Menatetrenone (also known as Vitamin K2)
The foods we eat contains various nutrients, which are required for the overall growth and maintenance of our body. They regulate various functions of the body and keep it healthy and going. Omitting or skipping any one of the five nutrients could cause imbalances in the body and leave you malnourished. The five nutrients-Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins perform various roles in the human body.
Carbohydrates serve as the major source of energy for the body. Food items that consist of Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O) constitute carbohydrates. This nutrient generates glucose in the body and adds energy in calories. Too much Carbohydrates can lead to obesity whereas too little can create fatigue and tiredness. Proteins are responsible for cell and tissue growth. Foods from animal sources such as milk, eggs, cheese, etc. contains proteins in great amount. Food materials consisting of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen form proteins.
Fat is also an essential element for growth. However, too much fat can lead to blockages, high cholesterol levels, variations in blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. The role of Minerals is different from other nutrients. They are responsible for the psychological changes and actions. They influence the working of the nervous and the skeletal system to a great extent. Now comes the most essential constituent of all the five nutrients-Vitamins. One should keep a balanced vitamin intake for normal growth of the body and brain. Out of 13 vitamins, Vitamin A, D, E and K are called fat-soluble vitamins whereas the other nine B and C vitamins are water-soluble.
Since long ago Vitamin K has been associated with blood clotting. The family of Vitamin K includes members such as phylloquinone (Vitamin K1), Menaquinones (Vitamin K2) and Menadionione (Vitamin K3). All these vitamins are accountable for the healthy functioning of the bones, the heart and the liver. Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables like Lettuce, Spinach, Cabbage, Broccoli and vegetable oil. Vitamin K2 is found in fermented food and processed items. Vitamin K3 is found in the items, which we include in our regular meals.
Functions of Vitamin K
Vitamin K plays various roles in maintaining the body. These nutrients convert the glutamate deposits of proteins into the gamma-carboxyglutamate group using the enzymatic process of carboxylation. Vitamin D and C along with magnesium and Zinc help in structuring the bones. Vitamin K maintains the plasma level, which in turn supports the functions of the bone. The intake of vitamin K really benefits the vascular system. It prevents the loss of elasticity of the tissues and flushes the calcium deposits within them.
Vitamin K not only acts as an anti coagulator but also helps in blood thinning and clot removal. Due to this quality, it is always advisable to consult a doctor before consuming any medicine that contains Vitamin K2. Although Vitamin K is a lifesaver in many cases, it might prove to be catastrophic if taken in large amounts or overdoses. It has been known to attack the liver causing liver cancer.
Menatetrenone or Vitamin K2
Most of us have heard about Vitamin K but very few of us know what Vitamin K2 is. Vitamin K2, which is also called Menatetrenone, plays an important role in blood clotting and tissue building. It has antineoplastic effects on the cancer cell line that contains hepatocellular carcinoma cells. It is effective in bone growth and development. It is seen that very little Vitamin K2 is present in the regular food we eat. Therefore, for those who require extra doses supplements are the solutions.
Vitamin K2 consists of Menaquinones, which are Vitamin K compounds. These compounds have unsaturated chains, which are usually detected in animals and bacteria. Menatetrenone is generally produced by certain bacteria, which is found in egg yolks, cheese, Natto-a soy product, butter and cow liver. Though the dietary value of K2 is less than that of Vitamin K1, its deficiency causes prolonged effects on the body.
Importance of Menatetrenone
Vitamin K2 or menatetrenone enables carboxylation of a constituent in a protein called Glutamate. During this process, the protein combines with calcium and helps in blood clotting. Due to the presence of carboxyglutamates calcium is transported from one place to another within the body easily. When compared to Vitamin K1, Menatetrenone is more effective in the osteoclastogenesis process and hypocholesterolemic effects. This vitamin can also slow atherosclerotic progression.
