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Firstly, I want to make the distinction between the two main forms of vitamin K. K1 is referred to as phylloquinone because it's derived from plants, while K2 is referred to as metaquinone which comes from animal products. Now we've known from the early 90's that K1 converted to K2 inside of the body. This conversion takes place in two sections, the intestines and the peripheral tissues. The main mechanism behind this occurs through an intermediate molecule K3, which is made in the intestine from K1.
Despite the assure though that the body can do these processes, the conversion rate in humans varies widely. In general though, most people are deficient and/or take things that inhibit the conversion of k1 to k2 such as cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) and blood thinners (warfarin). Also, as we get older we find the conversion process (in general decreases). In addition to this because vitamin K is fat soluable, those eating a low fat diet despite adequate levels of vitamin K1 can still be deficient.
With this being said, I find it best for myself to consume a vitamin K2 supplement which I take everyday. Something I want to note is that vitamin D is activated by vitamin K2, which allows it to bind to calcium to take it out from the arteries and move it into the bones. Low vitamin K2 then could predispose something to developing calcified arteries and considering that heart disease is on both sides of my family....I don't take any chances.
So just to reiterate, we don't know exact conversion rates from vitamin K1 to K2. We do know though that the body can convert K1 to K2, and in most cases this conversion decreases with age and different predisposition. Lastly, we know that supplementation in vitamin K2 (specifically MK4) is efficacious in maintaining proper levels through time.Channel: Christopher Morales