by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© October 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


I am often asked why we do not recommend supplemental vitamin K.  The quick answer is that your body can convert K1 to K2 if you eat enough cooked vegetables, as we recommend.




I do not recommend vitamin K shots for babies.  If the mother is eating a lot of cooked vegetables, the baby should have plenty of vitamin K.  If not, then an oral dose of vitamin K is best.  Here is an article on the subject:


The High Risks of Vitamin K Shot for Your Newborn Baby - Mercola dont-warn-you-about.aspx

Mar 27, 2010 ... Learn the dark side of the routine newborn Vitamin K shot that may lead to serious injury or death.




Here is some basic information about vitamin K, an extremely important vitamin.  It has two BASIC forms and many sub-forms:


1. K1 is also called phylloquinone.  It is found in many green vegetables, and it is not damaged much by cooking, so cooked vegetables are an excellent source.  It is primarily involved in blood clotting, but also assists with cardiovascular health and other functions in the body.

2. Vitamin K2 is called menaquinone or MK.  It is manufactured in the intestines and in the peripheral tissues as well, provided that you eat enough of vitamin K1.  Therefore, you should not have to take a supplement if this is the case.  It is also found in some green vegetables, and in cheese and natto, a Japanese food.

Here are some papers that support this idea, taken from the Vitamin D Council website (


ŇAs early as 1994, researchers had discovered that K1 converted into K2 in the body.

Thijssen HH, Drittij-Reijnders MJ.  Vitamin K distribution in rat tissues: dietary phylloquinone is a source of tissue menaquinone-4. Br J Nutr. 1994 Sep;72(3):415-25.

In 1998, researchers confirmed that K1 is metabolized into K2 and that metabolism had nothing to do with intestinal bacteria. Sterile mice metabolized ingested K1 into K2.

Ronden JE, Drittij-Reijnders MJ, Vermeer C, Thijssen HH. Intestinal flora is not an intermediate in the phylloquinone-menaquinone-4 conversion in the rat.  Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Jan 8;1379(1):69-75.

In 2006, researchers confirmed this conversion takes place in humans.

Thijssen HH, Vervoort LM, Schurgers LJ, Shearer MJ.  Menadione is a metabolite of oral vitamin K. Br J Nutr. 2006 Feb;95(2):260-6.

There appears to be two sites of conversion of K1 to K2, one in the intestine and another in peripheral tissues.

Okano T, Shimomura Y, Yamane M, Suhara Y, Kamao M, Sugiura M, Nakagawa K Conversion of phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) into menaquinone-4 (Vitamin K2) in mice: two possible routes for menaquinone-4 accumulation in cerebra of mice. J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 25;283(17):11270-9. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

Recently, the mechanism by which the body turns vitamin K1 into vitamin K2 was clarified. It occurs through an intermediary molecule, vitamin K3, which is made in the intestine from vitamin K1.

Hirota Y, et al.  Menadione (vitamin K3) is a catabolic product of oral phylloquinone (vitamin K1) in the intestine and a circulating precursor of tissue menaquinone-4 (vitamin K2) in rats. J Biol Chem. 2013 Sep 30.

I cannot put my hands on it now, but I read a paper that actually showed K2 content in peripheral organs is higher after vitamin K1 ingestion than K2 ingestion.

It seems that it could be the case that modern humans are deficient in K2 because they do not eat large quantities of vitamin K1 containing foods. If we look at Paleolithic humans, they probably got high amount of vitamin K2 from eating large quantities of kale and spinach-like foods, very high in K1, which then supplied their tissues with all the vitamin K2 they needed.Ó



Vitamin K helps prevent calcification of the arteries and heart disease, helps prevent osteoporosis, and perhaps other diseases such as cancer and diabetes.  It can help prevent varicose veins as well, and more.  It is synergistic with vitamins A and D, among others.  It is another fat-soluble vitamin, as are vitamins A and D.


Why I do not recommend vitamin K supplements.  We do not usually give supplementary vitamin K because it is not needed if one follows a diet that contains plenty of cooked vegetables, meats that are not overcooked, and perhaps a little raw dairy products or at least some good quality pasteurized or raw butter.  When using butter, preferably do not cook it, but just put it on or over your food to preserve the vitamin K.

We also do not recommend vitamin K supplements because they are more yin, in Chinese medical terms, and this is harmful.


Below is a recent article about vitamin K that I am taking the liberty to reprint, as I felt it is a summary of some recent research on vitamin K.