Until 1974, Vitamin K remained undiscovered. Studies have been done on this aspect for the last thirty years. Menatetrenone is otherwise an alternative form of Vitamin K1. It not only boosts bone health but also keeps any blood disorders at bay. K2 prevents osteoporosis and maintains the bone density in brittle structures. The nutrient that is derived out of Vitamin K2 stimulates apoptosis in Leukamia cells and increases the upshot of retinoic acid.
Vitamin K2 acts as an anti-inflammatory medication. IL- 6 is a substance, which keeps inflammatory actions in the body under control. The level of this constituent is high in those suffering from arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis. High levels of IL-6 also create disabilities related to mobility.
The pancreas contains the second highest deposits of vitamin K. This organ regulates and controls the production of sugar and insulin. As per a few studies, a deficiency of Vitamin K leads to Type II diabetes in many cases. Vitamin K is a rich antioxidant that shields the liver from calcium deposits. Extensive calcium deposits and scratches in the blood vessels cause Alzheimer’s disease. This can be prevented by proper doses of vitamin K.
Role of Menatetrenone/ K2 in Bone development
Menatetrenone (vitamin K2) reduces the risk of fractures and bone related diseases in women who experience menopause. Osteoporosis is a bone related disease in which the bones start loosing their efficiency and become brittle. Any minor blow can cause fractures in such cases. Menopause is a stage where women stop having their menses. Very few are lucky enough to experience a menopause without side effects. Most women face one or more problems during this phase. Fractures are usually caused due to variations in the bone mineral density. Various treatments are available for this condition where Menatetrenone is given along with Bisphosphonates for effective results. K2 works on the bone construction and strength during the osteoporosis treatment.
While Vitamin K2 is called Menatetrenone, Phylloquinone is the common name for Vitamin K1. Studies that involved the functions of both the vitamins tell of the great differences in their roles. They perform various tasks on the metabolism of bones.
Functions of Menatetrenone (Vitamin K2) vs Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1)
- Regular intake of Menatetrenone or Vitamin K2 in any form reduces the chances of bone fractures and damage.
- Vitamin K2 reduces the formation of Osteoclasts, the cells responsible for destroying bone tissue. Although phylloquinone has more or less the same qualities of K2 it is much less preferred for clinical and pharmacological purposes. Phylloquinone cannot prevent the tearing of bone tissue and is useless in treating bone related problems.
- K2 plays the main role of backing osteoblasts, the cells that are involved in the creation of new bone. Menatetrenone helps in increasing the cells and enhancing their functioning smoothly.
- When compared, Menatetrenone augments Apoptosis- cell death of osteoclasts whereas phylloquinone remains inactive in this matter.
Dietary forms (Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2)
An ideal daily diet includes all nutrients in a balanced manner. In that diet, about 80% of Vitamin K1 comes from vegetables, especially green vegetables. There is no specific source of Vitamin K2. It is acquired through the good bacteria found in our digestive tracks. A few fermented and yeast based food also consist of Vitamin K2. However, both K1 and K2 work for bile secretion in the liver. That is the reason why the liver is the first point of attack when the vitamin becomes deficient in the body.
History of Vitamin K
A Danish scientist named Henrik Dam experimented with the effects of cholesterol using chickens from his backyard. He kept a few of them on a cholesterol free diet and the others on a normal diet. After a few weeks, the ones on a cholesterol free diet started bleeding due to hemorrhage. When he tried to feed them food with cholesterol it did not work. He found that it was not only cholesterol that was missing from the food but another compound as well. This was a coagulation vitamin, which he later named K. It meant Koagulations vitamin. The coagulation was later reinstated when the chicks were fed Vitamin K rich food.
For many years, this chicken experiment was used as a model to calculate the vitamin K content in food. A jaundice patient with severe hemorrhage was treated with doses of vitamin K in 1938. This was the first success of Vitamin K in treatment of humans. Later various universities and research organizations took these experiments forward to present diverse utilities of Menatetrenone and other forms of vitamin K.
