As human beings, we require food filled with vitamins and minerals to live. In fact, there are 13 essential vitamins and minerals you cannot live without.
Failure to have adequate amounts of even just one of these vitamins and minerals could lead to serious health issues and, eventually, become fatal.
In the news and on most major media outlets, certain vitamins and minerals constantly steal the spotlight. I would argue today’s biggest “stars” are vitamins C and D.
Vitamin C is used by the body to produce collagen and connective tissue. In addition, it is used to manufacture glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body. And of course, vitamin C is essential to a healthy immune system.
Although vitamin C has been in the spotlight for years, more recently vitamin D has taken the world by storm, and deservingly so.
That’s because vitamin D acts on over 1,000 different genes in the body and is a key factor in everything from heart health to bone formation.
Unless you’re spending at least 30 minutes a day basking in the sun, you’re most likely deficient in vitamin D.
But while both these vitamins are pretty well-publicized in the healthcare industry, and the vast majority of healthy individuals are aware of their importance …
Sadly, there’s a little-known vitamin no one really talks about, but is just as important as both vitamins C and D.
And that’s vitamin K2.
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Now, it’s important to note there is another form of K vitamins called K1, which is found in leafy vegetables.
Unfortunately, your body poorly converts K1 into K2, which leads to a deficiency in most people.
In fact, a study done in the Czech Republic showed “our food is increasingly deficient in vitamin K2 in particular, and up to 98% of the general healthy population may be vitamin K2 insufficient with long-term detrimental impact on bone and cardiovascular health”
You see, K2 can be found in grass-fed meats, grass-fed butter, fermented natto (i.e., soybeans), and pastured eggs.
Even then, K2 is still low in concentration and enough to satisfy our bodies’ needs. The highest amount of K2 you can get from diet alone is from eating organ meats like hearts, liver and kidneys from grass-fed animals.
But the majority of the population is uninformed on the importance of grass-fed animals, and does not get this vital vitamin K2. An even-smaller percentage eats organ meats.
And this is not to blame anyone. Grass-fed organ meats aren’t in most common grocery stores, and to be honest these organs meats can taste downright unpleasant.
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So Why is K2 so Important, Anyway?
The importance of K2 is vast, but begins its vital role in calcium regulation. Sufficient vitamin K2 levels allow the body to store and even calcium as needed.
For example … calcium build-up around the arteries creates a large risk for heart disease. Without K2 to remove the built-up calcium, clotting and eventual heart attack is likely.
In a Rotterdam study, those who had the highest intake of vitamin K2 were 52% less likely to develop calcification of the arteries, and had a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease, over a 7-10 year period.
Calcium build-up isn’t just a problem in the arteries, but it can cause kidney stones, heel spurs, breast tissue calcification, heart valve blockage and other problems.
This presents a paradoxical situation — one where we need calcium for hundreds of functions in the body, yet it can be dangerous if it gets in the wrong places in the wrong amounts.
That’s why vitamin K2 is so important. It keeps calcium in the right places in the right amounts. Basically, anywhere in the body calcium is needed, so is vitamin K2.
This also includes your bones and teeth. You see, K2 activates a protein called osteocalcin, which is responsible for building and maintaining bones.
Osteocalcin also triggers a mechanism that stimulates growth of new dentin, which is the calcified tissue underneath the enamel on your teeth.
But this is just the basic function of vitamin K2. Other benefits of vitamin K2 include:
Reduced inflammation — by inhibiting pro-inflammatory markers in white blood cells called “monocytes,” K2 is able to reduce inflammation in the body. This results in reduced risk of numerous diseases such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease.
Reduced risk of cancer — Clinical studies have shown vitamin K2 to reduce the risk of liver cancer and increase survival time. In addition, an observational study on 11,000 men also found that a high vitamin K2 intake was linked to a 63% lower risk of advanced prostate cancer. (Vitamin K1 had no effect.)
Reduced risk of osteoporosis — As discussed above, vitamin K2 activates the protein responsible for bone growth. Adequate K2 levels have been shown to as effective as pharmaceutical drugs to prevent osteoporosis.
As you can see, vitamin K2 is essential to a healthy individual. But unfortunately most of us are likely deficient. As I said before, the best dietary sources of vitamin K2 are grass-fed organs.
Understandably, most people in today’s society don’t have the time to run to the nearest farm with grass-fed cows to buy animal organs. Plus, grilled cow liver isn’t exactly the most appetizing meal to a 10-year-old … or even an adult who has studied the health benefits.
The next best option to dietary vitamin K2 is to supplement with K2. However, before making any changes to your diet, be sure to do your homework on the potential benefits and drawbacks, and consult with a medical professional to make sure trying a new approach is right for you.
Happy and Healthy Investing,
Publisher, Uncommon Wisdom Daily
P.S. Occasionally I like to share some “uncommon wisdom” about health-related topics. For related articles, feel free to check out something that’s “Even Worse for You Than Smoking,” how breakfast could become “Your Ticket to Fat Loss and More Energy” and one way to “Add 182 Hours to Your Life Each Year.”