The Other Vitamin K
The vitamin K you’re probably most familiar with is vitamin K1. Both vitamins K1 and K2 are important in overall bone and cardiovascular health, but K2 is clearly the more beneficial of the two nutrients. K2 remains in the bloodstream longer, and is better at promoting a healthy cardiovascular system by way of its ability to optimize calcium utilization.
Vitamin K1 can be found in green, leafy foods like kale, spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Conversely, vitamin K2 is less abundant in foods. While it can be found in several hard, European-type cheeses, its highest concentration is found in the Japanese food called natto.
Natto is made from soybeans that have been fermented by Natto bacillus. Natto itself has several touted health benefits, including:
- being a good source of protein and vitamin B2 for younger looking skin, and
- containing a fibrinolytic enzyme called nattokinase, which is reported to reduce/prevent blood clots.
The nattokinase is why some people eat it for both heart attack and stroke prevention. Specifically, nattokinase has natural anticoagulant properties, as well as the ability to lower blood pressure levels.
It can take a while to acquire a taste for natto, a staple in the traditional Japanese breakfast, because it has a somewhat sour and pungent aroma. On the plus side, it also has a favorable nutty quality.
Dr. Sinatra recommends eating the real thing two to three times a week, which is no problem if you eat a traditional Japanese diet. But for the rest of us, making it palatable can be a challenge. Luckily, we have a tasty recipe for natto that I’ll be sharing with you in an upcoming blog!
Frozen natto can be found in Asian grocery stores, and frozen pouches of it can be sourced now in many health food stores. In case neither is local for you, you can try an online Japanese food market that ships natto and all kinds of great Japanese foods. Though I didn’t see them listed, I have read comments online that high fructose corn syrup and MSG appear on the label, but those ingredients are stated elsewhere in the seasoning packets, which you can just discard.
If you just cannot stomach natto, you can still reap the benefits of vitamin K2 and nattokinase in supplement form. For vitamin K2, I suggest you purchase MK-7 or menaquinone-7, which is a form of vitamin K2. You can find both MK-7 and nattokinase at most health food stores or online.
A word of CAUTION for any of you who take any blood-thinning medication such as Coumadin, Heparin, or even Lovonox. If you do, then don’t use any supplemental form of vitamin K or nattokinase, as it may seriously interfere with the effect of your medications.
For more great cardiovascular nutrition tips, visit Dr. Sinatra’s Web site.
Enjoy What You've Just Read?
Get it delivered to your inbox! Signup for E-News and you'll get great content like you've just read along with other great tips and guides for Dr. Sinatra!
Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra's Favorites
We've combined this anti-aging bombshell with doctor-recommended heart support!
Redefine your concept of aging—look and feel younger with each passing day!
Doctor-recommended support for healthy cholesterol ratios, blood pressure & overall heart health