There is something important missing from our diets today that was very prevalent over 50 years ago. Our grandparents got this nutrient without even trying but, to get this nutrient today, we must seek out special dietary sources.
What is this missing nutrient? Vitamin K2.
Never heard of K2? Well then you must read on! I read about K2 a couple of years ago in a wonderfully informative book called Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue. This book opened my eyes to so many things, it is hard to choose how to distill the information for you here. If you want to hear Dr. Rheaume-Bleue speak, you can for FREE. Scroll down for details.
So what is K2 in a nutshell?
K2 is a fat soluble vitamin in the same family as Vitamins A, D, and E. It has a role to play in many aspects of our overall health including fertility and fetal development, cardiovascular health, and bone health.
Why is it so vital to our health?
First, while we need Vitamin D to absorb calcium, Vitamin D does not tell the calcium where to go in our bodies. This is where Vitamin K2 comes into play. K2 tells the calcium to go to our bones and make them strong. Without K2, calcium will take up residence wherever it can, usually in our soft tissues like arteries. This is exactly where we do not want calcium! We all know what calcium in the arteries is: plaque. If the calcium does not get into our bones, then we are left with brittle bones. So it really does not matter how much calcium we take, if we do not have K2, then we will not see the benefit.
The other issue with not having sufficient K2 during fetal development is that we experience premature calcification of our nasal cartilage (source). In English, this means that the face will not develop properly, which will lead to: crooked teeth, mouth breathing, and sinus issues. Sound familiar?
So back to the topic at hand…
Why did your grandparents have easy access to this vital vitamin and now we do not?
1. They Weren’t Afraid of Fat.
Our grandparents did not grow up on a low-fat diet. They ate plenty of fats. Just look at any cookbook prior to 1950 and you will see just how much more fat they ate than we do. I have seen many an old recipe for roasts layered with suet (fat) to keep them moist! Now we all shudder at a photo of a chicken wrapped in bacon! K2 is a fat soluble vitamin and is present in the fat. When we remove the fat, we remove the K2.
2. They ate meat, milk, butter, cheese, and eggs from grass fed animals.
K2 is only present in grass fed animal products, not grain fed. As we moved animals off of pasture to confinement and grain feeding, we lost an important source of K2. 99% of all land animals eaten or used to produce milk and eggs in the United States are now factory farmed. So unless you seek out grass fed animal products, you are missing a vital K2 source.
3. They ate liver weekly.
Liver is very high in K2 and our grandparents (or great-grandparents) ate this weekly. Liver is now out of vogue and is repugnant to most people. We are told it is not healthy to eat liver and that it contains toxins and too much Vitamin A. I would agree if you are eating factory farmed liver, however, liver from grass-fed and sustainably raised animals contains a very nice balance of Vitamin A and K2!
4. They ate fermented foods.
There are specific strains of bacteria that product the vitamin K2 in some fermented foods. Specific cheeses like Gouda or Brie for example, even from dairy which is not grass fed, will contain some vitamin K2. Sauerkraut contains some K2 as well. Actually, the highest concentration of K2 found in any food is actually in a fermented soybean product called natto, traditionally eaten in Japan.
More K2 Resources
- Get the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.
- Learn more about Dr. Kate here.
Where to buy Vitamin K2 rich foods
- Pick up some high vitamin butter oil – a great source of K2.
- Purchase natto spores for making natto at home.
- Purchase cultures and starters for making vitamin K2-rich cheese at home.
- Get some Gouda cheese – I buy mine locally!
- Enjoy grass fed ghee.
- Love your grass fed butter like Kerrygold or Organic Valley, both are widely available in most regular grocery stores.
- Find a source of grass fed raw milk and cream for your butter and cheese.