/trans blend. That is no longer the case – most MKs are in the trans form. Awareness as grown among both manufacturers and consumers. As of this writing, even the cheaper MK-7 sources from China and India are in the trans form. Of course, you need to test to guarantee, but even without proof of a test, I’d feel confident these days that I’m getting the trans form.
ABC Testing in California does cis/trans analysis. They charge $180. That’s not cheap for individual consumers, but both Thorne and Natural Factors ought to be able to do it easily.
Thank you for your reponse, Vin! That’s good to know. Still I think a more proactive approach by the established companies will certainly be appreciated.
Hope you are doing great. After a longer search I have found and ordered an K2 MK4 + K7 MK7 supplement from the brand ‘Relentless improvement’
Do you know it? Im thinking of taking 1 to 2 capsules a day which contain:
– (MK-4) 15,000 mcg (15mg)
(<1% Cis-form) [derived from orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata), leaf geraniol extract].- (MK-7) 60 mcg
(<4% Cis-form) [derived from orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata), leaf geraniol extract].
The doses seem pretty high but that is what has been used in the studies I have seen.
Have a good one!
Hi Morris – yes, I am familiar with the brand and I like the product…but I have not tested it for potency.
A recent ConsumerLab.com test found each capsule had about 13,000 mcg instead of the 15,000 mcg claimed on the label. I suspect this problem has been corrected and occurred due to the manufacturer not clearly understanding the formula overage required to meet label claim right up to the point of the product expiration date. Sometimes the overage required in K2 formulas is about 40 to 50%.
I consider it a potent MK-4 product. The 60 mcg of MK-7 isn’t much, but that’s not why you’d buy this product. You get it for the high MK-4 level.
Your defence of K2 on CVD is not supported in enough scientific clinical trials or is it? I found 9 studies with pro conclusions in only 2 of them, 2 against and 5 not conclusive.
There is presently a lack of randomized trial evidence to support a beneficial role for vitamin K in
preventing the worsening of surrogate measures of CVD. The trials conducted to date are primarily
small, single-center trials and are heterogeneous with regard to type of vitamin K administered, dose
of vitamin K, population studied and outcome measures. However, an alternative explanation may
be that abnormalities in dp-ucMGP, which are sensitive to vitamin K supplementation, may be a
consequence of CVD. Our assessment is that an improvement in surrogate measures of CVD with
vitamin K supplementation has not been consistently demonstrated in the clinical trials to date and no
clinical trial has examined important clinical events including mortality. In those trials that demonstrate
a vitamin K treatment effect on a surrogate measure of CVD, the causal pathway linking the benefit
to an improvement in dp-ucMGP has not been demonstrated. At present, it is not clear from human
clinical trials that a causal pathway exists between vitamin K and reduced cardiovascular end-points
that operates through enhanced MGP carboxylation and is responsive to vitamin K supplementation. Vitamin K Supplementation for the Prevention of
Cardiovascular Disease: Where Is the Evidence?
A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials
Caitlyn Vlasschaert 1
, Chloe J. Goss 1
, Nathan G. Pilkey 1
, Sandra McKeown 2 and
Rachel M. Holden 1,3,*
Hi Jorge – good points. We agree. Our position is stated below.
There are plenty of reasons to defend K2, but it is important to note that cardiovascular health evidence is emerging. Therefore, we do not make CVD claims.
This is why the label of our products clearly prefaces heart health claims with ‘Preliminary research suggests…’
The research on vitamin K2 supplementation and cardiovascular function is still emerging. At this time, there is insufficient consistent evidence (using the forms and recommended doses in our product) to support a structure function claim that vitamin K2 supplementation assuredly reduces risk of CVD in healthy individuals. The US regulatory framework prohibits making claims about curing or preventing disease, so we will not do so, even if the science eventually supports it.
As background, at least three, preliminary population studies indicate diets rich in vitamin K2, but not K1, may help promote cardiovascular health.
At least one controlled trial found that a specific vitamin K2 (MK-7) product (MenaQ7) at 180 mcg/day given for 3 years significantly decreased carotid pulse wave velocity and vessel stiffness, but did not influence markers for endothelial vessel dysfunction compared to placebo in healthy postmenopausal women. Other controlled research using the same ingredient and dosage did not find changes in cardiovascular risk factors over a period of 12 weeks.
A small and preliminary, open-label study evaluated the effect of 45 mg MK-4 for one year on coronary artery calcification (CAC) in individuals with at least one cardiovascular risk factor. Despite high dose MK-4 supplementation, CAC increased annually, and pulse wave velocity (a marker of arterial function) did not change. The benefits of MK-4 supplementation were only observed in a small number of patients with vitamin K insufficiency, in which there was some improvement in pulse wave velocity, but not CAC.
One other controlled trial evaluated the effect of 500 mcg phylloquinone (K1) added to a daily multivitamin in 388 healthy men and postmenopausal women compared to control (multivitamin alone). The researchers found that K1 supplementation over a period of 3 years slowed the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC) in healthy older adults with preexisting CAC.
In animal models, multiple forms of vitamin K have been shown to reverse the arterial calcification created by vitamin K antagonists. Furthermore, aortas from animals with experimental atherosclerosis given vitamin K2 have been shown to have reduced calcium deposition in the aorta while hypercholesterolemic rabbits given K2 experienced reduced progression of atherosclerotic plaques, intima-thickening and pulmonary atherosclerosis.
In addition, in vitro evidence supports the ability of vitamin K2 to inhibit arterial calcification and induce nitric oxide production through inducible nitric oxide synthase in vascular smooth muscle cells.
As background, matrix gamma-carboxyglutamic acid protein (MGP), a vitamin K-dependent protein, is a potent in vivo inhibitor of arterial calcification. Activation of this protein via carboxylation depends on the availability of vitamin K. MGP is essential for binding calcium and preventing its deposit in the vessel walls. Vitamin K2 deficiency leads to inactive uncarboxylated MGP (ucMGP), which accumulates at sites of arterial calcification. Researchers have found that serum ucMGP may be decreased in those at risk of cardiovascular calcification due to deposition of ucMGP in local areas of vascular calcification. Therefore, serum ucMGP may be used as a biomarker to identify those at risk for developing vascular calcification, a known risk factor.
The potential role of Vitamin K2 in vascular health is still important and worth noting…but due to the preliminary and suggestive nature of the current state of research, we will remain conservative on health claims until we have better clarity.
Hi Vin, 1
Thanks for your very good response.
Your page is very good and you are serious people.
I will try Innovix and if I will not have irregular and fast heartbeat I will maintain Innovix or If I have adverse reactions I will go for Mk4 only.
I hope some improvement in artery calcification
Best wishes for 2021
When MK4 is in a supplement, where does it come from? Does it actually come from meat?
Hi Scott – no, it does not come from meat. MK-4 used in supplements is made from vegetable matter (leaves, petals, and their extracts) following a lengthy process.
Thanks for this helpful article. I’ve started looking into K2 supplements because I’d like to start supplementing D3, since there’s not much sun here nowadays. Once I started reading about MK-4 and MK-7 things got confusing, and many hours past. I’m still somewhat confused but I feel like the best thing to do might be to supplement both. The options available here I’ve found so far:
– Thorne liquid vitamin D/K2: this one lacks MK-7, not sure if that’d be a problem. Also, the D3 dosage of 500 UI per drop seems quite low.
