Research over the past several years shows how valuable and necessary vitamin K is for adults and kids when it comes to supporting cardiovascular, bone, and blood health. Vitamin K2 as MK-7 ensures calcium is directed to the parts of our body where it's needed most, like our bones.
First, a quick vitamin K review. Vitamins K1 and K2 have slight variations in their chemical molecular structures and work differently within the body. K2, known as phylloquinone, is primarily found in green, leafy vegetables and is the most abundant form of vitamin K in our diet. It works in our body to promote healthy blood coagulation by assisting our liver in producing blood clotting proteins and also supports bone health.
Our body converts the majority of K1 into K2. K2 is typically less abundant in our diet and our children's diets. It's found mainly in animal products and fermented soybeans. K2 occurs in several forms, but the two that appear to have the most biological activity are MK-4 (menatetrenone-4) and MK-7 (menaquinone-7). MK-4 is more widely distributed in our body tissues compared to other forms of K2. But MK-7 is absorbed and utilized by our body better than K1 and stays longer in the body than K1 and MK-4. This is one of the reasons there are a lot more supplements with the MK-7 form.
Many parents are savvy enough in their supplement knowledge to give their children calcium and vitamin D supplements to help maintain bone health, but few realize there's another nutrient necessary to optimize bone and cardiovascular health, which is K2. Proper dosing of MK-7 during our childhood years build the foundation for heart and bone health in our adult years.
During childhood and adolescence, bones are highly active. They are constantly making and remodeling bone matter during the growth process. Osteocalcin levels are eight to 10 times higher than the levels in adult bones! So, it makes perfect sense why children require vitamin K2 as they grow. But unfortunately, many children don’t receive enough MK-7 through their diet alone.
Foods rich in K1 include green leafy vegetables, like kale, spinach broccoli, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. K2-rich foods include beans. If your children aren't eating enough of these items, a supplement can be a great option. Remember that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it works best if taken with some food with fat in it like: eggs, nuts, or avocado.