East vs West
Lets us use a few cases of people living in Eastern countries and western parts of the world in studying the consumption of Vitamin K2. The diet followed by the people of the US includes much less menatetrenone when compared to the diets of those in eastern countries. Even if they try to get the best possible sources of K2 by eating egg yolks, cheese, butter, cooked Broccoli and goose liver, they do not get more than 2.1 micrograms of K2. On the other hand, the diet of the average Japanese person includes grilled fish, rice, seaweed, Natto-a fermented soy substitute and pickle. Natto is considered the richest source of Menatetrenone.
This speaks a lot about the fittest lifestyle of the Japanese and the impact of Menatetrenone/ K2 in their regular lives. While items such as soy bean curd, soymilk, tofu and soy sauce are all derived from Soybeans they are not considered rich sources of Menatetrenone. It is just the Natto, which fights brittle bones and prevents fractures.
How does Menatetrenone effect the bone mineral Density?
Bone Mineral Density is the measurement of calcium and other minerals present in the bones. It determines the firmness and the strength of the bones. When you look at the cross section of a bone you will find a network of hard tissues running all over in a criss cross manner. The more the density is the denser is the network inside the bones. When there is a drop in the density the network becomes thinner and fragile. Such bones are prone to frequent fractures.
How Vitamin K deficiency occurs?
Vitamin K deficiency occurs due to various reasons. Leafy vegetables that are rich in Vitamin K are Brocolli, Collard greens and Lettuce. These are the ones, which most people do not eat enough abundantly. Medications such as painkillers, especially Aspirin, antibiotics and antithrombotic drugs lead to serious bleeding and blood clots. Asprin is a blood thinner, if taken too often it can obstruct Vitamin K and lead to health issues. Salicylates are another constituent, which are found in spices, nuts and mint.
This is also a blood thinner, which can lead to Vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K is produced by the bacteria present in the intestines. Excessive intake of Aspirin and antibiotics can kill that bacteria causing a severe deficiency of Vitamin K. Usually doctors recommend that you have yogurt after a heavy dose of antibiotics. This induces probiotic elements, which contain acidophilus bacteria that encourage the production of Vitamin K and promote better digestive action. Supplements are available at major stores. They are stored in refrigerators to increase their life span.
Vitamin K and anticoagulants block each other’s function when taken without proper medical supervision. Too much intake of other vitamins can also block the benefits of Vitamin K. A common sign of an overdose or deficiency is nosebleeds.
Other factors that influence the deficiency of Vitamin K are yeast infections, excess consumption of antacids, alcoholism and any prolonged illness. A few chemicals that are used as preservatives can also disturb the functions of Vitamin K in the body.
Who is prone to a Vitamin K2 deficiency?
Not all of us are deficient of nutrients. There are some who are deficient of certain nutrients due to their lifestyle and eating habits. Those who suffer malnourishment for a long period or those suffering from cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, alcohol abuse, liver dysfunction or chronic intestinal resection are prone to Vitamin K2 deficiency. Under the advice of doctors, these people need to take regular doses of Vitamin K2 supplement for their body to function properly.
Birth defects due to deficiency of Vitamin K2
The symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin K includes nosebleeds, blood in the urine, eye hemorrhage, heavy bleeding during menstruation, fractures, bleeding gums, anemia, hemorrhaging, calcium deposits in the heart’s walls, delayed clotting, osteoporosis, hypercalciuria, hematomas, and gastrointestinal bleeding. A deficiency of Vitamin K2 in pregnant mothers will cause the yet to be born infant a few abnormalities and defects such as a flat nose, cupped ears, short fingers and an undersized nose and face.
If the deficiency occurs due to over dosage of convulsant drugs, the following defects are possible:
- Overlapping fingers
- Neural tube defects
- A short nose
- Growth defects
- Cardiac problems
- Mental retardation
- Epicanthal folds
- Learning disabilities
A healthy person requires about 200 to 500 mcg of Vitamin K every day to remain healthy and fit. When supplements containing Vitamins K, D and minerals are consumed together, the best results can be achieved. Very few side effects have been reported after the consumption of vitamin K1 at 1 mg per day and the consumption of vitamin K2 at 45 mg per day in adults.