– Thorne 3-K Complete capsules: this one has both, but also contains 1000 mcg of K1 per capsule – could this (besides unnecessary) be harmful in any way? It also contains 5000 mcg of MK-4, and I’m not sure if that could be too high. It contains 90 mgc of MK-7. The wide variety of dosages in the different supplements confuses me.
– InnovixLabs Full Spectrum K2: seems great, but I can only get it from Ebay, which would take a couple of weeks.
The latter seems to me like the best available option, pared with a separate liquid D3 supplement. Vitamin A is covered by beef liver.
Hi Bobster – have you tried ordering from iHerb.com? https://www.iherb.com/pr/InnovixLabs-Full-Spectrum-Vitamin-K2-90-Capsules/94915
I generally like the Thorne products – you could use the liquid MK-4 to boost the InnovixLabs item if you feel it necessary. Certainly take both MK-4 and MK-7 – they are not the same.
I would take the D3 separately to allow you the dosage flexibility to reach an optimal level. Once you know the D3 dose you need, then you can use a combination D3 + K2 item to maintain a good level.
As for K1, a little bit goes a long way. If you eat green vegetables regularly, there is little need to supplement because it is partially/mostly recycled by the body. Small doses of K1 as a supplement is fine too. I wouldn’t worry unless you are taking it daily and at high doses.
I really want a D3 +K vitamin. Any suggestions? I’ve stayed away from vitamins for so long because I felt like for every positive popular brand, there’s a doctor out there saying it’s useless and researching gets me no where. But I get no Sun and I don’t drink milk so I thought I’d take vitamin d, but now I’m seeing I should take k with it and now I’m lost In the mk7s and mk4s …..
Hi Taylor – I can understand why you might feel like researching (on the internet) gets you nowhere. There is a lot of conflicting information and that’s OK – that’s just how nutritional science grows. Some of that conflicting information is influenced by politics and financial interests, which is unfortunate.
Ideally, you’d get all your Vitamin D3 from the sun and all your Vitamin K2 (in whatever MK forms) from fermented veggies and organ meats. I am a professional health nut and even I don’t get enough sun exposure or eat enough fermented veggies and organ meats! So I supplement with D3 in the winter and spring and I supplement with K2 when I haven’t been eating liver and sauerkraut. I don’t blame people for not eating that stuff – heck, you could clear a dinner party by saying the words ‘Liver and sauerkraut!’
I assume you don’t know your D3 level from a blood test. This would be a good place to start. So…to keep it simple, take 5000 IU daily for a month and then get your blood level tested. It takes a month or two for blood levels to build up to optimal levels. Which brand of D3? Doesn’t matter as long as it’s one you’re familiar with. Anything from Costco/Walgreens/CVS will do the trick.
Yes, you need Vitamin K2 and Vitamin A with D3. These three vitamins ‘work together.’ A very high dose of one will create a higher need for the other two, so get yourself some Vitamin K2. We make a really good one but you don’t have to buy ours. https://innovixlabs.com/products/full-spectrum-vitamin-k2 For now, you don’t have to worry about MK-4 or MK-7…just get some K2 into your body because I suspect you’ve been pretty close to empty for a while. If you opt for a brand other than InnovixLabs, get one that has 100 mcg of MK-7 and call it a day until you want something better and then you can start thinking about MK-4.
Vitamin A – I like NOW Food Vitamin A that has 10,000 IU or 25,000 that I take every other day.
Then there is Magnesium…if you are not eating a lot of vegetables, you are almost certainly low in Magnesium and that becomes a bottleneck for Vitamin D. I’m not trying to sell you stuff…it’s just that these nutrients are all inter-connected and this is why it’s always best to get everything from foods…nutrient dense foods provide everything you need in the right proportions. But you’d have to eat a bucket of veggies and half pound of liver while sitting naked in the sun. I’m only half-kidding. It’d be great if most people did that. Imagine their Instagram feed!
Bottomline – these are essential nutrients. Your body needs them. If you wait for doctors, scientists, and the media to agree, you’ll be the one who’s left with poor health. Good luck.
Unfortunately I can’t tolerate mk7 (heart palpitations), but I need to take in 150-200 daily next to my vitamin D and for nerve health.
The problem is, how to know which of and how MK4 to take? What is the ratio? Any help would be really appreciated!
Hi Mae – two things:
1) Many people claim that heart palpitations from MK-7 was reduced if they took 400 mg of Magnesium daily. There isn’t established proof about his, but published science often lags what people have been noticing for a long time. You may wish to try it. If you add Magnesium supplements, make sure it is in the form of Magnesium malate or Magnesium bisglycinate. Do not buy Magnesium oxide. Take 400 mg Magnesium daily for a week and then take an MK-7 to see if you notice any difference. Note that you need Magnesium for proper utilization of Vitamin D3 as well. By the way, you don’t need 200 mcg of MK-7…very few people need that much. Even 50 to 100 mcg of MK-7 daily will do the trick for most people. You may find that at that lower dose, you won’t have any palpitation issues.
2) If you decide to go with MK-4, which is said to not cause palpitations, then aim for 1000 to 2000 mcg daily. If you want to eliminate MK-7 and go with MK-4, aim for 10 to 20X as much MK-4.
Thank you! Very informative. I already take mag400 a day so it must be the MK7 (swollen glands, sick malaise feeling accompanies it as well. tried different reputable brands but same respons either with only 45mcg or 100mcg)
I have neuropathy and was planning to take aprox. 150 MK7 for nerve health (based on a study where participants took 100 twice daily). I have lots of burning so its definitely worth a try. I bought thorne k2 drops which are 1000mcg a drop. So I could take 3000mcg a day for example and spread it over the day.
The only thing I unfortunately can’t research is whether MK4 works the same on peripheral nerves as MK7 does. Whats your view on this?
Hi Mae – if you have issues with MK-7 even when supplementing with Magnesium, then your option is to switch to MK-4 supplements or alter your diet to include foods naturally high in K2.
The science behind Vitamin K2 for nerve health is ’emerging’ at best. The study you linked to isn’t perfect – lots of variables and it needs to be confirmed by a different set of researchers. I am not comfortable at all suggesting K2 for people with neuropathy. It’s early days for K2 research…it’s just adequate for bone and arterial health. We’re a long ways away from confidently stating that K2 can help with neuropathy.
Having said that, I’d like to say two things:
1) just because the science hasn’t proven something doesn’t mean it does not have that effect…it simply means that we haven’t scientifically proven it.
2) your nerve issues may be caused by something entirely unrelated to K2. This is something you will need to discuss with your neurologist.
Thank you. Yes I’m aware of what you are saying. And even if the participants did have reduced symptoms, the underlying mechanism is still unclear. I study science as well, and am aware of the little power of the study and the absence of peer reviews.
I have to take k2 either way, since I was severely D deficient (9ng). I started Thorne yesterday and I can handle it perfectly. Body response was good, in fact, some positive changes already occurred. Not getting my hopes up yet, Im sure its a long non lineair healing process.
