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Best vitamin K2 food sources: are you getting enough?

In present environment Food sources of vitamin K2 is not very encouraging. Food sources of phylloquinone or K1 is abandoned mainly from leafy green. However sources of menaquinone are limited. For synthesis of menaquinones it needs bacterial presence except MK-4. I have picked database and shortlisted best vitamin K2 food sources with highest content. I don’t know how much it will help you.

In earlier I talked about how vitamin vitamin K2 places calcium of circulation in right places i.e. in bones as well as teeth and prevent calcium deposition in blood vessels.

I also discussed benefits of vitamin K2 in neurological as well as brain health, skin or beauty, in prevention of kidney stone, cancers and also may improve in insulin sensitivity. We also discussed in the same article about best form of Vitamin K2 or menaquinones, daily adequate dose as well as safety and interaction.

Daily Adequate Intake

Before jumping to the sources you should know how much vitamin K2 do you need on daily basis on an average. MK-4 and MK-7 are two most studied vitamin K2 or menaquinones and also have similar health benefits.
Although it is not updated in all regions till now, research suggests daily as 45-50mcg for child and as up to 180 microgram for adults as safest upper limit. (1) . Vitamin K2 has not reported any adverse result due to its low potential for toxicity. For that reason it appears as extremely safe. As it has blood coagulant properties people taking anticoagulants medicine such as warfarin, should consult with healthcare provider first.

Some Best vitamin K2 food sources

Natto

Natto is probably the richest food source of vitamin K2 with MK-7 as major traditionally made from fermented soy food in Japan. 100 g of natto contains more than 800 mcg of MK-7 in general. However as it is a fermented food the bacterial derived smell some people may like or dislike. If you can tolerate it you can try for it.

However all the soy forms are not necessarily healthy in fact many soy products available in the super market are from genetically modified sources. Alternatively you may also use other beans like black bean in place of soybean. Black bean natto contains nearly same amount of K2 content as soybean natto. During fermentation beans become more easily digestible and absorptive. You may also add proper topping or seasonings to taste better or reduce the scent.

Cheonggukjang

Cheonggukjang is an another fermented soybean food used in Korean cuisine. native to South Korea. It contains whole as well as ground soybeans. 100 g of cheonggukjang has menaquinone content ranging from 112 mcg to 461 mcg majorly in the form of MK-7. (2)

Organ meat from animal source

Goose liver may contain 317-419 mcg per 100g as MK-4, Goose leg contains 28.2-33.1mcg per 100g as MK-4, chicken breast and legs contains around 8 mcg per 100g as MK-4. (3)Other meat like bovine, pork, beef contains more or less amount of K2 which varies region wise.

Egg Yolk

Egg yolk also contains MK-4 with varying percentage depending upon region, food habits etc.

Best-vitamin-K2-food-sources-can-you-get-enough-from-foods

Dairy Produce

Cheese and butter also contains vitamin K2. Hard cheese is a better source of Vitamin K2 than soft cheese.

Other sources contains comparatively lesser content of K2. I have also attached a list below.

Factors that affect vitamin K2 content in food sources:

  • Vitamin K2 content may vary in same food sources from region to region
  • Vitamin K2 has fat soluble property therefore stored in fat
  • Whether the animals were raised on grass fed or grain fed food source. Grass fed sources are better sources of MK-4 due to conversion of K1 to K2 in general. Usually MK-4 is stored in organs. You can’t expect a good source of K2 from grain feed animal source of foods.
  • The strain of bacterial culture
  • Length of fermenting

Bottom line

We have already got enough evidence about how crucial vitamin K specially vitamin K2 is to our health. Some traditional foods have high menaquinones content. However as we all are from different region it is hard to get benefits from those. With progress of industrialization peoples are eating less greens, grass fed animal are converting to grain fed. Mammalian can convert phylloquinone to MK4 to an extent but will it enough for replenish the store? Human gut microfloraI also produces long chain menaquinones or K2 but can our body utelize it? I will come with the coming article. If you are taking varying foods with vitamin K2 content from right sources, you may balance K2 intake to an extent.

Menaquinone content (μg or mcg/100 g; mean ± SD or range)(4)

Representative ranges of measured menaquinone concentration in food.

nd stands for not determined; nr stands for reported.

