Difference Between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 28, 2023


Difference Between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2

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Vitamins are the compounds that the body requires in small amounts. Maximum vitamins come from food because the body either does not produce them or creates very little. Vitamin contains carbon, which means it is an organic compound. Different vitamins have various functions to perform in the body, and a person needs a distinct amount of each vitamin to stay fit and healthy. Consuming too little of a particular vitamin might augment the risk of acquiring certain health issues.

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fatty tissues and the liver by the body. Extras of these vitamins can remain in the body for days. Fat-soluble vitamins are available in foods having fats. The body soaks these vitamins as it does nutritional fats. They do not get dissolved in water. 

The two most common groups of Vitamin K are:

  • Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) - is present in green, leafy vegetables, and other plant sources.
  • Vitamin K2 (menaquinones) - is found in animal sources and fermented foods.

There are also synthetic forms and other forms of this vitamin that the body constructs.

Vitamin K vs Vitamin K2

The principal difference between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 is that Vitamin K is a bunch of fat-soluble vitamins that comprise identical chemical structures, whereas, Vitamin K2 is one of the three forms of Vitamin K. On one hand, Vitamin K is notable for its role in blood-clotting, heart fitness and soundness of bones; Vitamin K2 plays a major role in the metabolism of calcium (the chief mineral found in your bones and teeth).

Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 have separate functions but, they both are immensely beneficial for the adequate functioning of your body processes. Vitamin K plays a major role in the healing of wounds; Vitamin K2 contributes majorly to skin health and bone metabolism.

Difference Between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonVitamin KVitamin K2
FunctionIts essential role is in the healing of wounds and withdrawing the harmful effects of blood-watering medicines.Vitamin K2’s main role is to contributing to skin health and bone metabolism.
BenefitsVitamin K plays a vital role-in healing of woundsin promoting bone healthThe benefits of Vitamin K2 are that it-promotes proper brain functionprevents heart-related diseases
DeficiencyVitamin K deficiency diseases include: Coagulopathy, Anemia, Hematoma, Petechia, etc. A deficiency of Vitamin K2 can lead to Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular disease, poor bone development, etc.
AbsorptionVitamin K is absorbed by the body below par.Vitamin K2 is absorbed by the body in a greater percentage.
CirculationVitamin K is transferred to the liver.The circulation of Vitamin K2 occurs in the blood for a few hours.
FormsVitamin K has a total of three forms: Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2 and Vitamin K3.Vitamin K2 forms vary from MK-4 to MK-15.
SourcesThe dietary sources of Vitamin K include-Green VegetablesDairy SourcesFruitsThe food sources of Vitamin K2 include-Animal liversFermented foods

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a group of compounds, consisting of mainly- Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Our body demands Vitamin K for the post-synthesis transformation of some proteins essential for blood coagulation and for regulating the binding of calcium in bones and other tissues. Vitamin K refers to structurally identical, fat-soluble vitamers discovered in foods and hawked as dietary supplements. Plant-sourced forms are under vitamin K1. Vitamin K2 includes Animal-sourced foods primarily.

Benefits of Vitamin K

  • Along with Vitamin D, it ensures calcium-binding action needed for the healthy functioning of the bones and gums. It toughens the skeletal structure, improves bone viscosity and lowers the risk of bone rupture in older women. 
  • Vitamin K has also resulted in reduced chances of peripheral arterial disease in people. It also prevents the arterial walls from mineralization and maintains the blood pressure under control, allowing the heart to pump blood effortlessly through the whole body by boosting all-around cardiac health.
  • Vitamin K is also helpful in controlling bleeding disorders in newborns displaying hemorrhagic disease caused due to absence of vitamin K.
  • Vitamin K is a remedy for bleeding possibilities caused by an overdose of Warfarin. This drug can have serious, potentially fatal consequences as the purpose of the drug is to reduce the risk of inappropriate blood clotting.
  • It takes a few days to two weeks for a person to die due to consuming rodenticides (rat poison). Vitamin K is administered in large amounts for such patients as a treatment. This dosing may sometimes continue for up to nine months in cases of poisoning by super warfarin rodenticides.
  • Vitamin K3 or Menadione, a synthetic compound, is used in the pet food industry because once consumed it gets converted into Vitamin K2.

Sources of Vitamin K

  • The dietary sources of Vitamin K in dairy products include- cheese, milk and yoghurt.
  •  Vitamin K is also available in Green vegetables like parsley, lettuce, cauliflower, green turnip (boiled and drained), cabbage (cooked), Brussels, spinach (boiled or raw), etc.
  • Fruits like kiwi (peeled and sliced), grapes (1/2 cup), mango pieces, 1 cup), blueberries (frozen, 1/2 cup), pears (slices), etc. are some sources that provide Vitamin K.
  • Some other sources include- Fish, potatoes, olive oil, carrots, Hazelnuts, Chicken, pork, Zucchini, etc. 

Deficiency of Vitamin K

  • There is no upper limit that is prescribed for the intake of Vitamin K, which means toxicity is very rare and nearly impossible to result from eating foods possessing Vitamin K. 
  • Some people are unsuitable to absorb Vitamin K, for instance- those who suffer from Crohn’s disease, liver damage, inflammatory bowel disease, gall bladder disease, celiac, cystic fibrosis, celiac, or those who underwent abdominal surgery. These are more inclined to Vitamin K deficiency.
  • One severe Vitamin K deficiency disease is Anaemia. Anaemia is a blood disorder which occurs due to a decrease in the number of RBCs and haemoglobin count. This results in decreasing the capacity of transporting oxygen to all body parts.
  • Petechia is another deficiency ailment of Vitamin K. It is a skin disorder due to damaged capillaries resulting in red or purple marks on the impacted part.
  • Coagulopathy is a deadly bleeding infection in which the blood's potential to coagulate blood is restricted, resulting in excessive bleeding during surgery. Vitamin K is known for its blood clotting function plays a pivotal role in the coagulation of blood, and its deficiency can result in Coagulopathy.