Thank you for your info on the ratio!
Wonderful article — thanks!!!
I am taking 30 mg a day of mk4 and have started to reverse osteoporosis. I get confused by the mcg and mg comparisons as 500mcg is only 0.5 mg. Am I seriously overdosing or is 500mcg not enough for someone with osteoporosis?
Hi Marg – great question. We just published a blog about this on our sister site, InnovixLabs.com https://innovixlabs.com/blogs/insights/vitamin-k2-dosage
30 mg (milligram) or 30,000 mcg (microgram) is a very high, albeit non-toxic, dose. At that dose, it is effective for bone strengthening. MK-4 is critical for several health benefits, but it is not the only nutritional tool available to you for bone health. I’d urge you to combine 100 to 200 mcg of MK-7 as well. You may find that 100 mcg of MK-7 is just as effective, if not more, than 30 mg of MK-4.
A very small percentage of people struggle with metabolizing MK-7…if you’re in that group, then start with MK-4.
I had seen a Podcast / Youtube from Kiran Krishnan “Megaspore”
He really talks down MK4, as being “Not” natural and or unstable and really pushes MK7
I like to look at Metabolic health with a Ancestral Lenses. from what I understand MK7 is quite a recent development, Natto coming on the scene approx 1000 years ago. so I would think it has not been that much of a player in our Health. have you seen this clip? what were your thoughts?
Hi Nigel – good question. First, I know Kiran Krishnan. I like and respect him. We run into each other at conferences. He is brilliant and one of the most informed persons on the subject of probiotic and gut health. Having said that, he sells MK7. He also has links to MK7 manufacturers from what I recall. So, there is a conflict of interest.
Having said that, I too have a conflict of interest, but since InnovixLabs sells both MK4 and MK7 together, I have no interest in promoting one form of Vitamin K2 over another. We don’t sell MK-4 by itself and if that’s what you want, I suggest MK4 products made by Thorne, Carlsons, or Relentless Improvement.
If you wish to get an unbiased review of Vitamin K2, I suggest you read Chris Masterjohn’s publications. https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/blog/2016/12/09/the-ultimate-vitamin-k2-resource
MK4 is made from vegetable matter – usually leaves. MK7 is made from soy protein or garbanzo beans. Sellers of MK7 claim their garbanzo or soy derived product is natural while painting MK4 as synthetic. My opinion is that neither are natural because the ingested ingredient is too far from the natural starting material. So, I find the argument that MK4 is synthetic and MK7 is natural to be self-serving and hollow.
Likewise, the tired argument that MK4 is ‘unstable’ is in reference to its serum half-life. I find this premeditated marketing talking point even more self-serving and hollow. MK4 is not stored in the serum, so looking for it is misguided. The reason why MK4 is cleared so quickly from the blood has to do with where MK4 fits into chylomicrons.
My thinking on the need for MK4 is that is (or should be) part of a healthy diet. MK7 is also found in trace quantities in a healthy non-Japanese diet. MK4 is the predominant form of MK in mammals and all mammals appear to be able to convert other froms of K to MK4. There must be a good reason for that. In the article above, I state a few other reasons supporting the need for MK4, such as presence in brain tissue and breast milk.
We’ve been working on MK6, 8, and 9 but those have been unstable to date and products claiming to have those novel MKs will likely not be able to meet label claims. Until then, get these MKs from hard European cheeses.
There is little or no science to support the use of MK6, 8, or 9 in supplement form. But that doesnt mean we get no benefit from it. A classic case of absence of evidence vs evidence of absence. Whenever these sorts of questions arise, I revert to, as you put it, an ancestral lens to view the question at hand.
And from an ancestral perspective, MK4 is the most important form of Vitamin K2, even though the scientific evidence is scarce. MK7 has strong intellectual property rights and commercial interest…and it will get played up by those selling MK7.
Long answer, but I hope it was enlightening.
I get very high BP when I was taking mk-7 drops, It even happened with one drop which was like 5mcg. So I came across this page searching about mk-4. I’ve seen people tolerate it better.
I’m too afraid to take Thornes 1000mcg, even if I dilute it. I did find Nutricost mk-4 which is 100mcg per capsule. What do you think of this brand? Is it bad it’s synthetic? I think it’s my only low dose option besides food. I’m currently doing Keto Diet, and I’ve started to develop calcium deposits and lots of tarter, which means I need more k2. So I’d like to get more. Amazing article thanks for putting this together, learned a lot.
Yay or nay? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JMW6K4D/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_WAN09YFESVV004X5PEPR
Hi Sarah – I’ve heard of a couple of people having palpitations and similar side effects after taking MK-7. It appears very rare – most likely a couple of people per thousand seem to report this effect. Given this is mostly anecdotal to this point, there was a discussion that suggested that this could be 1) due to a magnesium deficiency and/or 2) a genetic predisposition for poor MK-7 metabolism.
I think increasing your magnesium (veggies, nuts, beans, fruits) intake is a good idea and I’d switch to MK-4 form of Vitamin K2. I think 100 mcg is a very low (and therefore presumably safe) starting dose. 100 mcg of MK-4 is better than nothing, but if you tolerate it without BP issues, I suggest going up to 500 or 1000 mcg daily. At which point, I’d guide you towards the Thorne item.
I’d really like to know (and I’m sure other readers would as well) if what I suggested above works for you.
Re Keto. It is very popular and very effective for controlling blood glucose/insulin/weight loss etc. Also useful if you have certain nerve disorders. However, most people do it wrong – the top mistakes made are inadequate mineral intake (you need more sodium, potassium, and magnesium in a certain ratio while on keto). Try this: https://drinklmnt.com . And most people starve their gut microbiome by eliminating veggies/fruit derived fermentable fibers. Part of the reason why we created this: https://innovixlabs.com/products/broad-spectrum-prebiotic.
Re Nutricost. I’ve seen their products on Amazon. I don’t know much about them but based on their size and product offering, I feel fairly confident in saying they are not a fly-by-night operator like many on Amazon. (If you type in Vitamin K2 into the Amazon search bar, about a third of the products listed are unknown brands who may have been selling yoga mats or iPhone covers last year.) My issue with the Nutricost product is the dosage – 100 mcg of MK-4 is too low. If you tolerate MK-4, you will need 5X as much in my opinion.
Let me know how you do.
I’ve been taking vitamin a (retinyl palmitate), d, k2 mk4 and magnesium glycinate to fix some calcification. I’ve been doing this for a few months now and nothing has happened.
My liver is probably very damaged from eating too much sugar, so I’m taking bile salts. I had a blood test and my vitamin d (25OHD) levels seem to be ok.
Do you think it could be because of emf? Frank tufano has made some videos on youtube talking about how emf is bad for your health.
I don’t know what else I can do with my diet, but it isn’t working.
A couple of things come to mind:
1) Your calcification issues didn’t start recently – it was probably decades in the making. And you CANNOT undo that in a few months.
2) The one or two studies that shed light on the matter is with MK-7 form of K2 used to study arterial stiffness (a stiff artery suggests calcification) as measured by pulse wave velocity. Doses used were 180 mcg and 360 mcg. Improvement in pulse wave velocity was noticed 3 years after daily use. MK-4 is a good idea, but I’d combine with MK-7 at least 100 mcg daily.