Plant Products

Food MK-4 MK-5 MK-6 MK-7 MK-8   MK-9 MK-10
Sauerkraut 0.3–0.5 0.6–1.0 1.4–1.6 0.1–0.3 0.6–0.9 0.9–1.3 nr
Natto nd 7.1–7.8 12.7–14.8 882–1034 78.3–89.8 nd nr
  2 ± 3 nr nr 939 ± 753 nr nr nr
Hikiwari natto (chopped natto) nd nr nr 827 ± 194 nr nr nr
Black bean natto nd nr nr 796 ± 93 nr nr nr

Meat

Food MK-4 MK-5 MK-6 MK-7 MK-8   MK-9 MK-10
Salami 8.2–10.1 nd nd nd nd nd nr
Calf liver 1.1–8.9 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Beef liver 0.4 ± 0.4 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Bovine liver 6.8 ± 1.03 nd 9.44 ± 0.118 25.6 ± 0.59 13.8 ±  0.55 9.8 ± 0.7 14±1.7
Beef liver 0.8 nr 2.5 18.2 4.8 1.5 6.6
Pork liver 0.3–0.4 nd nd nd nd nd nd
Pork liver 10.8 ± 1.44 nd nd 16 ± 2.7 25 ± 5.2 6 ± 1.8 8±2.9
Pork liver 0.6 nd 0.04 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.5
Chicken liver 14.1 ± 2.0 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Chicken liver 4 nr 0.03 nd 0.09 0.04 0.03
Beef kidney 2.1 nr 0.08 0.2 0.01 nd 0.1
Pork kidney 1.3 nr 0.02 0.07 0.05 0.22 0.24
Chicken kidney 5 nr nd nd nd nd nd
Beef muscle 3.4 nr 0.03 0.03 nr nr nr
Pork thigh 6 ± 2 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Pork steak 1.7–2.4 nd nd 0.4–0.7 0.9–1.2 nd nd
Pork chop 3.1 ± 0.46 nd nd 0.12 ±  0.035 nd nd nd
Pork muscle 0.9 nr 0.03 0.03 nr nr nr
Chicken breast 6.4–11.3 nd nd nd nd nd nd
Chicken leg 5.8–10.5 nd nd nd nd nd nd
Chicken thigh 27 ± 15 nr nr nd nr nr nr
Chicken meat, leg and thigh 60 ± 8.2 nd nd nd nd nd nd
Chicken muscle 8.9 nr nd nd nr nr nr

Egg

Food MK-4 MK-5 MK-6 MK-7 MK-8   MK-9 MK-10
Egg yolk 29.1–33.5 nd 0.6–0.8 nd nd nd nr
Egg albumen 0.8–1.0 nd nd nd nd nd nr
Whole egg 7 ± 3 nr nr nd nr nr nr
Egg white 1 ± 1 nr nr nd nr nr nr
Egg yolk 64 ± 31 nr nr nd nr nr nr
Whole egg 5.6 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Egg white 0.4 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Egg yolk 15.5 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Bread              
Bread 0 nr nr nr nr 0.9–2 nr
Buckwheat nd nd nd 1.0–1.2 nd nd nr

Dairy

Food MK-4 MK-5 MK-6 MK-7 MK-8   MK-9 MK-10
Whole milk 0.7–0.9 0.0–0.1 nd nd nd nd nr
Whole milk 0.8–1.0 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Whole milk 2 ± 0.3 nr nr nd nr nr nr
Whole milk 0.4–1.0 nr nr nr nr 0–2 nr
Milk 1% fat 0.3–0.4 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Milk 2% fat 0.4–0.5 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Whipped cream 5.2–5.6 nd nd nd nd nd nr
Cream 8 ± 3 nr nr nd nr nr nr
Butter 13.5–15.9 nd nd nd nd nd nr
  21 ± 7 nr nr nd nr nr nr

