Vitamin K1 vs K2: Key Differences Explained

Introduction to Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for various physiological functions in the body. It plays a crucial role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and cardiovascular health.
Types of Vitamin K
Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone)
Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is primarily found in green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli. It is essential for the synthesis of clotting factors in the liver.
Vitamin K2 (Menquinone)
Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is synthesised by bacteria in the gut and is also found in fermented foods like cheese and natto. It has several subtypes, with MK-4 and MK-7 being the most studied.
Sources of Vitamin K1 and K2
Both Vitamin K1 and K2 can be obtained from dietary sources such as leafy greens, dairy products, and certain meats. However, K2 is more abundant in fermented foods and animal products.
Absorption and Bioavailability
While Vitamin K1 is efficiently absorbed from plant sources, Vitamin K2 has higher bioavailability and a longer half-life in the body, making it more effective in fulfilling the body's needs.
Functionality in the Body
Vitamin K1 is primarily involved in the coagulation cascade, ensuring proper blood clotting and wound healing. On the other hand, Vitamin K2 regulates calcium metabolism, promoting bone density and preventing arterial calcification.
Key Differences Between Vitamin K1 and K2
Chemical Structure: Vitamin K1 has a single isoprenoid chain, whereas Vitamin K2 has multiple isoprenoid chains, affecting their absorption and distribution in the body.
Biological Roles: While both vitamins contribute to blood clotting, Vitamin K2 has additional functions in bone and cardiovascular health.
Target Tissues: Vitamin K1 mainly acts in the liver, whereas Vitamin K2 is more active in extrahepatic tissues like bones and arteries.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K1
Vitamin K1 ensures proper blood clotting, preventing excessive bleeding, and is pa