EMF may or may not have a direct impact. When researching these types of things, go with Pubmed, not Youtube! If I were to list 10 things you could do today to improve your health, EMF will not make the list. I’d rank late night eating and bright light exposure from TVs and devices as worse than EMF.
Optimize diet (eat mostly vegetables with some fish, eggs, and organ meats/grass-fed meats, nuts, fruits – stuff that was alive last week), optimize movement and exercise, optimize WHEN you eat, optimize sunlight exposure, optimize sleep hygiene, optimized stress reduction, and optimize social networks and tribal connections.
Hope that helps.
I found a study which seems to be saying that the protein fetuin-a removes calcium from the soft tissues. This protein is produced by the liver. Mgp (matrix gla protein) only removes calcium from the tissues that produce it (arteries). Since my liver is probably very damaged (past the point of no return), I might not be producing much fetuin-a.
This is what I read:
‘Fetuin-A is a 48-kD protein synthesized in the liver and secreted into the circulation; it is the most important systemic inhibitor of soft-tissue calcification. Transgenic fetuin-A–deficient mice display a severe diffuse systemic calcification phenotype with punctuate calcified lesions in most tissues (2). Besides fetuin-A, a number of small vitamin K–dependent proteins have been discovered acting as potent calcification inhibitors. Examples are osteocalcin (OC), also known as bone Gla protein, matrix Gla protein (MGP), and possibly also the newly discovered Gla-rich protein (GRP), which are all proteins between 5 and ∼10 kD. In contrast to fetuin-A, these proteins are local inhibitors of calcification, i.e., they are synthesized in the tissues in which they exert their function. OC is synthesized by the osteoblasts in bone, and transgenic OC-deficient mice show increased bone mineral content (3). MGP is primarily synthesized by chondrocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells, and MGP-deficient mice show impaired growth (resulting from excessive growth plate calcification) and massive calcification of the arterial tunica media (4). An interesting question is why fetuin-A alone is unable to stop calcification of these tissues. Recently, a hypothesis was presented that provided a possible answer to this question. In their paper, Price et al. (5) demonstrate that with its molecular mass of 48 kD, fetuin-A is too large to penetrate the luminal space within collagen and elastin fibrils. But if no other inhibitors are present, these fibrils will rapidly calcify. Only calcification inhibitors that are small enough to penetrate the collagen and elastin fibrils, i.e., OC and MGP, will be able to move freely into the fibril and prevent mineral growth inside. This explains why the elastin fibrils are prone to calcification, especially during vitamin K insufficiency, and demonstrates the vital importance of vitamin K in the prevention of soft-tissue calcification.’
There’s also a wikipedia page:
Do you know anything about this?
Hi – yes, I’m aware of Fetuin. There isn’t much we know about how to influence its effect on the body. Going after things like Fetuins while we literally have 20 other easily pulled health levers is not a good use of anyone’s time. Sure, it’s fascinating from an intellectual perspective…but it’s not a rabbit hole I’d choose to go down.
Liver seem to have an amazing capacity to recover and regenerate given a sugar-free and alcohol-free diet. I’d give that a shot first.
Also, I don’t know if this would work or not, but do you think that eating liver would replace my damaged liver cells with new cells? (or is this a stupid idea?)
Hi – liver is nature’s multivitamin. I’d consume it with that in mind…but eating liver will not replace your damaged liver – you need to eliminate sugar and alcohol for that.
I would like to get your advice on K2 supplementation. In the last year, I went to a couple of doctor’s appointments that found high (for my age) arterial calcifications. The first was peripherally, associated with Raynaud’s Syndrome, and the second was in the coronary arteries. I assume this was caused by the high doses of vitamin D3 (600-800 IU/day) that I was taking for the last 5 years (I decreased the dose to 2000 IU/day last fall). I assume this because I have always had a healthy diet with lots of exercise and no family history. For most of those 5 years, I was taking 100 mcg of MK-7 (increased to 200 mcg last fall). I always bought the cheapest K2 I could find (I wasn’t aware of the isomers). I would like your opinion on what to supplement regarding K2 (MK-4 and MK-7). My goals are to slow/halt/reverse the calcifications. Ideally, I would like to ramp up the D3 again but I am afraid to. I boosted it that high in the first place because it corrects sleep problems I have (see here: https://drgominak.com/vitamin-d/)
Hi Robert – if your doctor found ‘high’ levels of calcification, then he/she will need to advise you on corrective/interventional tactics.
Having said that, chances are that some or most of your calcification was present before you began taking D3 supplements. Of course, there is no way to prove that unless you have coronary calcium scores from 5+ years ago. It is strictly my opinion, but I don’t think the calcification is due to the higher than normal D3 supplementation (I assume you meant 6000 to 8000 IU and not 600 to 800) while also taking MK-7 form of K2. I wouldn’t be so quick to blame D3, although D3 without K2, A, and Magnesium can cause issues. Unless, of course, you’d goosed the serum D3 levels well above 100 or so. If your D3 level was roughly in the optimal 40-60 range, it (by itself) should not contribute to significant calcification…after all, you were also taking some MK-7 and as you state, your diet is healthy and it probably wasn’t too deficient in Magnesium or A.
My suggestion is to get as much sunshine and D3 supplements as needed to maintain D3 in the 40-60 range. You and your doctor will have to play around with dosage to reach that optimal dose. As for K2, I’d go with about 1000 mcg of MK-4 and about 200 mcg of MK-7 daily. Studies using 180 mcg or 360 mcg of MK-7 to study arterial flexibility (they measured pulse wave velocity) took 3 years to notice statistically significant changes. What that suggests is that this is a very slow process – both to calcify and declacify.
As for sleep, I am very familiar with Dr. Gominak’s approach – she’s right, but if your D3 is already in the optimal range, then you are likely to see greater improvements in sleep by fixing circadian misalignment – in other words: get 10-15 minutes of sun exposure in the morning (no shades!), eat early in the day, eat during daylight hours, and absolutely stop consuming any calories after sunset. Get as much sun exposure, heat exposure, and activities done during the early and middle parts of the day. Then cut out all blue-light emitting devices (TV, phones, etc.) after sunset. Dim all lights after sunset. Keep your bedroom very cool (65F) and very dark. Do all of the above with strict discipline and you will see improvement in sleep without having to rely on ultra-high doses of Vitamin D3.
Good luck and let us know how you do.
Thanks for the prompt reply.
D’oh! Thanks for catching that order of magnitude under-reporting of my D3 intake. Yes, it was 6000 – 8000 IU/day. I was targeting Dr. Gominak’s recommended blood levels of 60-80 ng/ml. I tested every 6 months to a year and it was as high as 88.8 and as low as 63.2 during that period. I don’t have my CAC scores prior to starting the regimen, so you are correct that I can’t be certain that the D3 is the culprit. It’s just that I don’t have any better explanation and now I am gun shy about going higher that 2000 IU/day. I am hopeful that supplementing with a better quality K2 (MK-4 and 7) will improve things, CAC-wise. I’m also looking into starting an aged garlic extract, that research suggests may also help.
