Vitamin K2: A New Interpretation of an Old Vitamin

April 01, 2013

Vitamin K2: A New Interpretation of an Old Vitamin 

 Reference:  Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Kate Rheaume-Bleue 

 We’ve known about Vitamin K since the 1930s when it was first characterized in Denmark by Henrik Dam for making chickens on a pure cholesterol diet bleed to death.  It was called Vitamin K because Koagulation in German starts with a K.  American Edward Doisy characterized it and clarified that it was actually two molecules that was called K1 and K2. For those discoveries, those two men were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1943.   And that was it.   It was all wrapped up. What we didn’t realize was that three critical errors were made in that early time.  

First of all, Vitamin K2 had already been discovered.   A dentist from Cleveland was curing dental cavities with it.  His name was Weston Price, the “Darwin of Nutrition”. We’ll tell his story next week.   (And who would pay attention to a dentist, let alone from Cleveland?) 

 Secondly, though both K1 and K2 acted similarly in their chemical activation by “carboxylation” (adding a carbon dioxide molecule to a glutamine amino acid), only K1 was involved in coagulation.  It would not be for another 60 years that we discovered that K2 was not about coagulation but rather calcium metabolism.  I’ll explain a couple of weeks from now how critical that calcium metabolism is but we’ll summarize by asking the question, “Have you ever had cavities? Or have you been diagnosed with osteoporosis?  Or do you have calcium in your arteries?”  If so, this applies to you.  

To reiterate, we thought K2 was about coagulation, just like K1.  It’s not.  They are not variants of each other.  It’s a whole separate universe of calcium metabolism that K2 controls.  Considering that the metabolism of calcium affects just about every organ system in the body, you might have a hunch K2 has a very broad reach.  We’ll prove that.  And we will also make the Vitamin D and K2 connection.  If you have heard about Vitamin D not being all its cracked up to be, you have heard research findings that didn’t take K2 into account.  When you understand and layer in Vit K2 to D research, you have a synergistic story that will help you understand how to cure osteoporosis in ways we never could do before.  

And also how to impact heart disease, diabetes, fertility, cancer, Alzheimer’s facial shape…the reach of Vitamin K2 is very broad. The third error was that we didn’t need to worry about K2 because we made it in our gut and got plenty from vegetables.  Wrong and wrong.  It would not be until the 2005 that the frequency of K2 would be hinted it.  K1is common and hard to limit.  We take coumadin to suppress the abundance of K1 in our bodies.  But K2 is not common.  In fact, we are all in a critical K2 shortage.  To our severe detriment. 

WWW. What will work for me.  I’m completely taken off balance by the reach of K2.  I want you to understand it too so please hang in there with me for the next few weeks.  If you want to read the original material, but the book!  If not, you might just want to poke around and find yourself some K2.  We have it in the office!   

 Pop Quiz

1.  Vitamin K1 and K2 both have the same chemical effect on glutamine.  T or F.                Answer:   This is actually true. They both carboxylate the glutamine amino acid, activating the protein that it is on. This is a trick question because they activate completely different proteins. 2.  The key role of K2 is in calcium metabolism.  T or F                       Answer:  True.  K1 is all about blood clotting but K2 is a distinct and separate metabolic effect. 

 3.  K2 was actually discovered by a dentist from Sacramento in the 1920s.   T or F               Answer:  Cleveland, Cleveland.  He was from Cleveland.  He was a dentist.  But Weston Price traveled the whole world taking pictures of people's teeth and recording exactly what they ate, and how that influenced their cavities and teeth.  He has been called the "Charles Darwin of Nutrition" for the insights he discovered.  He spend the last 10 years of his career proving that you could fix cavities with his "Activator X" which was, in retrospect, a mix of Vit K2 and A and D. 

 4.   The K Vitamins are common so deficiency is rare.  T or F                         Answer:  False. K1 is common and you make plenty in your gut. But K2 is not made in your gut and its deficiency is very widespread.  We didn't find that out till just a few years ago, which is why you are only hearing about this now.

This column was written by John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI.