The Vitamin K Conspiracy
Updated: Jan 12
How we came to lose the most vital nutrient for our brain, blood and bones from the great American diet is as much a mystery as it is a conspiracy.
Vitamin K3 New Research & Experiments
Vitamin K refers to a group of three, fat-soluble vitamins called the quinones. Menadione, vitamin K3, is manufactured synthetically. It is sometimes used as a nutritional supplement because of its vitamin K activity. Recently, there has been a lot of buzz about vitamin K.
3 types of Vitamin K
Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 and has since been mostly known for Blood Clotting, Slowing of Arterial Calcification and Bone Building.
It is found in (in order of magnitude)
Goose Liver Pate
Soybean Hard Cheeses
Hard & Soft Cheeses
For details on portions see:
The rise & risk of convenience foods
For some reason, many in the post-war generation were raised on ice-berg lettuce, jello “salads” and canned produce that minimizes vegetable content. After the war in a boom economy America wanted modern conveniences. Another decade or two later, the country was aglow with liberation, a good thing! But food marketers saw an opportunity to “industrialize” food in the name of convenience to a generation of people hoping to spend less time in the kitchen. .
The main fault of the era of “convenience foods” is that it has robbed several generations who came of age as home-makers in the post-war 50’s,60’s,70’s, 80’s and even 90’s to build a refined, deep ability to know how to source, select and prepare a variety of vegetables and high quality meats as a part of their daily food ritual.
The marketing of industrial, convenience food came with with a good bit of propaganda about how these products were cheaper than fresh ones, and to make that more true, they worked hard to strangle the distribution channels that brought fresh food into communities.
The economic argument is simply not true. Still today, scratch cooking (this is for vegetarians) can feed a family of 4 on 7 dollars a day. And even with the addition of meat, the quantity of meat people need is very small. Paying someone else to make, package, preserve and ship your food for you is never cheaper--otherwise how would they stay in business?
Essentially, when you buy packaged foods, you are transferring the nutritional value from your plate into economic profit for the company who put that food in the box.
By buying into the myth of convenience foods, we lost the ability to wash, slice and dice and saute, and replaced it with the can opener, the ability to boil something in the bag or a pot, or heat in a microwave oven. We lost skills until the prospect of cooking felt overwhelming to many.
Instead of being controlled by your deciders and needs, production and sourcing decisions have moved into the factory and are driven by the bottom line, out of the families and communities in America. It also means the most wholesome nutrients that your body craves to stay healthy, have left the American meal altogether.
As these nutrient's leave the diet, symptoms set in over time that rob us of energy. These are anxiety, depression. addictions (even common benign-seeming ones like binge watching TV or scrolling through Social Media--or ruminating and complaining) and overwhelm as the mind and body struggle to cope on inadequate fuel.
Here is the fix. It's simple.
Load your plate with a variety of dark leafy greens and other vitamin K strong foods.
Vitamin K1 comes mainly from dark, leafy greens and these are truly your best source for them!
A good rule of thumb to be heart, head and bone healthy is this:
Make your plate 85% greens and other vegetables.
The more colorful the better is a winning combination! Think greens, broccoli or carrots. (This means not mostly potatoes.) And if they are potatoes make them orange or purple. All of these colors mean nutrients that will pick you up!!
Vitamin K1 should be paired with K2 to get the full impact of building better brains, circulation and bones.
Vitamin K2 is found almost entirely in animal sources such as some meats and from fermented dairy like aged hard and soft cheeses. The only plant-based source of K2 is Natto, a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans.
These contain the MK-4 form of K2. And the MK-7 form is found in fermented Natto as well. And you can supplement Vitamin K2 also. See below!
Watch your Food Sources--Make friends with a local farmer
How food is made has an impact on vitamin content. Reports suggest that dairy products from grass fed cows, and eggs from free range chickens have higher amounts of K2 than grain fed cows and chickens.
Supplementing with Vitamin K
K1 and K2 are widely used in nutritional supplements. K2 is called menaquinone. The K2 varieties --for the clinical buffs --are identified based on the length of the side chain MK-2 to MK-14. The two forms that appear in supplements are MK-2 and MK-7.
The chain lengths of Vitamin K2 supplements commonly manufactured and shown in many studies to be beneficial, are somewhat arbitrary choices. Your body’s needs may be more specific. This one example of why getting your nutrition from food is always the first choice.
There are studies that show fantastic result preventing and reversing Osteoporosis in women who are post-menopausal using Vitamin K2 supplementation.
How much supplement should we take? Therapeutic amounts of vitamin K supplements have been studied for years. As you can see they vary depending on type. (mcg = micrograms. Mg = milligrams)
K1 300 mcg----3 mg
K2 (MK-4) 5mg or more
K2 (MK-7) 90-180 mcg
Another reason to consider supplementation with vitamin K is if you have been taking antibiotics, as these will diminish the digestive power of your gut biome. It also means it may lead to a weak link between your gut and your brain according to some studies, and you may find that you are feeling foggy in the head, sleepless or depressed after a treatment with antibiotics.
Another risk to your gut biome and to your vitamin K levels is to those taking Statins or any antacids.
Note, if you take blood thinners like Warfarin, you can determine the optimal amount of Vitamin K for your health and then adjust your warfarin levels accordingly with the help of your cardiologist. The key is to keep it level and predictable.
Recent Research News about Vitamin K3
Vitamin K 3 is synthetic and has recently been used in an array of clinical investigations for cancer, serious parasite infections and also diseases of the brain, most recently research into the formation of Beta Amyloid.
Protein misfolding and aggregation -- a fancy term for too much accumulation of Beta Amyloid.
-- has been associated with several human diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
Now, it’s been shown in studies that vitamin K3 exerts a neuro-protective effect when added to tissue samples.
The study featured here, conducted by several scientists at Aligarh Muslim University, showed that the presence of K3 reduced amyloid beta inflicted cell cytotoxicity. In layman’s terms cells that been sentenced to cell death were largely revived by the presence of vitamin K3.
The chart below demonstrates how cells remained viable even with the presence of toxic Amyloid Beta added to them that would normally strangle neuronal function.
The bars at the right show significantly restored cell viability with the addition of Vitamin K. Whereas the second bar is the compromised Amyloid Beta toxic brain cell nearing cell death.
This is done using cultured cells. And the full details can be found in this link to the complete study.
Now, most of us cannot access Vitamin K3 in stores. However, eating from the list of vitamin K foods and maintaining a healthy biome will mean that you will consume or synthesize the full array of vitamin K in your own system.
If eating from this list of dark, leafy foods is not in your daily habits, reach out for a pep talk! We’ve got you!
A brain is like a garden, ask yourself what you can do every day to feed it it, nurture it, and help it grow.