As for my sleep, I don’t believe my issue is related to my sleep hygiene. My issue is that I don’t heal well after sustaining workout injuries. When my blood levels were in Dr. Gonimak’s range, I had the longest uninterrupted period (in my life) of working out without any injury show-stoppers. I believe this is because her D3 protocol finally allowed me to have the necessary amount of paralyzed sleep that my body requires to heal. I have had nagging injuries ever since I lowered my D3. I plan to speak to a sleep doctor about this soon, but I suspect that unless he is familiar with Dr. Gominak’s work, he will be skeptical and unable to help.
According to this study 1000ug K1 looks optimal for osteoporosis.
A high phylloquinone intake is required to achieve maximal osteocalcin gamma-carboxylation
Conclusion: A daily phylloquinone intake of approximately 1000 micro g is required to maximally gamma-carboxylate circulating osteocalcin.
Hi Alex – this is a 20 year old paper from pre-K2 days. Twenty years is a LONG time in Vitamin K research.
I don’t question the results of the study you shared because K2 and K1 have somewhat similar mechanisms of action. But keep in mind that K1 is weaker activator of the K-depended calcium mobilizing proteins. We didn’t know a lot about this until 2007 when this paper was published: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17287908/
Have you tested Country Life Vegan K2 for percentage of trans isomers?
I’m not vegan but I don’t support factory farming. Who is the supplier of the Gelatin if you don’t mind me asking?
Hi Andrea – no, we have not tested Country Life Vegan K2. The only people who might know the supplier or source of the gelatin are the manufacturing and quality teams that work for Country Life. I suggest you reach out to their customer service team.
“Hi Andrea – no, we have not tested Country Life Vegan K2. The only people who might know the supplier or source of the gelatin are the manufacturing and quality teams that work for Country Life. I suggest you reach out to their customer service team.”
The Country Life Vegan K2 doesn’t have Gelatin in it since it’s vegan. I was asking about your “InnovixLabs Full Spectrum Vitamin K2” supplement.
I’m also wondering if the MK-4 in your K2 supplement is synthetically made from petroleum derivatives or if it’s made naturally from geraniol and farnesol or if it’s made from fermentation?
The reason I ask is because I’ve tried AOR Peak K2 MK-4 which is derived synthetically from petroleum derivatives and it didn’t do anything for my COVID myocarditis. Country Life Vegan K2 works wonders for my myocarditis and post covid issues. However I am open to trying new K2 supplements to see which one works best for myself.
Menatetrenone seems to be a chiral molecule for natural MK-4(Menaquinone-4) and toxic in my opinion because I’ve noticed neurological attention issues after taking it.
Hi Andrea – thanks for clarifying that. The InnovixLabs K2 has bovine gelatin sourced from both USA, Brazil, and Argentina.
The MK-4 is not petroleum derived. It is plant matter – usually leaves and flower petals. Even though the starting material is plant-based, we do not officially call it ‘natural’ because it’s been purified and there is no remnant of the plant material left in the product. The definition of ‘natural’ (believe it or not!) has not been adequately defined by the FDA, so until we have clarity from the FDA, we are not calling it natural.
Both MK-4 and MK-7 are found in the TRANS form in nature and in food. It can be found as mix of CIS and TRANS, and mostly TRANS when purchased as supplements. InnovixLabs uses all-TRANS (nature-identical) form of K2 for MK-4 and MK-7. We confirm with isomer testing of raw materials and finished product.
Interesting read here, i was looking for the definitive article on K2 MK4 and heart disease, but like you said above it is all new and being investigated, one quote I found was,
” If you want your trial with taking MK4 vitamin K2 to succeed, take it with 2000 IU or more of vitamin D3. The vitamin D boosts production of the calcium handling proteins like MGP which is carboxylized by MK4 and this makes it active.”
also it was quoted to add Vitamin A (from food only !!!!) to compliment the Vitamin D and a study saying Vitamin K2 MK4 was best absorbed with at least 34 grams of saturated fat, I suspect Vitamin K2 MK4 is something that can work but perhaps it cannot outrun a bad diet and lifestyle, using the ‘randle cycle’ (not overeating causing inflammation) and to stop eating processed sugar/smoking/seed oils, then Vitamin K2 Mk4 could work very well.
years passed from my last post where I explained my phosphorous/calcium imbalance (with phosphorous below the low level). As I said, having had <10 vitamin D level (still young I was), doctors gave me VitD, dosage live 25000UI a week for a month. But I had no results except diarrhea the day after. Instead, going every day to the beach and getting tanned helped me to rise the vitD level form <10 to 60 in 3 months. And my phosphorous was magically not much up the low level, Also I had many benefits like better sleeping, more energy and interior peace.
Three things I'd like to ask now:
1. I found a supplement of VitD 4000UI + K2 Mk9 100mcg. What is Mk9?
2. Same company also sells ViD 1000UI +100mcg Mk7. Is this ratio good?
3.About low phosphorous: I have found on the web an article which said that it was found out a low phosphorous to people brought to Emergency. The article said that stress and fear could lower phosphorous. Do you know anything about this problem?
Hi Michele – Vitamin K2 Mk-9 is a longer chain form of K2. We know it is found in some fermented dairy products. It’s not well-studied, but it’s reasonable to assume that it imparts some health benefits. For now, I would focus on MK-4 and MK-7 and add some fermented foods to your diet if you tolerate them.
1000 IU of Vitamin D3 + 100 mcg of MK-7 seems like it would not increase your Vitamin D levels if you’re starting from a deficient position. However, if your blood level of D3 is about 40 or 50 from sun exposure, then this formula could help nudge it over the 50 mark. Otherwise, I’d say the D3 level is too low. No way to know if this is right for you without a blood test – talk to your doctor.
Phosphate homeostatis is a bit beyond the scope of this venue, but a nutrient-dense diet is critical. There is a balance between the input (what you eat) and output (urinary excretion) and some influence from bone turnover. All this is partially controlled by parathyroid hormones and Vitamin D3, which is also a hormone. Stress caused life events that put you in the ER can certainly cause the body to flush out some magnesium and phosphorous…but for the sake of health maintenance, I’d focus on your diet – eat stuff that was alive in the last week – lots of leafy greens, root vegetables, seafood, eggs, fruits, and some meat. Nuts are the only exception to the ‘alive last week’ part.
Hello and thanks for your reply.
Right, it was 1000UI and not 10000.
When I was found this problem, doctors checked many things: blood, parathyroid (blood test, TAC), urinary excretion; I’ve been 3 days in the hospital and for 3 days, every day , I repeated the same tests with the same results. Doctors couldn’t give me a firm answer. But nobody talked me about vit K2. It was 10 years ago, however.
I already eat at least once a week fermented cabbage; 2 years ago I used to make kefir myself but now I only eat cheese from raw milk when I find it.
Just out of interested: what do you mean with eat fermented food “if you tolerate it” ?
Hi Michele – what I meant by ‘if you tolerate’ when I was talking about fermented foods…is that many people are dairy intolerant but don’t know it. This is different from lactose intolerance. I’m lactose intolerance but use heavy cream liberally in my coffee and eat cheese occasionally…I don’t have any reactions to eating dairy if it’s low in lactose. I also know some women who have painful monthly cycles if they consume dairy and completely painless without dairy…this is not lactose-intolerance, but rather dairy intolerance. It’s a poorly defined and recognized condition.
