Beyond blood clotting, the role of vitamin K in osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease is related to calcium utilization. Scientific studies have revealed that vitamin K plays a crucial role in building and maintaining bone health, which is influenced by osteoblasts, osteoclasts, hormones, cytokines and nutritional factors, including vitamin K intake. Inadequate calcium metabolism can result in cardiovascular and bone health problems. The deposition of calcium into arteries is an organized, regulated process similar to bone formation that occurs when other factors are present. Proteins like osteocalcin and matrix Gla protein, which are actively involved in the transport of calcium out of vessel walls, are suspected to have key roles in coronary calcium deposition. The greater the amount of calcification, the greater the likelihood one may develop suboptimal coronary health.
Vitamin K was originally discovered as the anti-hemorrhagic factor, but it now encompasses a variety of physiological processes. The major source of vitamin K in most diets is phylloquinone (vitamin K1), which is present in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale. Vitamin K2 is present in small amounts in fermented foods, milk products, cheese, and meat, and is synthesized by various human gut microbiota. It is well documented that the Western population obtains insufficient vitamin K from their regular diets, possibly related to poor absorption from these foods.