Sources of K2

Following up on my post from yesterday, I wanted to make sure everyone had a better idea of where to find this most valuable nutrient. If you didn't yet read yesterday's post, go back and do that now so you know why we want to be sure to have plenty of Vitamin K2 in our diets!

As I mentioned before, we humans do not make K2 in our bodies. Nor do we STORE this nutrient in our bodies. For these two reasons, it is absolutely vital that we have a regular intake of K2 from dietary sources. And those include:

Natto! I did not mention this source of K2 yesterday in my post. Natto is a Japanese fermented soybean product sold mainly in Asian markets. It comes in tiny styrafoam boxes. When you open the box and stir the beans around, you will notice a strange, spider-webby, gooey, stringy business going on in there. I have never seen another food product with this exact texture. I cannot tell you that you will LOVE this product. In fact, I would be surprised if you even like it. But from a nutritional standpoint, it is hard to beat. If you are an adventurous eater and enjoy the strangeness of a foreign taste, perhaps you will be able to stomach natto. It is THE ONLY vegetable source of Vitamin K2. In this instance, the K2 is produced by bacteria living on the soybeans.

Grass-fed butter! Or butter oil! Or ghee! These products MUST come from cows raised on pasture. If the label does not specify "grass-fed" then you are not getting K2. The color of the butter MUST be YELLOW! Golden yellow color (not from food coloring!) is a sign of grass-fed fat! Vitamin K2 is contained in the FAT of animals which graze on grass.

The yolks of eggs from free-ranging chickens! Now, the yolks of these eggs will be BEYOND yellow. They will be a deep, dark orange. This will let you know that the chickens have actually eaten grass. Many companies sell eggs labeled "cage-free" which means the chickens are kept in a DARK building and only fed grains. Even the label "free-range" can be used if the building has a door to the outdoors, even if the chickens themselves NEVER actually GO outdoors! (Unbelievable, right?) And "vegetarian" feed for chickens is just a ridiculous label as chickens are omnivores (like us!) and need to eat insects, as well as plants, for optimum nutrition. Small, local farms are the only place to find REAL free-range eggs. Or you could raise your own!

Grass-fed beef, lamb, pork, chicken, or other meats! The fattier cuts will (of course) contain more K2, as K2 is only found in the fat. Eating a lean chicken breast or filet will not do the trick here. In fact, foie gras (goose liver pate) is an excellent source of K2, as long as the goose was able to eat grass. Rich cheeses like triple cream brie are also high in K2 if the cows were pastured. Think about classic French cuisine: rich fatty meats, cheeses, and buttery sauces. All this time, we have attributed their lower rates of heart disease to red wine, but the regions of France where the HIGHEST amounts of saturated fats are consumed are the same areas which have the LOWEST rates of heart disease. Coincidence? Nope. Probably just the K2!

I have not yet looked into this, as I am trying to find sources of grass-fed foods for my diet, but I believe you can also purchase Vitamin K2 as a supplement. If not at your local CVS, then definitely on the Internet. When I do a bit more research, I may be able to make some recommendations for people who are not able to find food-based sources of K2.

In the meantime, check your local farms, farmers' markets, natural food stores, Asian markets, and Trader Joe's for grass-fed meats, cheeses, eggs, and butter. If you decide to give natto a taste, I'd love to hear your reaction!