Also, there are some people who have histamine issues and these people have trouble even with fermented veggies like sauerkraut. It’s uncommon, but not unheard of.
Hi Vin Kutty,
Thank you very much for your article and all the answers. I have read them all to see if I could get an answer about vitamin A retinol and through this learned a lot.
My children have extensive disabilities, one of which is autism, so it’s hard to get everything we need through food. We eat too much pasta and bread. But we also eat quite a lot of vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheese, meat and fish.
I fell at the end of December last year on a large ice spot in the street and broke off my arm just below my shoulder and suffered a fracture in my wrist. I’m going through menopause and I’m probably have osteoporosis. The doctors didn’t think I needed to be checked out for this when I asked for it. Here in Sweden, authorities recommend that the upper limit for taking vitamin A retinol is 1.5 milligrams for those of us who have passed menopause. They write that this is because the risk of osteoporosis and fractures is higher for postmenopausal women and it has not been possible to exclude that ingestion of over 1.5 milligrams per day increases the risk. I had about six months before the accident started to take 2000-4000 IU of D3. Since the accident, I also take K2 MK-7 90-180 mcg, Magnesium glycsinate and malate (400 mg), multivitamin mineral (until I know more), Quercetin and zinc, krilloja from Denmark – Antarctic Red (2 capsules 1180 mg, of which 195 mg EPA and 100 mg DHA), choline, vitamin C, probiotics, olive leaf extract and Nac. The last three a few times a week. But I know that the multivitamin mineral supplement is not the best and there is almost no retinol but instead beta-carotene. I wonder how much vitamin A retinol should be taken after menopause now that I’m taking 5000 IU D3? For adults of other ages and men in Sweden, the upper limit of vitamin A retinol is 3 milligrams. How much is 3 milligrams for retinol in IU?
I hope I can order Full Spectrum Vitamin K2 from Sweden because I understand how important MK-4 is together with MK-7. Also your vitamin E and vitamin A.
Hope for answers in the future and many warm thanks!
Ann Nolin Gothenburg, Sweden
Hi Ann – sorry to hear about your fall and fracture.
Other than excess of bread/pasta, it sounds like you are doing a lot of things right. 1.5 mg of Retinol Vitamin A is a good/safe dose given what else you are taking. In IU units, that’s 5000 IU. So, 3 mg of retinol is 10,000 IU. I have never heard of Vitamin A causing any issues at those levels, especially if Vitamin D3 and K2 levels are optimal.
You should be able to order the InnovixLabs Vitamin K2 from iherb.com. https://www.iherb.com/pr/innovixlabs-full-spectrum-vitamin-k2-90-capsules/94915 They ship internationally.
Hello, I just ordered 2 bottles of the k2 & I didn’t realize there was a code for a discount on here for first time buyers. Could I still use it the next t time I order? I plan on taking it 3 times a day if I remember. (Do you think this is too much?) I would then be using one bottle per month.
Hi Dave – please contact InnovixLabs customer service and they will be able to help you get your discount.
Taking 3 a day is more than most studies. There was a study a couple of years ago that used 360 mcg of MK-7 and there is one that’s about to be published which used 1 mg or 1000 mcg daily. There were no reported side effects of concern with 360 mcg per day. At this time, we don’t know if decalcification is dose-dependent and linear or if the benefit curve is U-shaped. I’ve been taking the equivalent of 1 or 2 per day for the last 8 to 10 years without issues.
I’d check with your cardiologist about your 3X per day dosage and have him/her test your Vitamin D level. 2500 IU is probably sufficient if you are light-skinned and spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer. But 2500 IU is probably insufficient to get you to around 50. Chances are you will need 5000 IU between November and April. You will likely need to consume more Magnesium as well.
My issue is I have a bicuspid aortic valve & an enlarged aorta. My bav is now at the moderate level so I have calcification. This often leads to surgery in people with my condition. I want to avoid this for as long as possible so I am being proactive & I have read a few articles that say this could help. I am 53 & in pretty good shape but this is something that will probably happen anyway eventually
I am already taking vitamin d3 2500 iu. What else would be needed for me to fight & eliminate this calcification? I have been trying to eat better also & excercise more.
Thanks for answering my questions. I found your article interesting & posted it on 2 Fb groups that I am part of. Also all of these comments help a lot. I really wish doctors would start suggesting k2.
My mom is 93 & has advanced osteoporosis.. for years she has been taking vit D & calcium
I have found out this is very bad for her osteoporosis & her arteries with calcification
I don’t see her often & can’t talk to her doctor as she lives in Saskatchewan & I am in BC
I will be trying to contact her doctors office though as I don’t want to get her to take k2 without doctors advice even though she is not on blood thinners.
She takes only blood pressure meds.
In your opinion do you think they would agree to her taking them?
I am reading the calcium paradox by Kate Rhume -Bleue & this is an eye opener
It’s too bad doctors eyes are still closed
Hi Dave – if you’re asking me if you can convince a doctor’s office into advising their patients to take Vitamin K2…that depends on both the doctor and how compelling your pitch is. 🙂
You might be a brilliant sales person, but I’m not holding my breath. That’s because the science on K2 is still emerging. We haven’t known about its role in health for long. We still (as of December 2021) don’t have irrefutable proof that X mcg of Vitamin K2 taken for Y months will decrease in arterial calcification by Z percent in, say, a post menopausal population. We know for a fact that K2 impacts calcification – but the details are fuzzy. I’m talking about arterial calcification instead of bone density because cardiac matters are scarier and much more likely to get widespread attention than bone density.
So, that’s what you’re up against. If I were you, I’d certainly talk to my mother’s doctors. What’s the worst that could happen? They roll their eyes silently and hang up on you? I can handle that blow for my mom. Sure you can too. Call them! The doctor might surprise you.
Yes, Kate Rheaume-Bleue’s book was an eye opener…easy to read and way ahead of its time…but it’s a bit dated. It was published in 2011 and the science has come a long way since. Not sure if a 2nd edition is planned.
Good for the article, I liked it a lot and I have read it in full, including your comments
Could you give me your opinion on this Vitamin K supplement that I have been taking for more than 1 year, if it is good and what do you think about the dose (I also take an extra 3000 IU of Vitamin D)
After reading your article I am worried that I am taking too much Vitamin K1 since with my diet high in Vegetables I am already receiving 700 mcg of Vitamin K1
And finally, what do you think about using specialized formulas like in this case vitaMK7, does it make a difference?
Hi Jorge – the Jarrow K-Right is a pretty good formula.
PLUS: Good amount of MK-4 and MK-7.
MINUS:There is no need for K1 in the formula, although it’s difficult to say if the additional 500 mcg of K1 is cause for concern. Also, as you’ve figured out, most people need more than the 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 present in the formula. Most adults need 3000 to 4000 IU daily to reach optimal levels.
As for using branded K2 (like MenaQ7, K2Vital, vitaMK7 etc.,) is a good idea because it gives you insight into the source and quality of the raw material. Gnosis, the maker of vitaMK7 is reputable. I prefer K2Vital and MenaQ7, but vitaMK7 is good as well – it used to be made from chickpeas in India – good quality. All of the branded form of K2 are also all-trans. So that’s another assurance of quality. InnovixLabs uses K2Vital. These branded K2 products are expensive.
