But some compelling research shows that to protect the brain, we need to also pay attention to the health of our heart and arteries.
And there’s an often overlooked vitamin that plays a big role in making sure our blood flow is healthy… and our brains and arteries are too.
Researchers out of UC Davis measured arterial stiffness in 1,900 patients. (Stiff arteries aren’t good for blood flow.)
The researchers also measured gray and white matter integrity in the brains of the study’s participants.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, those with stiffer arteries had reduced brain integrity – a leading indicator of cognitive instability.
So as blood vessels stiffen, blood flow to the brain is reduced… and that reduces brain function.
The surprising part was that they found arterial stiffness and reduction in brain matter integrity in participants as young as 40.
This finding comes on top of other research that shows stiffened arteries can lead to memory loss and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
An Overlooked Solution
The most commonly reported cause of stiffening arteries (besides just getting older) is high blood pressure.
But an often ignored factor leading to arterial stiffness is calcium deposits.
In a perfect world, calcium should be delivered to the bones, where it belongs.
But sometimes it winds up in the blood stream and calcifies… which stiffens the arteries and reduces blood flow.
That’s no good. Our brains (and whole body, for that matter) need to keep the blood flowing at optimal levels.
This is where vitamin K2 comes to the rescue.
This overlooked vitamin makes sure that calcium gets taken out of the blood stream and redirected to the bones. In turn, this protects the arteries and the brain.
This stuff is no joke.
A steady intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to reduce calcium accumulation by 37% in just three weeks. After 12 weeks, it’s been shown to result in a 53% reduction in accumulated calcium deposits in the arteries.
And all the while, it was found that no new calcium deposits accumulated.
Keep an Eye Out
So how can we make sure we’re getting enough vitamin K2?
That’s the tricky part.
This powerful vitamin is found mostly in foods everyone tells us not to eat too much of. High-fat dairy products, including whole milk, cheese and egg yolks, are fairly rich in K2. It’s also found in some organ meats, like goose liver.
On the other hand, vitamin K1 can be found in all sorts of foods. Pretty much anything green has K1 in it… kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, Swiss chard.
I bring this up because the body can convert K1 to K2… but it’s not very good at it. Because of this, most people are deficient in vitamin K2.
But this is where supplements come in.
Unfortunately, because it’s still largely overlooked, bottles of vitamin K2 aren’t in the vitamin aisle of most grocery stores. And for some reason, it’s almost never included in multivitamins.
But it’s available at specialty vitamin shops. And there are also lots of options on Amazon. Just be sure that it’s made here in the U.S.
So try adding some vitamin K2 to your diet every day.
Your heart and brain will thank you.
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