More Wrinkles = Too Little Vitamin K2?

This post (“The vitamin deficiency that’s written all over your face”)  by Sarah Pope at Healthy Home Economist is very good. It takes various pieces of data and puts them together to suggest that people who don’t get enough Vitamin K2 will get facial wrinkles sooner. The most interesting data is the difference between women in Shanghai, Bangkok and Tokyo — the Tokyo women had the fewest wrinkles. They eat the most natto, of course, and natto is notoriously high in Vitamin K2. Pope should have added that Tokyo women probably also eat a lot more of other fermented foods than Shanghai and Bangkok women — for example, more pickles and miso.

Another example of the same sort of reasoning:

Further research which bolsters the notion that getting plenty of K2 in the diet makes for smoother facial features is found in the research of Korean scientists and was published in the journal Nephrology in 2008. The rate at which the kidneys are able to filter the blood is an important measure of overall kidney function.  Researchers found that reduced renal filtration rate was associated with increased facial wrinkling. What does decreased kidney filtration rate predict? You guessed it – Vitamin K2 deficiency, according to American research published the year after the Korean study.

I wonder what other nutritional deficiencies poor kidney function is associated with. These associations are far from convincing but it is a new (to me) and testable idea. And Vitamin K2 is quite safe.

18 Replies to “More Wrinkles = Too Little Vitamin K2?”

  1. Sounds plausible. My skin seemed to smooth out pretty nicely at a 5mg dose.
    I started wondering why women, many of whom seem to obsess about skin products, were buying all those products and not K2. I don’t think my skin was particularly bad before I started taking it, but the difference to the touch was certainly noticeable.

  2. I’m not old enough yet to think about my wrinkles. I’ve been taking 5mg/day MK4 for the last 6 weeks and my blood pressure went down. As I do not measure it regularly and the K2 supplementation is for entirely different purposes, I cannot be sure to think of it as causative and therefore put it forward as an n=1 hypothesis.

    K2 is the most underrated of the generally underrated micronutrients.

  3. I believe K2 cured my (self-diagnosed) psoriasis. I had the problem for ~6 months and tried other things first (sunlight helped), and it started coming back after I ran out of K2.

  4. Oh whoops, just noticed the 5mg suggestion. Looks like it’s sold in 100 mcg doses, which means you have to take 50 pills. Am I missing something?

  5. I see you posted 5mg, I take the Weston Price recommended Fermented Butter/Cod liver Oil, only one cap at night. It recommends 2 a day. I have always had good skin which needs looking after as the climate I now live in is different and the water here is much harder, dosages would vary according to how our bodies absorbed, and upon our deficiency and need of K2?

  6. 5mg is really high-dose and part of my self-experimentation. Overdosing is quite unlikely, so given that 100mcg capsules cost more per dose than the 5mg ones, I shot for the latter. I’ve read that Vitamin K2 MK4 has a very short half-life in serum (1-2 hours), so my idea was to have a dose that I only need to take once a day.

  7. In terms of dosage when trying something new, I always tend to take the minimum dose to give my body time to adjust. I read somewhere that you often need to find the minimum dose required to fix something – ie less is often more. As these things also build up in your system over time. Personally I usually take child dosages when I experiment because I may be sensitive to some additive that may be part of something I am trying for the first time , so its a quick way to test.

  8. I don’t trust that fermented butter oil. Green pastures doesn’t say how much K2 is in it. And as far as I can tell, it’s just incredibly overpriced ghee.

  9. Natto / 纳豆 has ~1100 mcg (1.1 mg) Vitamin K per 100 g AND it is delicious!

    Seth: It is unclear if different forms of Vitamin K have the same effects.

  10. Updated my blog (link above) with some info about Vitamin K2 & Bone health.

    I have to admit, I scoured PubMed the other day looking for anything about Vitamin K2 & skin health / wrinkles & didn’t come up with anything I thought was interesting. The article linked in the main post doesn’t give enough of a citation of sources to track anything down.

    She also asserts that women living in Japan, Bangkok, & Shanghai are comparable in every way except their consumption of natto, which is absolutely not true.

  11. There is some confusion in the comments here about Vitamin K2 dosage which I would like to clear up… Simplified K2 comes in two forms, MK-4 which is synthesized by animals, and MK-7 which is synthesized by bacteria. MK-4 comes in MILLIgram dosages in the 1-15mg/range and MK-7 comes in MICROgram dosages 50-150mcg.

    I don’t have any evidence but I would posit it unwise to try take 5mg of MK-7! As always Stephan clears it up:

  12. Seth, you’ve talked a lot about the importance of Vitamin D3 for improved sleep. I’ve read that Vitamin K2 has a dramatic effect on how the body uses D3 — but I’ve only seen discussion of how it increases the D3’s ability to help the body properly absorb calcium. Is there reason to believe that K2 might also help D3 in its role as “improved sleep promoter”?

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