There are some surprisingly cheap sources of K2 on the market, and we are in the process of purchasing many of the cheap products to test for cis/trans balance. If you see really cheap products, even from well-known brands, you may want to be suspicious. This is much more of a problem on Amazon.com than on iherb.com because there is no barrier to entry for selling supplements on Amazon – anyone can sell anything on Amazon.
First of all, thanks for a pretty comprehensive examination of the K2’s. So many “authorities” are on the Internet promoting a vitamin, or whatever, without having done a lick of actual research or even reading the published research. Mostly, one finds them dishonestly using their “credentials” to advance an agenda or product they sell.
“Based on all of the above, you could make a compelling argument that MK-4 is much more important than MK-7.”
Yes, this is what my study of many sources clearly indicates.
“Neither MK-4 nor MK-7, in my opinion, is natural.”
This statement is confusing to me. As MK-4 is found in butter and ghee from grass fed cows, duck fat, egg yolk, some cheeses, etc, why are these not considered “natural” sources? And might not natto be considered a “natural” source, since it is not lab created? Also, the fermentation process in some cheeses produces MK-7.
“Once you begin thinking of MK-4 and MK-7 as having different roles in the body, rather than a weaker/stronger form of the same thing, the anti-MK-4 sales pitches start to sound hollow.”
That there is so much anti MK-4 bias, when it is clearly has much more overall use in the body, shows how much the Pharmaceutical industry is in control of the discussion.
“MK-7 has never been consumed in high doses in human history, unless you lived in eastern Japan and eat Natto.”
I have not found in your article a clear articulation of exactly what MK-7 is contributing to the human body. Maybe I missed something. More philosophically, I suppose, I think there is much to reflect on regarding what nature has provided over the course of human existence and the stunning Intelligence of the human body’s processes. We see that nature provides many more sources of MK-4 in foods available to humanity over the years. And we have seen how MK-4 plays many important roles in the body. We see very limited sources of MK-7 available to most human societies; some cheeses being primary. It seems to me, observing the animal kingdom, for example, when what they need to thrive is available in a suitable environment, why the same would not apply to the human body. If very little MK-7 is found in our foods, is its importance for the human body not probably minor?
On another note, I wonder if the bioavailability of any vitamin is not much, much better coming from a whole food rather than a lab created synthetic.
Your comments would be very welcome. Thank you.
Hi William – thanks.
What I meant by ‘neither MK-4 nor MK-7 are natural,’ is in supplements. In foods, of course, they are natural. But supplement companies try to one-up each other and claim their K2 is natural while the competition offers synthetic stuff. My take on this is that even ‘natural’ K2 in supplements are so refined and removed from soy protein or garbanzo beans, or flower petals that they cannot really be called natural.
Re bias against MK-4. That bias is not pharmaceutical in origin. The origin is from within the nutrition/supplement industry. MK-4 production patents are expired. MK-7 patents are still in effect. So the patent holders who sell MK-7 but not MK-4 are the ones behind this. I’ve called them out on it to their face at conferences. Now they just avoid me.
As for food vs supplement – you’re absolutely right. Get it from food whenever possible. Go out of your way to get it from food. But the days of us eating liver and sauerkraut are long gone. And our soils are getting increasingly depleted. So with even the best diet, a little supplementation may be necessary.
Thank you! The entire article and sequence of comments and replies has been very informative.
Is it finally possible to get MK4 which was made in the USA?
There’s a brand named Dr’s Hope with both MK4 and MK7 which is said to be made in the USA.
What are your thoughts on this product? Thank you so much!
Hi Tina – as of this writing (February 2022), there is still no MK-4 that’s being produced in USA. I’ve no reason to doubt that the product you mention is encapsulated and bottled in the US.
Vin, Re: Vitamin K2 MK-4. Going back to Weston Price’s “Activator X”, which subsequently turned out to be Vitamin K2 MK-4. Dr. Price had significant results treating patients with his butter oil. Yet this oil had a very small about of K2, 221 ng/g. The highest concentration of MK-4 found in a natural form is Emu oil 4,200 ng/g in a capsule, which is only 4.2 micrograms! That is far below the recommended daily amount of K2 MK-4 for any commercial product. So is a natural form of MK-4 far, far more bioavailable than what is offered in supplements? Is one just as well off getting one’s MK-4 from Ghee (grass), Emu oil from a proven source, egg yolk (pasture raised), etc? Thank you!
Hi William – in a word, no, MK-4 in butter/emu oils are not more bioavailable…but they are present in fat, so they may be better absorbed. There is some nuance there, but higher bioavailability suggests different pharmacokinetics.
Translating this to modern living, it means you need to take your K2 with a meal that contains some fat.
There is also a microbiome component to this – it’s very likely that our gut microbiome was far more intact and dysbiotic back in the day when Weston Price was working. It’s possible that we converted K1 from green leafy veggies to MK-4 far better than we do toady…but that’s a guess on my part.
If you want MK-4, then eat as much organ meats, fats, and poultry products from grass-fed and pasture-raised sources as possible. This should keep you from becoming deficient. If you are willing to seek out and consume these foods, then, great! But if you’d rather know how much you’re consuming, supplements can always fill the gap.
If you view micro-nutrients thru a ‘likelihood of deficiency’ lens, you will see things a bit more clearly. Now layer on ease-of-consumption and you find that things like Omeag-3 and Magnesium are easily available to the average American…we just choose not to eat that stuff. K2 stands apart 1) deficiency is rampant 2) it is hard to find foods in the grocery store that contains a lot of K2 and 3) people find K2-rich foods revolting.
I’m thrilled that you are considering butter oil, emu oil, and grass-fed ghee. But most people don’t know what those are. They know liver and sauerkraut…but people gag when you mention it.
Thanks, Vin for your thoughtful reply. I, and many others, appreciate the resource that you are for various areas of nutrition. I’ll continue my MK-4 supplementation along with the grass fed ghee, pasture raised eggs and dark meat chicken I eat. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who has a reaction to MK-7: heart palpitations. I’ve got a liquid form of MK-7 (all trans form vs CIS) that is in 500 mcg drops. I’m going to dilute it in water and see if 50 mcg increments work.
Hi William – glad to be of help.
Re – heart palpitations, this is officially not a documented side effect. I’ve reached out to most MK-7 researchers and asked them to review their raw data for reports of heart palpitation, but none of them have any reports of this from their clinical studies…even when MK-7 was dosed at 360 mcg daily.
But you’re not alone. There appears to be a very small (may be 1%?) of the population that reacts to MK-7 with palpitations. I’m certain it’s uncomfortable and somewhat scary the first time it happens, even though there is no known risk to this. Our official position is that if you experience palpitations, cease taking the product and talk to your doctor.
What we know so far is that MK-4 does not seem to cause this problem – that’s a relief! We don’t know why.
There are several theories about this – magnesium deficiency? Inadequate levels of other fat-soluble Vitamins (A, E, and D3)? Too high a dose of MK-7 to begin with…I have no idea if starting with a very low dose helps.
