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mccoy

Vitamin K2

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This has been probably already discussed, I searched but found nothing in this forum nor I found any reference in Michael's thread: Nutrition and Supplementation for Veg(etari)ans,

 

so I'm going to open this thread.

 

As part of my ongoing updating endeavour on nutrition, I've read the relevant material available in the web on K2 (what can be read in a search of about 1-2 hours). Bone and dental health seems to be the main issue dealing with this vitamin. Another miracoulos natural compound?

 

Now I'm wondering if i should be concerned and go and buy Brie and Gouda cheese, like Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue suggests, apparently the richest sources of K2 aside natto and liver. Anyone has opinions about Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue's book?

 

Any suggestions are very much welcome.

Edited by mccoy

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Thanks Dean for the convenient google tip.

 

I confess now I'm curious about natto, although I don't know whether it's going to be easy to find it in my place. No Asian foodstores around, maybe in health food stores.

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I could not find natto yet. Since I read Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue's book, I've started eating some Brie cheese but switched to Camembert when I noticed Brie is a whopping 33% fats (Camembert is 20%). The problem is that there are not many analyses available on K2 and only a few types of cheese are high in menaquinone.

I ordered some supplements which are very costly but will free myself from the slavery of French cheese. Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue has been pretty convincing in her book about the almost miraculous properties of the menaquinone family and that vitamin D and calcium can be worse than useless without adequate amounts of K2.

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I downloaded the book and it is fascinating. Especially the very complexity of the interplay between vitamin A,D and K2, osteocalcin and MGP. These factors work together to increase bone density and to keep calcium out of soft tissue. She also makes quite a few other health claims wrt cancer etc. The author backs up her claims with research citations, but they are certainly not without confusion and controversy. For instance her claim that Retinol, the animal source vitamin A, is crucial in the interaction with K2andD3. So crucial that many of the conflicting research on calcium and D supplementation disappears when this vitamin is considered. She goes on to say that vegans are especially at risk because conversion of beta carotene to retinol is quite variable and not reliable. She also takes issue with the Vitamin D council's warnings about Retinol causing bone loss. This, she claims, only happens when K2 is inadequate, but when adequate, Retinol is very helpful in building bone and that we need not limit retinol to 900 mcg but should aim for 10,000 iu. In summary adequate retinol, k2 and vitamin D are crucial to bone health and prevention of soft tissue calcification along with a whole host of other health issues which she explains in the book with scientific citations.

Edited by mikeccolella

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Mike, you posted a good synthesis of the complex and often little-known issues tackled in the book. One strange aspect remains, that is, assuming the extraordinary importance of such a vitamin, as would descend from Kate Rheaume-Bleue's illlustrations, I would expect far more data on the menaquinone(MK)  family content in common food. There is not such, possibly barring Japan.

 

The author herself, in her book speaks of 'Gouda-like hard cheese' as exhibiting good concentrations in K2. On a more detailed research, though, there are no data in literature about Gouda cheese and the reference article on menaquinone in dairy products, which I read, is not very useful for practical purposes since some very regional cheese types have been experimented, which are not found everywhere in the world and for others the MK value ranges are too wide. Brie, allegedly the richest cheese in MK-7 is not part of this study. It is not clear what mesophylic coltures are  (presumably lactococcus cultures) and which are the commercial products containing mesophylic, K2-rich coltures. Some products are grouped in the widest 'soft cheese' or 'hard cheese' families, with little practical use. What is clear is that common yogurt and probiotics unfortunately do not contain Menoquinone.

 

The bottom line is that yes, K2 may well be one miracolous vitamin, but, aside from natto (unavailable in many places) and foie gras (meat-based), where to take it from??? From Brie cheese, which is 33% fat? From the Norwegian Jarlberg, which is unobtainable in many states other than Norway?

 

Vegan people who have no access to Natto vendors would be compelled to use costly supplements or to make their own fermented vegetables coltures (not easily obtainable).

Edited by mccoy

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From Brie cheese, which is 33% fat?

 

Yeah, it's only 1/3rd as good as olive oil but it's easy enough to make up for the deficiency with quantity.

 

 

I concur it's easy, since the taste is pretty darn good.