For those with any level of vitamin K deficiency there are supplements available which could cover up the requirements of the body. Butter oil is a rich source of Vitamin K. It not only works on the whole body but also creates exclusive impacts on the skin. Just apply some oil on your skin and leave it overnight. See the change and glow on your skin the next day. Vitamin K2 is present in the food we eat. Therefore, supplements are not generally required. However, if you feel you lack that nutrient you may take supplements, which are available in the market.
Medicines such as Coumadin and Warfarin are rivals of Vitamin K. If you are undergoing oral anticoagulant therapy, you should not take Vitamin K supplements. If the dose is 150mcg or less per day, a parallel intake of a Vitamin K2 supplement does not create any problems. However, consult your doctor before you take the supplements.
It is said that cows perform multi tasks in their stomach. They chew cud and in this process ferment Vitamin K2. When we eat K2 rich food it is converted into bile and this process leads to less Vitamin production. The bile in the gall bladder absorbs the fermented food, which keeps the LXR and FXR bound in the nucleus. These are responsible for the cholesterol and inflammatory actions in the body.
GCGA Proteins (Gamma Carboxyglutamic Acid)
The vitamin does not act on the cells of the body directly; it acts as a support in carboxylation process through an enzyme contained in Glutamic acid to create amino acid (Gamma Carboxyglutamic Acid) in plasma proteins. Plasma proteins control the calcium deposits in the tissues. GCGA proteins include OC (osteocalcin), an important constituent of human bones. Matrix GCGA is a protein that is manufactured in the cartilage and arteries.
The required amount of Vitamin K varies from person to person based on his age and health condition. Infants require about 5 micrograms of Vitamin K whereas an adult male requires 80 mcg. A grown up female requires around 65 mcg of Vitamin K.
The four main body parts that are influenced by menatetrenone are the liver, bones, arteries and cartilage. When vitamin K is deficient, the proteins are formed without GCGA, which hinders the normal functioning of these parts. Along with the other functions, the four main organs extract vitamin K from the blood and distribute it to other parts. Vitamin K as a whole is regarded as a life saving nutrient both in human beings and animals.
An adequate supply of Vitamin K to all four parts has to be maintained. The human liver takes the most Vitamin K so the cartilage, bones and arteries may be deprived of the nutrient and GCGA at times. If this happens, blood clotting, maintenance of the cardiovascular system and other functions will not take place as usual.
The recent discoveries and production of supplements of vitamins in various forms has benefited people in many ways. However, most of the FDA approved supplements are made for the liver.
Studies were conducted on a few postmenopausal women ages 50-60 who were treated with daily supplements continuously for 3 years. They were divided into 3 groups. The first group received only maltodextrin; the second group was given 150mg of Magnesium, 500 mg of calcium, 320 IU of vitamin D3 and 10 mg of zinc as daily supplements. The women in the third group received all the minerals and an extra dose of 1mg of Vitamin K and D3 per day. The results taken after 3 years showed that the groups who did not receive Vitamin K did not have the advantages of the ones who received a balanced amount of all nutrients including an extra dose of Vitamin K.
The latter group thrived with no bone problems or other health issues for a long period of 10 years.
Before taking any supplement consult your doctor and take the advised tests. Purchase the supplements only from an authorized dealer. Check if the product suits your health conditions and requirements. Pregnant women and lactating mothers have to take special precautions while taking any supplement. See the label and instructions provided on the packet. The FDA is the agency that approves the supplements in foods and artificial supplements. Supplements are available in the form of tablets, capsules and drops. What will suit you best will be decided by your doctor.
Health is wealth and it does not take too much to maintain good health. A balanced diet, regular care and proper medication are the secrets to a long and healthy life.