Unifying Nutrition: Osteoporosis and Atherosclerosis May be Linked: Vitamin K2

This goes way back and is one of the themes that set me up strong for the Paleo / Primal journey right off. I didn’t even blog about it for months, because it seemed too obvious. I had to read up, and I had to think.

And then I did my first post about it, way back three years ago, October of 2008: Doubling of Vitamin D for Children Is Urged; I Also “Urge” K2, Menatetrenone (MK-4).

Back then, I wrote:

Now, think about this from an evolutionary perspective, prior to modern mass migration. Northern latitude: white skin. As you proceeed south, toward the equator, increasingly dark skin on average. Vitamin D is fat soluable, which means, it can build up. At certain high levels it can produce a toxic effect. Final piece of the puzzle: white skin absorbes UV and synthesizes vitamin D way faster than increasingly dark skin. So, natural selection being what it was, those able to make use of the far shorter summers and lower angle of exposure to sunlight (white skin) fared better in the harshness of life; whereas, those in the south where the sun is year-round — and very high in the sky for efficient exposure — fared better by having protection against too much (dark skin), with consequent toxicity.

That was in reference to “Vitamin D,” of course (it’s actually a prohormone). My perspective has changed, but only qualitatively…in that I have come to believe that the root of the problem is collectivized, socialist thinking. People of white skin and brown skin really are different in profound ways, just not in the ways political opportunists would have you believe (one way or another). They are physically different, obviously, but it’s owing to evolution and migration that made it so and, it’s really such a shame that so much of what was right in front of our faces, all along, was instead relegated to the province of politics and domination (I repeat myself, redundantly) and of how to assuage the hand wringing and fear of white folk over “them brown skins.”

And all the human capital that has been spent on it, over the years. …As an aside, as a young white boy waking up to the wonder of the female form, I could not help but adore those with brown skin the most, and that is how I have spent 95% of my sexual life from day 1. …So there you go.

But this post is about vitamin K2 (menaquinone), and to emphasize: no, you cannot get this but by eating animals and their parts. What’s more, evolution dealt us an awful blow: inasmuch as hunting and gathering was far more arduous than snagging a ribeye at the local grass fed (clap clap) merchant, you’re still SOL. See, actual hunting for food over the millions of years before Whole Foods, had an evolutionary effect. People ate the whole thing. And guess where the most nutrient dense parts are: organs, marrow, brain.

Cruel. Ribeys and Filets are so easy and tasty.

But if you’re paleo, doing meat, fish, fowl, veggies and fruit to the exclusion of crap that had to be “fortified” (that’s a fraud word, in the context) by law to make it slightly less crappy (cereals, etc.), because it was taking up nutritional space in the diet and people were coming down with obvious and easily identifiable nutritional diseases way back, then you’re many, many steps ahead.

I think vitamin K2 is a very special substance that more than any other, deserves consideration as a supplement, by which I mean, irrespective of diet and in super-normal quantity. I think this because I have seen enough evidence to make me suspect that it can undo damage, particularly in the realm of calcification, one of the major causes of early death (atherosclerosis) or debilitating later years (osteoporosis).

And what the fuck else? You know what? I feel a bit of shame that I accepted the utter bullsit as a kid that “cavities” in my teeth, causing enormous pain as they did, over days, were just another normal part of “growing up.”

Do animals in the wild writhe in pain over teeth carries?

Well, the punchline here is that someone finally wrote a book on Vitamin K2 and she happens to be a well respected naturopath in Canada, Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, BSc, ND. Yea, the “naturopath” thing is troublesome. It’s almost as bad as a blogger…

To the left: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life. I Kindled (new verb) the book Monday morning and spent much of the day skimming over it.

She hits all the main points so far as I can tell by the quick-over I gave it. I’ll also be reading it intensely and will report back with anything I think isn’t quite right, but I doubt that will happen.

It is of intense interest to me that in low carb and paleo circles over the last couple of years, there is no end of info on vitamin D; and yet, I almost never hear anything about K2.

Enough of that stupid shit. K2 has an important role to play in the following:

  • Antiaging
  • Heart health
  • Plaque accumulation
  • Reversing calcification (generally)
  • Bone health
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Wrinkles
  • Varicose veins
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Fertility
  • Facial and jaw development in utero
  • Birth canal development in utero for eventual easy, natural labor
  • Dental health

Sounds like a “super food,” don’t it? …Only it doesn’t grow on some obscure tree in the rain forrest unavailable to the vast majority of people who evolved over the last 4 million years. Nope. It has been available to everyone throughout our evolution. But you have to eat animals, and you have to eat the “nasty bits” to really cash in. Don’t want to? Fine, supplement.

On that last point; that is: dental health, above…it was actually a dentist — Weston A. Price (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration), back in the 20s & 30s — who blazed the trail by traveling around the world to remote places out of contact with civilization, only to find generally pristine health and remarkably, a rate of tooth decay that was somewhere around one cavity or less per thousand teeth examined. This, in a time of his profession where dental carries were on the order of 1 in 3 teeth, and teenagers were being fitted for dentures.

And so don’t you find it a bit interesting that prior to the 1920s, heart and cardiovascular disease were rare, almost unheard of? Was increasing alarm being sounded in the 1920s and 30s over tooth decay and heart attacks, with no one having a clue of the connection, and the trail went cold long ago?