Cheese

Food MK-4 MK-5 MK-6 MK-7 MK-8   MK-9 MK-10
Curd 0.3–0.6 0–0.2 0.1–0.3 0.2–0.5 4.8–5.4 18.1–19.2 nr
Curd 2–10 nr nr nr nr 40–70 nr
Hard 4.2–6.6 1.3–1.7 0.6–1.0 1.1–1.5 14.9–18.2 45.3–54.9 nr
Semi‐hard nr nr 1.9 1.1 3.9 17.5 4.7
Soft 3.3–3.9 0.2 –0.4 0.5–0.7 0.9 – 1.1 10.7–12.2 35.1–42.7 nr
Soft nr nr 1.7 1.2 7 27.3 2.9
Processed 5 ± 2 nr nr 0.3 ± 0.1 nr nr nr
Blue cheese nr nr 4.9 12.4 7.7 19.3 2.9
Appenzeller 4.3–5.2 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Caerphilly nr nr 1.6 ± 0.1 nd 1.6 ± 0.1 32.4 ± 0.8 nd
Cheddar 10.2 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Cheddar nr nr 2.2 2.1 3.2 12.9 5.2
Cheshire nr nr 1.6± 0.2 nd 5.8 ± 0.2 24.2 ± 0.4 nd
Edam 3.3 ± 0.2 1.0 ± 0.1 0.6 ± 0.1 1.3 ± 0.1 10.5 ± 0.8 30.0 ± 2.6 0.9 ± 0.1
Gamalost 1.0 ± 0.0 0.6 ± 0.0 0.3 ± 0.0 0.9 ± 0.1 4.8 ± 0.7 42.3 ± 7.0 2.1 ±0.4
Jarlsberg 8.4 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Gruyère 8.1–9.6 nr nr nr nr nr nr
Leicester nr nr 2.0 ± 0.1 2.1 ± 0.1 4.8 ± 0.2 16.2 ± 0.3 4.4 ± 0.2
Norvegia 5.1 ± 0.9 nd 0.3 ± 0.1 1.3 ± 0.2 5.3 ± 0.5 29.6 ± 3.6 nd
Swiss cheese 6.2–8.8 nr nr nr nr nr nr

Fermented Milk

Food MK-4 MK-5 MK-6 MK-7 MK-8   MK-9 MK-10
Fermented milk
Whole milk, sour 0.6 ± 0.02 0.3 ± 0.002 0.2 ± 0.03 0.4 ± 0.04 2.0 ± 0.1 4.7 ± 0.2 nd
Buttermilk 0.2–0.3 0.1–0.2 0–0.2 0.1–0.3 0.5–0.6 1.2–1.6 nr
Mesophilic nr nr 4.2 5 25.9 100.8 8.5
Thermophilic nd nd nd nd nd nd nd
Yogurt
Whole 0.4–1.0 nr nr nr nr 0–2.0 nr
Whole 0.5–0.7 0–0.2 nd nd nd nd nr
Whole 1 ± 0.1 nr nr 0.1 ± 0.2 nr nr nr
Plain 0.4 ± 0.03 0.1 ± 0.006 nd nd nd nd nd
Skimmed nd nd nd nd 0–0.2 nd nr
 
Disclaimer: Information provided here are generalized information for
educational purpose only, not intended to provide one to one health
consultation or replace practice of a qualified practitioner. Different
people may have different health condition and may have different reaction
to the same food. Hence it has been advised to consult with health care
provider before application of any of above guidelines.
Source and References:
1.Beulens JW, Booth SL, van den Heuvel EG, Stoecklin E, Baka A, Vermeer
C.,The role of menaquinones (vitamin K₂) in human health,
Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(8):1357-68
2.Muhammad Yasin, Masood Sadiq Butt and Aurang Zeb (March 22nd 2017).
Vitamin K2 Rich Food Products, Vitamin K2, Jan Oxholm Gordeladze,
IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/63902. Available from:
https://www.intechopen.com/books/vitamin-k2-vital-for-health-and-
wellbeing/vitamin-k2-rich-food-products
3.Determination of Phylloquinone and Menaquinones in Food, Effect of Food
Matrix on Circulating Vitamin K Concentrations, Schurgers L.J. · Vermeer
C., Haemostasis 2000;30:298–307
4.Barbara Walther and Magali Chollet (March 22nd 2017). Menaquinones,
Bacteria, and Foods: Vitamin K2 in the Diet, Vitamin K2, Jan Oxholm
Gordeladze, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/63712. Available from:
https://www.intechopen.com/books/vitamin-k2-vital-for-health-and-
wellbeing/menaquinones-bacteria-and-foods-vitamin-k2-in-the-diet

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