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Mccoy I too am a bit frustrated with the lack of knowledge in regard to K2 sources. It seems strange that something that appears, based on some good science, to be critical component of health is largely ignored by mainstream medical and even nutrtional science. Vitamin K to them is simply a blood clotting factor and thats it.

 

I would add that the evidence strongly suggests that this important substance has largely been eliminated by the use of anti biotics and caging of animals like chickens. The paleolithic diet argument would be that k2 was abundant when we ate wild meat and especially blood and organs from animals not treated with anti biotics and fed absurd diets loaded with grains that screw up their microbiomes and making antibiotics necessary.

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For those who eat dairy products: I've read in detail the article by Manoury et al., 2013, which appears to be a recent relevant reference.

They have analyzed 62 dairy samples purchased in retail stores in France, Germany, Denmark, england and Poland. Unfortunately, there is no reference in the article which allows to trace the commercial brands or specific varieties, this is a major drawback of this study.

 

There a few interesting point though which appear to be clear:

 

  • Dairy products may contain molecules of the menaquinone family, from MK6 to MK10.
  • The origin of the vitamin K2 is due to fermentation. Content of K2 is independent of fat content and Ph
  • Termophilyc bacteria (Lactobacillus, bifidobacterium,...) do not produce K2. The practical result is that all yogurts do not contain K2.
  • Mesophylic bacteria (Lactococcus, Lucostoc..., reproducing in a temperature range from 18 to 30 °C) may produce K2. The result is that Kefir products may contain significant K2 (relative to a one cup serving).

So, dairy products which do not contain any K2 are (besides milk and cream), all yogurts and mozzarella cheese. 

Besides,

 

Blue cheese, n=4, contains from 5 to 72 µg/100 g.

Comtè cheese, which I do not know, does not contain any K2

Emmental cheese, a pretty common variety, contains but little MK-10 (4 µg/100 g on average)

Cheddar hard cheese sampled (n=6) contains from 5 to 43 µg/100 g.

Semihard cheese (varieties unknown, n=11) contain from 16 to 42 µg/100 g

Soft cheese (varieties unknown, n=7) contain from 11 to 118 

Kefir (n=21) contains from 3 to 53  µg/100 g

 

Main molecule present in dairy products is MK-9.

 

Unfortunately the ranges are wide so personal strategies to include some dietary K2 aside form supplements are not easy to implement.

 

I started to make my own Kefir, which is likely to provide some K2, although there is a lot of variability in values.

 

Soft cheese (I believe the Camembert-Brie family) exhibit a wide range of K2 content, but they may contain over 100 µg/100 g K2 (MK8 and MK9 well represented) . I believe that's a specific Brie cheese, Brie which other literature points out to be the highest in K2 among dairy products.

 

This is the final table in the article, with values expressed in units of ng/g (simply divide by 10 to obtain units of µg/100 g).

 

The interesting conclusion is that, by a diet which includes a variety of fermented dairy products, with the exclusion of yogurt, mozzarella (and probably ricotta cheese), is statistically likely to include some MK-9 K2 (although with a total amount which will not assuredly reach  the 85   µg/100 g presently reccomendend value)

 

 

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Edited by mccoy

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Thanks for bringing my attention to K2.  I was vaguely aware of it but under the impression that people could convert K1 from plants to K2 and hadn't considered seeking an increase of dietary K2.

 

After reading more about K2 I was inspired to visit our local Asian supermarket and picked up a couple varieties of natto to try out.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I feared.  I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, but with mustard and/or wasabi and some soy sauce it goes down ok.   However Dutch Gouda or French double creme Brie is a more enjoyable way to get K2 - even though you have to eat quite a bit more....

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Todd, to tell the truth there are apparently some authors who have risen doubts as to the essentiality of K2 and the actual possibililty to satisfy menaquinone needs by mere conversion from phylloquinone MK-1 to the larger molecules MK-n, in particular MK-4.

 

Now, faced with such contradictory info, as usual it is maybe better to apply the precautionary principle and consider menaquinones as essential. I'm going to post more about it. 

 

As to natto, I'd be very willing to try that out if I could find it in my area. Its obvious and overwhelming advantage is that a mere 10 grams would satisfy the daily need of menaquinones. In the meanwhile I'm just taking MK7 supplements derived from natto and taking my usual moderate amounts of dairy products. The latter might offer a more complete set of molecules, MK8 and MK9 in addition to MK7, but I don't know if this is really an actually advantageous strategy or it is indifferent.

