Vitamins B12, K1, and K2 play important roles in keeping the body healthy, so that it can function at its best. But while vitamin B12 and the other B vitamins are regularly mentioned for their outstanding health benefits, vitamin K is rarely mentioned, despite the fact that research shows it to be one of the most promising nutrients with beneficial effects on the brain, liver, skeletal system, and pancreas.
What Is Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is the largest and most complex vitamin, and one that is essential for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. Also called cobalamin, vitamin B12 helps the body prevent anemia, depression, mania, and fatigue. A long-term deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to cause permanent brain and central nervous system damage.
Natural Sources of Vitamin B12
The body does not naturally create Vitamin B12, so it needs to be supplemented through the diet. Natural sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Clams, oysters, and mussels
- Lobster, crabs, crawfish
- Milk and yogurt
- Marmite (yeast extract spreads)
- Whey powder
Vitamin B12 can be consumed in high doses without fear of toxification. The excess is either excreted by the body, or stored in the liver for use during times when one's diet is lacking the vitamin.
What Is Vitamin K1?
Vitamin K1 is the predominant dietary source of vitamin K. Also called phylloquinone, vitamin K1 is important for maintaining bone density and health, and for clotting the blood.
Natural Sources of Vitamin K1
Vitamin K1 is usually easily derived from one's diet, so deficiency in this vitamin tends to be rare. It is most highly found in:
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, dandelion greens, collards, Swiss chard, etc.)
- Herbs (dried and fresh)
- Brussels sprouts
- Vegetable oils
- Fortified cereals
What Is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2 is a lesser-known vitamin that has recently started becoming more noteworthy in modern scientific research. Also known as menaquinone, vitamin K2 has been shown to promote heart health, protect the skin , boost the immune system, regulate calcification of tissue, protect cells against oxidative damage, and help regular blood sugar levels, in addition to helping form and strengthen the bones.
Natural Sources of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is produced in the body to a certain degree, because it converts some of the vitamin K1 we take in into vitamin K2, but quite often, this is not enough. Therefore, it is important to include this vitamin in a healthy diet. Unlike vitamin K1, which is obtained largely through vegetables, vitamin K2 is found mostly in fermented soy products and animal-based foods.
One can add vitamin K2 to their diet by eating natto (fermented soybean food), curd cheese, meats and poultry, eggs, cheese, and butter.
Supplemental Sources of Vitamins B12, K1, and K2
Spirulina is one of the most nutritionally-comprehensive plants on Earth. In fact, spirulina is considered the world's first superfood. This blue-green algae is hygienically grown in sealed ponds in Hawaii and made into tablet or powder supplements that are then able to provide exceptional supplementation of vitamins B12, K1, and K2, among many others.
Spirulina contains all of the B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. It is also a rich source of protein, amino acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and carotenoids.