Please keep us posted on what you find.
Is the Thorne mk4 in trans form? Im assuming it is since you used it but where did find that info? Thanks!
Hi Robert – I have not purchased the Thorne product since 2016 or so. They are a good company and I trust them to do the right thing. So it’s probably in the preferred Trans form.
We are in the midst of testing several Vitamin K2 products sold on Amazon because they seem suspiciously cheap. We tested several newer (less familiar) brands and many contain less than what’s claimed on the label and couple that claimed to have both MK-4 and MK-7 did not have any MK-4 at all. We have not tested Thorne because they are an established brand with good reputation and therefore, not likely to cut corners or mislead people.
Thanks for replying Vin. I agree with you on Thorne. Have been using a few of their supplements for years now and they seem like a legit company all around company.
As far as your testing, thats insane, but not surprising. Would be awesome if you could post your results! But I also understand if you don’t. It would give people a nice list of K2 formulas to stay away from. Love your work and emphasis on purity. Thanks!
Hi Robert – personally, I would like to expose the bad actors selling bogus K2 products. The problem is mostly on Amazon. As I suspected, our Legal dept. had strong feelings about it. 🙂 I was told that we’d get sued for defamation/libel even if I’m right and scammers are wrong. Legal’s words: ‘You’d win the case. How much time and money do you have to prove to the world that you are right?’
As a compromise, I may release a redacted version of the results. But that doesn’t help anyone choose or avoid products.
Hi there I’ve been taking 3000 iu of vitamin d no vitamin k supplements I’ve been eating spinach almost everyday sometimes kale I also eat 3 eggs everyday I recently started eating sauerkraut every day with meals I eat meat on a regular basis too am I getting enough vitamin k to support the amount of vitamin d? Or should I supplement with some mk4 I was thinking about maybe getting a low dose like 60 mcg twice a day what do you think?
Hi Nick – kale and spinach have Vitamin K1. Green veggies do not have K2. Sauerkraut will have some K2, but it alone is not going to be enough. Supplementing with MK-4 is probably a good idea, given you are taking D3 already. 60 mcg of MK-4 is not much. Aim for 10X that amount.
Hi Vin I’m really confused with how much vitamin k2 mk4 I should take per 1000iu of vitamin D as the ratio seems to be favored directed towards mk7 on the internet and the dose for mk7 as you know is much lower than mk4 , I’m team mk4 and would like to know the answer to this though question. Nick
I’d aim for 500 to 1000 mcg of MK-4 daily. If you take less or skip a day or two, don’t sweat it.
Loved this article! I’m confused myself however. Last year around the beginning of November I tested for Vitamin D blood levels and got a result of 6; pretty much non-existent to my dismay. I’ve since been getting weekly Vitamin D injections of 50,000 IU and just tested this week with levels at only 36?!?? I was shocked. For most of the year I’ve been FAITHFULLY getting these weekly shots, and couldn’t believe my eyes with these results. I don’t know why I was expecting at least 40-50s range. So I stumbled upon this article in researching how to better assimilate or absorb the Vitamin D I’ve been getting. Had no idea Vitamin K played a role, I figured maybe magnesium or calcium at most. My question to you is:
1. I found another article that mentioned to never take Vitamin D or Vitamin K together (or any other far soluble vitamin for that matter) since they compete for absorption. What are your thoughts on this? I only eat twice a day, but my heaviest meal which is dinner is the only one that contains any fats, not sure how to go about this, since I physically can’t eat that much in a day.
2. I had calcification deposits in my breasts when I was 22 years old, I wasn’t taking any supplements however, so im not sure what attributed to the fact. I’m 33 now. Could I have potentially risked myself for the same fate since taking the D3 alone all these months??
3. Occasionally I’ll take a scoop of powdered magnesium oxide to go to bed. I know the oxide variety isn’t all that bioavailable. Any suggestions on what kind to get specifically to help increase blood D3 levels??
4. I was originally planning on getting FCLO, but reading your insight in some of these comments has changed my mind. Would Rosita brand RAW cod liver oil be a better option? It’s usually sold refrigerated, so I can’t imagine it being rancid?
5. Finally, any other suggestions on how to increase D3 levels?? I live out in Boston, not much sun out here, so I have no choice but to supplement. I’m more confused about combinations with other vitamins/minerals more than anything though. Was thinking about doing the 20,000 IU a day like you did for 2 weeks, dropping to 10,000 IU daily for the next 2 weeks, and then retesting at the month mark. Would the 100mcg of MK7 and 1,000 mcg of MK4 suffice during this time and after I scale back to a regular dose? Or would I have to up on the K2 to get a better ratio??
Thanks again for your help,
Hi Carla – I see absolutely no reason to take D3 and K2 separately. Needing to take these two fat soluble vitamins is a myth that deserves to die…but good myths are hard to kill. Having said that the origin of this myth is a paper that suggested fat soluble vitamins may share some receptor sites in the gut. The internet took that and ran. The paper never insinuated that these vitamins be taken separately. In my opinion, this is silly because virtually all cells in the human body seems to have receptors for Vitamin D.
As you found out, if your D3 levels are low, it is likely bottle-necked by co-factors such as Vitamins K2, A, E, and Magnesium. Aim for 300 to 400 mg of Magnesium from Magnesium Malate or Magnesium Glycinate, or if budget is an issue Magnesium Citrate.
If your blood levels of D3 was 36, it is unlikely that you caused issues with calcification, as that is a low level. My guess is that it takes much higher levels for a longer period of time in the absence of the above co-factors before you’ll see issues. My suggestion is to build up the co-factors and ask your doctor if you can switch to 5000 IU of D3 daily from supplements. If your doctor wants to maintain the weekly shots, do that.
I suggest you stay away from fermented cod liver oil unless you know TOTOX values (measure of racidity) are below 20. Even that is high. We aim to keep it below 10, which is fresh. I’m always willing to be proven wrong, but in my 25 years in the Omega-3 arena, I’ve never seen fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) have TOTOX values of less than 10.
Also, please keep in mind that Vitamin D3 supplements are not a replacement for sun exposure. We’re are just starting to scratch the surface of the numerous benefits of sun exposure. Free Vitamin D3 is just one of the benefits. Even in winter time, you should expose your face and eyes to 5-10 minutes of morning sunlight. And, of course, in the summer, get as much full body skin exposure as you can.
I have one question about K2 – MK4 products on the market
One of them is Carlson – Vitamin K2, MK-4 (Menatetrenone).Their amount per serving is 5 mg, and The other is Osteo-K. Their amount per serving is 22,5 mg.
Both products have great reviews and it seems that it really works.Your suggestion is not get over 1mg of K2MK-4 per serving
May I know your opinion on these products?
Hi Radek – I like and trust Carlson. I am not familiar with the other brand.
The high dosages in these products are based on Japanese trials from a few decades ago. It’s apparently quite safe, but I always look at optimal levels based on what humans may have ancestrally consumed and I see no evidence that we might have ever consumed 5 mg, let alone 22 mg of MK-4 on a daily basis.
When you combine MK-4 with MK-7, you can make do with much lower doses of MK-4. I still stand by my recommendation of 0.5 to 1 mg per day.