Edited by mccoy

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Going into the details of the kefir content in K2, unfortunately it appears to be a prerogative of some specific products of Poland, with the genus leuconostoc prevailing and sometimes the cheese is drained to obtain sort of a cottage cheese (Twarog). No way my home-made kefir is going to reach that content in menaquinone, a particular leuconostoc strain seems to be the specific bacterium able to produce vitamin K2 . The following excerpt is a comment on the menaquinone blog of the honey-guide site. 

 

 

Manoury et al state in the first paragraph on page 1345

“MFM16 and MFM17, which had high MK-8 and MK-9 concentrations and so were located in the east region of the map. Those 2 products were Tvarog, from Poland, and were mainly distinguished by their Leuconostoc content.”

Tvarog or Twarog is a kind of cottage cheese. It is made from milk soured with leucononstoc and lactococcos bacteria, that ferments until it forms curds, and indeed continues to ferment as those curds are pressed.

The dry weight percentages tell some of the story. Milk has a dry weight of about 14%.

These MFM do better than viili (for example) even though it uses the same bacteria. I imagine that this is in part because they have been able to ferment longer, in part because the whey has been discarded doubling the concentration of the MK (they are 25 and 29% dry matter) and, of course, since a lot of the other MFMs seem to also be cheeses, it must also have something to do with the particular strains of leuconostoc.

Edited by mccoy

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My natto experiment was a bust.  Although my wife and I split a single serving, roughly eating a heaping tablespoon of fermented soybeans each I developed a lot of gas and abdominal discomfort over the last day with no other obvious change/cause to blame.  I though I'd get away with it as I've reintroduced a modest amount of legumes such as lentils into my diet without significant issues although I've been strict about keeping soy out.  Supposedly fermentation can reduce intolerance issues and I was hopeful a small amount of natto would be ok.

 

In most every way my health has improved dramatically in the past 6 months though coming from such dismally low point I have quite a way to go.  If I continue to improve I'll try natto again in a few months.   For the short term, as my blood lipid profile has gone from awful to quite good, I'm going to risk regular consumption of Brie and Gouda - in moderation of course.

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I read the Schurgers and Vermeer article: 

Determination of Phylloquinone and Menaquinones in Food...

 

Where there is the following sentence related to cheese purchsed in dutch supermarkets:

 

Long-chain menaquinones were mainly found in curd cheese, hard (Dutch) and soft (French) cheeses, probably derived from the bacterial starter fermentation.

 

There is no specific reference to brand names. Gouda-like and Brie-like are a bit of a generic label for dutch hard cheese and French soft cheese. From other papers we've seen that the type of bacteria used are directly correlated to the menaquinones content and that within hard cheese and soft cheese menaquinones may fluctuate widely.

 

My bottom line is that scientific info on K2 of real practical use to the cheese-eaters is still atrociously limited.

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Have you guys considered making your own natto?

I haven't done it yet, but one of these days I'm sure I will.  Doesn't seem very difficult. Would need to make an incubator but perhaps a little space heater or oven could keep a constant 100°F for 24 hours.

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Gordo,

 

I made my own Natto for a couple years, before I realized there was an Asian market not too far away where it could buy it cheap.

 

Never came out the same as the real thing. I tried a variety of beans & peas. The real thing has very small soybeans, and they ferment it in straw and stuff.

 

But it is pretty easy to try. Spores available online. Think I got mine on eBay. I used an electric mug warmer, on which I put a mason jar of water, and on top of that a little container of natto. Kept it in the ~110 °F range, which is the right temp, IIRC.

 

Let us know if you try it, and how it works.

 

--Dean

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Life Extension has their "Super K" vitamin which contains

Vitamin K1 (as phytonadione) 1500 mcg     Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-4) 1000 mcg     Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7) 200 mcg

 

(I see no one mentioned obtaining vitamin K from a pill).

Is this a vitamin that you really need to get from a natural source?  I get plenty of natural K1 from spinach and broccoli but no natural K2 ... until now I've taken the LEF Super K.

