Are We Getting Enough Vit. K As Vegans?

The best sources of this nutrient are leafy green vegetables and canola, soy and olive oils. One form of vitamin K, called vitamin K2 or menaquinone, is found in animal products but in only one lone plant food—natto, a fermented soy product that isn’t a usual part of most western vegan diets. This isn’t a problem, though, because humans have no requirement for vitamin K2. We also have bacteria in our gut that produce this form of vitamin K—so we’re covered either way. Since vitamin K is essential for blood clotting we’d see some evidence of a deficiency if vegans weren’t getting enough. But a study that compared clotting rates between vegans and meat eaters found no difference.

DBM COMMENTCanola and soy or soy products of any kind are NOT permitted on DBM programs, as they are Genetically Modified foods

Should We Supplement With Vitamin K2?

Despite the current lack of evidence supporting the superiority of vitamin K2, there are going to be people out there who will worry themselves to death about it, as they will over almost every vitamin they read about on the web. In many cases, worry over a fairy low-importance issue like possible future K2 deficiency will stop them from adopting a healthy vegan diet that can change their life.

Additionally, for the part of the population that already has issues with their bones or teeth, the natural inclination will be to wonder if supplementing might be a wise choice.

But there’s a problem with supplementing in general: it’s a bit like playing Russian Roulette. The medial consensus is increasingly turning against preventative supplement use, with recent research pointing out, for instance, that the vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, beta carotene, copper and iron present in a great many multi vitamin supplements, once vaunted as the height of preventative medicine, are hazardous for our health because the body can’t handle these nutrients properly when they’re divorced from their nutrient packages (the whole foods they came in).

However, there is currently no research indicating that even large doses of vitamin K2 supplements are toxic or harmful in any way (11). Does this mean K2 supplements are compeltely safe? No, but there’s a decent chance that they won’t harm you.

We don’t suggest people seek their nutrition in a pill because natural internal production or whole foods will always be superior. Labs have a poor record of beating the balance of natural systems.

However, unlike B12, we can’t easily confirm if we’re low on K2 via a blood test. The traditional test for vitamin K deficiency is to simply time blood clotting. But we could theoretically have sufficient vitamin K1 to pass this test while lacking K2. Because of this, it’s hard to confirm that we’ve got an adequate supply.

There is some debate amongst raw vegans about whether we need to be supplementing or not.   Some say that, provided our gut bacteria is working well, that we can convert the K1 in leafy green veggies into K2.

Some say that the amount of K2 provided by converting K1 is so miniscule that it’s insufficient.   Dr Kate Rheaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and The Calcium Paradox is one such expert and author that says we shouldn’t be relying on K1 to effectively convert.

There are a few reasons why modern humans easily become deficient in Vitamin K2:

  • Widespread anti-biotic use interferes with our gut bacteria colonies and prevents K2 from being produced internally.
  • If we were to eat grass-fed animals or animal products such as egg yolks, butter, organ meats, goose liver, and some types of cheese, we would get some K2, but generally people are eating grain-fed animals instead and these aren’t sufficient sources of this essential vitamin.   (**As vegans we can’t rely on getting our K2 from animal sources at all.  And why would we want to eat those things, and suffer other deleterious health effects, if we could meet that nutrient need from vegetable matter?)
  • We don’t consume as many fermented foods as humans in the past did.  Fermented foods (some) are a good source.  
  • Our consumption of transfats interferes with our ability to metabolise K2.

As you can see from the above, if you’re eating a raw vegan, fruit-based diet, avoiding all animal products and fermented foods, you could be at risk for K2 deficiency, even if you’re eating a lot of leafy greens.

As a raw vegan you probably don’t consume transfats, but you still may have lingering compromised digestion from antibiotic use in the past (or more recently).  And if you’ve made a choice not to eat fermented foods, that rules out another good source of K2.


  • Eat your leafy greens RAW
  • Make sure that you eat a variety of foods
  • Make sure that your gut is healthy and the good bacteria is prolific