Vitamin K2 Foods: 5 Sources of Vitamin K2 (Menaquinone)
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Vlad Belghiru, MD
Vitamin K2 doesn’t get much press these days. Everyone seems to be talking about its brother, vitamin K1, or just sum them up as “vitamin K”. There are important differences between the two, however.
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) can be mostly found in leafy greens. It’s been said to be the “plant form of vitamin K”. Although at least in humans the K1 type has fewer benefits than the K2.
- Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) occurs when gut bacteria ferment K1 into two naturally occurring subtypes called MK-4 and MK-7. These have been shown to have certain benefits not seen with vitamin K1.
Some of the benefits of vitamin K2 include:
- significantly reduced cardiovascular disease risk
- significantly increased testosterone production.
- improved bone health
Researchers have also suggested that humans are not nearly as efficient at converting K1 to K2 as animals are, which is why we should not see them as the same thing, and rather focus on getting vitamin K2 directly rather than hope for our bodies to try and convert some of vitamin K1 to K2.
Here are five foods high in naturally occurring vitamin K2:
1. Goose Liver Paste
One of the richest known food sources of vitamin K2 is goose liver paste.
Geese’s eat primarily tender grasses and leafy greens high in vitamin K1, and their bodies are efficient at converting it into vitamin K2.
Much of it is stored in the liver, making products made from goose liver a potent source of vitamin K2.
100 grams of goose liver paste gives you 369 mcg of K2 (819% RDA).
Cheese is rich in vitamin K2.
Obviously, cheese coming from the milk of a grass-fed animal is higher in K2 than the cheese coming from a grain-fed animal, due to the fact that most of the grass the animals eat is high in K1…
…And their gut bacteria convert it to K2, and stores it in various tissues.
Eventually, this vitamin K2 can also be found in the animal’s milk, which is fermented into cheese, bumping up the K2 formation even more.
Generally speaking, soft cheeses contain an average of 56 mcg of vitamin K2 (124% RDA), and hard cheeses contain 76 mcg of K2 (168% RDA).
3. Egg Yolk
Egg yolks are loaded with nearly all of the necessary micronutrients.
This includes vitamin K2, with dietary fat and cholesterol which helps with its absorption.
Now there are some differences between the K2 content of eggs, and this is caused by the feed of the chickens laying them.
Due to eating more greens, 100 grams of chicken egg yolks from Netherlands contain 32 mcg (71% RDA) of vitamin K2, while same amount of egg yolks from American chicken contains 15 mcg’s (33% RDA).
4. Ground Beef
Minced beef is a decent source of vitamin K2.
Since beef is one of the best protein sources for healthy testosterone production, you should eat some every day.
Ground beef is a great and versatile way to do this, and on the side, it provides some of your daily vitamin K2.
100 grams of medium fat ground beef contains 8 mcg of K2 accounting for 17% of the RDA. Let’s say you eat about 500 grams of ground meat in a day, and you’d be consuming almost all the vitamin K2 you need daily as well.
5. Fermented Foods
One of the most known is Natto, a fermented soy dish that has the highest known amount of naturally occurring vitamin K2 at 1103 mcg per 100 grams (2541% RDA). Natto, however, is made from soy, which isn’t exactly the best thing for testosterone production.
Some more testosterone-friendly alternatives would be;
- Blue cheese (56 mcg/100g, 124% RDA)
- Sauerkraut (5 mcg/100g, 11% RDA)
- Yogurt (2 mcg/100g, 4% RDA)
Vitamin K2 is not popular, yet important vitamin for the health of the cardiovascular system and production of testosterone.
It can be a bit tricky to get it from foods, which is why a good alternative is a high-quality vitamin K2 supplement in the form of MK-4 (affiliate link).
Or you can also eat some goose liver paste 😉
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