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Dean, as details are lacking regarding your natto production, do you know if your process is equivalent enough in the key respect of K2 content? I say this, because obviously, as you stated yourself, "never came out the same as the real thing" - my thought was "if other aspects of Dean's natto are different from commercial natto, how do we know that the K2 content doesn't differ?" I presume you did not test for K2 content, so it's a kind of unknown. Of course, I can imagine that K2 content of commercially available natto might differ too - after all, if different cheeses have different K2 content, why not different brands of natto? Small differences in strains and production practices might make a big difference to K2 content - we just don't know. Unless mineral/vitamin content is specified on a label, we really have no idea. Sorry to be a stickler for this stuff, but in any kind of intervention, nutritional or otherwise, dosing and protocol are of foundational importance. It's no use snacking on stuff without knowing for sure just what it is you are consuming. I realize in practical terms it's not easy to know what we eat, but insofar as it can be controlled, it is a good idea - that's why, for example, I buy my EVOO from amphoranueava.com, because they publish the chemical profile of every oil they sell... but even so, I always put a bit of an uncertainty margin on that due to transportation, storage and other randome factors. YMMV.

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Tom,

 

I have no idea how much DIY natto compared with the genuine article in K2 or (importantly) nattokinase.

 

I will say it never turned out nearly as er... gross as the real stuff, with seem quite uniform in their flavor, texture and "stringiness" across the commercial brands I've sampled.

 

So I wouldn't be surprised if mine didn't have as much of the 'good stuff'.

 

--Dean

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Thanks, Dean - that's what I thought. It's just a cautionary note to the "make your own natto" (or any DIY nutriceutical) - unless we measure/test, we might or might not be getting what we think we're getting.

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Life Extension has their "Super K" vitamin which contains

Vitamin K1 (as phytonadione) 1500 mcg     Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-4) 1000 mcg     Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7) 200 mcg

 

(I see no one mentioned obtaining vitamin K from a pill).

Is this a vitamin that you really need to get from a natural source?  I get plenty of natural K1 from spinach and broccoli but no natural K2 ... until now I've taken the LEF Super K.

 

Clinton, given the significant uncertainties in dietary menaquinones content reported in the literature and having no access to natto (whose data on the contrary display little uncertainty), I am presently taking an MK-7 supplement derived from natto itself. I'm in the process of finding more affordable products on the internet and I'm definitely going to have a look at super K. Providing it is mailed from Europe, otherwise custom bureaucracy on supplements is inordinately complicated here.

 

I recently listened to Rhonda Patrick's interview in the Tim Ferriss Podcast, where Dr Patrick affirms that menaquinone (she doesn't specify the exact molecule) is synthetized in the human liver from Phylloquinone (K1). This is in contrast with Katherine Bleue's monography where it is clearly stated that K2 cannot be effectively be synthetised by the human body upstream of the lower intestine, where it is useless. Maybe some Mk-4 is really synthetised, like it occurs in cattle.

 

Bottom line: there is a surprising amount of confusion and differing views on vitamin K2 but given the potential outcomes of a deficiency, erring on the safe side sounds very advisable.

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Thanks for the recent article Sibiriak, it's certainly useful since there are many diversified brands of cheese. Surprisingly, it doesn't confirm the high Menaquinone contents of Brie (only 12 micrograms/100 g), whereas confirms the high value of Gouda (65 ), and other cheese like swiss emmenthal, which is quite common and unexpensive here. 

 

Pls note that 200 grams of Emmental would be required to get the K2 RDA; that's about 56 grams of animal protein and over 68 grams saturated fats.

 

My take is that the K2 content of cheese is very variable and that, if we are convinced that it is a necessary nutrient and if we have no access to natto (or no stomach for it) or if we don't want to gorge on cheese,  we should just supplement.

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MccoyMy take is that the K2 content of cheese is very variable and that, if we are convinced that it is a necessary nutrient and if we have no access to natto (or no stomach for it) or if we don't want to gorge on cheese,  we should just supplement.

 

 

I agree.  But it's interesting  that a necessary nutrient would be so difficult to obtain from dietary sources.

 

 

 

Raw milk cheese (not industrially prepared but originating from local farms) was rich in menaquinones (between approximately 600 and 790 ng/g).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946231/

 

Unfortunately,  raw milk cheese is not easy  to find these days.

 

The end to a French cheese tradition?

 

After years of lobbying, industrial producers are now allowed to make camembert with pasteurised milk. As a result, one of France’s beloved cheeses may be disappearing – for good.  
Edited by Sibiriak

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