What is Vitamin K2?

Menaquinone /Vitamin K2 is one of three types of Vitamin K; the other two are Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and Vitamin K3 (menadione). Vitamin K2 is generally found in fermented foods and animal products and is both a tissue and bacterial product. The various forms of K2 range from MK-4 to MK-15. The most common one is MK-4 or menatetrenone; it is water-soluble and produced by bacterial conversion of Vitamin K1. MK-4 is found in animal products usually.

Benefits of Vitamin K2

  • Studies have shown that Vitamin K2 supplements can decrease the risk of bone ruptures and improve bone health in people with osteoporosis. MK-4 is employed, in Japan and some other parts of Asia, as a treatment for Osteoporosis.
  • Some studies have demonstrated that Vitamin K2 impedes bone loss in bone-related diseases. New bone fractures were avoided, and bone strength was improved, with a raised intake of Vitamin K2 supplements
  • Vitamin K2 has shown benefits to heart health as well. Research has shown that women who had a higher intake of Vitamin K2-rich foods were negligible to have cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes. 
  • Vitamin K2 helps to conserve the elasticity of the blood vessels, which is considered to be advantageous in postmenopausal women in some clinical trials. 
  • Lack of Vitamin K2 leads to the non-activation of MGP. It limits the removal of calcium from blood vessels and raises the risks of blood vessel calcification. It eventually leads to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Intake of Vitamin K2 supplements leads to a slower age-related reduction in bone mineral density in women.
  • Osteocalcin is known to initiate the formation of Dentin, the calcified tissue in teeth. Osteocalcin can be triggered only by Vitamin K2. Therefore, Vitamin K2 is essential for the up-keeping of healthy teeth.

Sources of Vitamin K2

The sources of Vitamin K2 are mostly animal-sourced food products such as:-

Egg yolkChicken
Egg whiteMilk, whole
Milk skimmedCheese, hard and soft both
PorkYoghurt, whole milk
Quark or curd cheeseNattō (Fermented source, highest in quantity)

People who have blood thinners should definitely talk to their doctors or healthcare provider before including Vitamin K2 supplements in their diets. Vitamin K2, however, may be an effective supplement because it isn’t used up by your body as quickly as Vitamin K1. That means that the enhancements could have a chance to benefit, rather than simply pass through your system as waste. 

Main Differences Between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 (In Points)

  • The fundamental difference between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 is that- Vitamin is a group of compounds, on the other hand, Vitamin K2 is one of the types of Vitamin K.
  • The primary sources of Vitamin K are green leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, lettuce, and cauliflower. The sources of Vitamin K2 include mostly animal products and fermented foods like cheese, milk, yoghurt, etc.
  • Another essential difference between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 is their absorption. Vitamin K2 has a higher absorption percentage in the body. Vitamin K1 is absorbed by the body poorly.
  • Vitamin has three forms- Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin K3 while the sub-types of vitamin K2 range from MK-4 to MK-15
  • Where, Vitamin K is transported immediately to the liver, on the other hand, Vitamin K2 is different in this aspect. It circulates in the body for a few fours. Vitamin K2 has longer side chains than Vitamin K, which helps it to circulate in the body longer.
  • Vitamin K plays a vital role in the healing of wounds and in promoting bone health. Vitamin K2 prevents heart-related diseases and promotes adequate functioning of the brain.
  • Vitamin K deficiency diseases are- Anaemia, Coagulopathy, Hematoma, etc. The deficiency diseases of Vitamin K2 include- Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular diseases, poor bone development, etc.


It is most suitable to incorporate a combination of food sources of both Vitamin K and K2 in your diet to acquire the health benefits that these vitamins have. Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 are also available in supplement form and consumed in large doses. Although there are no known toxicities, further research will be needed before a particular recommendation for supplements could be given.

Vitamin K plays a pivotal role in blood clotting and stimulating the good heart and bone health. The sufficient intake that is recommended for Vitamin K is based only on Vitamin K1. It is advised to be at 90 mcg/day for adult women and 120 mcg/day for adult men. The quantity of Vitamin K you receive from foods depends on how you prepare it. Frozen foods, that you cook, often have more vitamins than raw forms. This is possible because frozen vegetables lose some of their water, distilling the vitamins.

Vitamin K2 activates a protein called Matrix Gla-protein (MGP), which contributes to the removal of calcium in the arteries and thus postpones the commencement of high blood pressure. It also has a role in calcium metabolism and allows defending bone density. The exact recommended values for Vitamin K2 are still vague. It can be considered that about 180-200 micrograms are a sufficient daily dose.

Hopefully, this article helped make the difference between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2 understandable. Researchers are still working on finding out more benefits of the vitamins, which are yet unproven. The above article includes in detail- the benefits of Vitamin K and K2, their sources, deficiency diseases, and more importantly the difference between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2.


  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320310#vitamin-k
  • https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/supplement-guide-vitamin-k
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K2#Dietary_intake_in_humans


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"Difference Between Vitamin K and Vitamin K2." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-vitamin-k-and-vitamin-k2>.

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