VITAMIN K by Stephan Guyenet


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vitamin K2, menatetrenone (MK-4)


Weston Price established the importance of the MK-4 isoform of vitamin K2 (hereafter, K2) with a series of interesting experiments. He showed in chickens that blood levels of calcium and phosphorus depended both on vitamin A and K2, and that the two had synergistic effects on mineral absorption. He also showed that chickens preferred eating butter that was rich in K2 over butter low in K2, even when the investigators couldn't distinguish between them. Young turkeys fed K2-containing butter oil along with cod liver oil (A and D) also grew at a much faster rate than turkeys fed cod liver oil alone.

He hypothesized that vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin K2 were synergistic and essential for proper growth and subsequent health. He particularly felt that the combination was important for proper mineral absorption and metabolism. He used a combination of high-vitamin cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil to heal cavities, reduce oral bacteria counts, and cure numerous other afflictions in his patients. He also showed that the healthy non-industrial groups he studied had a much higher intake of these fat-soluble, animal-derived vitamins than more modern cultures.

Price found an inverse correlation between the levels of K2 in butter and mortality from cardiovascular disease and pneumonia in a number of different regions. A recent study examined the relationship between K2 (MK-4 through 10) consumption and heart attack risk in 4,600 Dutch men. They found a strong inverse association between K2 consumption and heart attack mortality risk. Men with the highest K2 consumption had a whopping 51% lower risk of heart attack mortality and a 26% lower risk of death from all causes compared to men eating the least K2! Their sources of K2 MK-4 were eggs, meats and dairy. They obtained MK-5 through MK-10 from fermented foods and fish. The investigators found no association with K1, the form found in plants.

Perigord, France is the world's capital of foie gras, or fatty goose liver. Good news for the bon vivants: foie gras turns out to be the richest known source of K2. Perigord also has the lowest rate of cardiovascular mortality in France, a country already noted for its low CVD mortality.

Rats fed warfarin, a drug that inhibits K2 recycling, develop arterial calcification. Feeding the rats K2 completely inhibits this effect. Mice lacking matrix Gla protein (MGP), a vitamin K-dependent protein that guards against arterial calcification, develop heavily calcified aortas and die prematurely. So the link between K2 and cardiovascular disease is a very strong one.

Mammals can synthesize K2 MK-4 from K1, but humans seem to be bad at it since most of us are K2 deficient despite eating ample K1. This suggests that through evolution, we lost the ability to synthesize K2 in sufficient amounts because we always obtained it abundantly in our diets from nutrient-dense animal tissues.

The synergism Weston Price observed between vitamins A, D and K2 now has a solid mechanism. In a nutshell, vitamins A and D signal the production of some very important proteins, and K2 is required to activate them once they are made. Many of these proteins are involved in mineral metabolism, thus the effects Price saw in his experiments and observations in non-industrialized cultures. For example, osteocalcin is a protein that organizes calcium and phosphorus deposition in the bones and teeth. It's produced by cells in response to vitamins A and D, but requires K2 to perform its function. This suggests that the effects of vitamin D on bone health could be amplified greatly if it were administered along with K2. By itself, K2 is already highly protective against fractures in the elderly. It works out perfectly, since K2 also protects against vitamin D toxicity.

I'm not going to go through all the other data on K2 in detail, but suffice it to say it's important. I believe that K2 is a 'missing link' that explains many of our modern ills, just as Weston Price wrote. Here are a few more tidbits to whet your appetite: K2 may affect glucose control and insulin release (1, 2). It's concentrated in the brain, serving an as yet unknown function.

Hunter-gatherers didn't have multivitamins, they had nutrient-dense food. As long as you eat a natural diet containing some vegetables and some animal products, and lay off the processed grains, sugar and vegetable oil, the micronutrients will take care of themselves.

Vitamin K2, MK-4 is only found in animal products. The best sources known are grass-fed butter from cows eating rapidly growing grass, and foie gras. K2 tends to associate with beta-carotene in butter, so the darker the color, the more K2 it contains (also, the better it tastes). Fish eggs, other grass-fed dairy, shellfish, insects and other organ meats are also good sources. Chris Masterjohn compiled a list of food sources in his excellent article on the Weston Price foundation website. I highly recommend reading it if you want more detail. K2 MK-7 is found abundantly in natto, a type of fermented soybean, and seems to have some of the same effects as MK-4 on bone health in clinical trials. However, it is not the from of K2 that mammals synthesize for themselves so I'm not convinced it's the real thing.


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