What’s the unifying mineral? Could it be calcium? Weak bones, insufficient facial and jaw development (causing breathing issues and teeth crowding), insufficient pelvic development in females (causing laborious childbirth)…while on the other hand, calcification of organs such as kidneys, and atherosclerosis, a huge killer.

It’s a perfect storm and the only response has been the typical response. Somehow, we’re different than all other animals on Earth and rather than stop for a second and realize that vital nutrition may be missing from our diet, we look to pharmaceutical companies to make…not billions, but trillions, over time…in a plethora of endeavors that never look to the root.

Let’s take but one example from the book, heart disease.

Lots of lifestyle changes can help prevent heart disease (lose weight, cut your sugar intake, exercise), but can any substance remove calcium plaque once it has formed? Just one: vitamin K2. Studies show that adding menaquinone to the diet will activate MGP to reduce arterial calcium content by 50 percent over just a six-week period. This cardiovascular news just keeps getting better, since the same studies show that blood vessels are not irreparably damaged by the plaque, as you might expect. Apparently, vitamin K2 also helps restore arterial flexibility once the calcium has been removed (12). If you have a high coronary artery calcium score or elevated levels of inactive osteocalcin, take heart: vitamin K2 can help.

The coronary arteries aren’t the only blood vessels in and around the heart that succumb to perilous calcification. Very seriously, plaque can build up in the aorta, the major blood vessel that carries fresh, oxygenated blood from the heart out to the body. This causes the aorta to become rigid and inflexible, increasing the risk for heart attack. Aortic stiffness also precedes kidney disease, an equally grave condition that is covered in the next chapter. Vitamin K2 is just as effective at removing calcium from the aorta as from the coronary arteries, as illustrated in the case of Sam K., a 69-year-old dentist with a heart murmur.

Sam’s primary care physician detected the abnormal heart sound during a routine physical examination. He therefore had Sam undergo an echocardiogram, a simple test useful to evaluate disorders of the heart valves. The echocardiogram showed that Sam had aortic valve stenosis, a condition in which calcium and other material deposited on the aortic valve cause it to stiffen. A stiff aortic valve struggles to open with each heartbeat and can obstruct the blood output of the heart. This leads to chest pain, breathlessness, lightheadedness and heart failure. Although symptoms at first occur with vigorous physical activity, as the valve gets stiffer, symptoms occur with minimal physical provocation. The severity of aortic valve stenosis is gauged by measuring the effective area of the valve opening. Normal is 3.0 centimeters squared (about 1 1/2 inches squared); Sam’s aortic valve area was reduced to 1.6 centimeters squared, about half of what is should have been.

Aortic valve stenosis is eventually fatal. For this reason, once it’s identified, an echocardiogram is repeated every 6 to 12 months. When the valve opening is reduced to 1.0 centimeters squared or less and symptoms begin, aortic valve replacement is advised. This is an open-heart surgery, a major undertaking at any age. Because most people with aortic valve stenosis are in their 70s and 80s, an open-heart procedure carries substantial risk. Efforts have been made over the years to identify treatments that slow the progression of aortic valve disease. The only agent that has shown any effect in slowing aortic valve stenosis is high-dose Crestor, a potent cholesterol drug. The dose used in the study, 40 milligrams per day, carries crippling side effects for most people.

Sam had the good fortune of being referred to a forward-thinking cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, who, since 2006, had been advising patients to supplement vitamin D to prevent progression of aortic valve disease (13). Achieving a therapeutic blood level of vitamin D meant a dose of 8,000 international units per day for this average-sized man. The specialist found that high-dose vitamin D alone stopped the aortic valve area from shrinking in over 90 percent of his patients, although it did not reverse the existing disease.

Sam is a nutritional supplement enthusiast, so when his doctor told him about the benefits of vitamin D to aortic valve disease, he jumped on the idea. At the time, Sam’s cardiologist also suspected that vitamin K2 supplementation would add an additional advantage. Among the observations that pointed toward vitamin K2 as a factor in aortic valve disease was that people who take the blood-thinning drug warfarin, or Coumadin — which induces both vitamin K1 (associated with blood thinning) and K2 (associated with calcium metabolism) deficiencies — experience gradual calcification and narrowing (stenosis) of their aortic valves. Because he loved the idea of applying nutritional supplements in a rational, targeted way, Sam added to his vitamin D supplementation 900 micrograms of the short-acting MK-4 form of K2 and 100 micrograms of the long-acting MK-7 form, along with 1,000 micrograms of K1, to cover all his vitamin K bases. In reality, the dose of MK-4 was not likely therapeutic and the K1 wasn’t really necessary, but the 100 micrograms of MK-7 provided effective treatment.

Ten months later, another echocardiogram showed an aortic valve area of 2.9 centimeters squared—nearly doubling the valve area. The finding was so remarkable that Sam’s doctor asked the echocardiography technician to confirm precisely what he had found. Yes indeed, by using a combination of vitamins D and K, Sam had managed to open up his valve to essentially a normal, healthy size.

12. Schurgers L. Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats. Blood 2007 Apr, 109(7): 2823–31.

13. Clinical case courtesy of William Davis, MD, author of WheatBelly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health, (New York: Rodale, 2011) and Track Your Plaque, 2nd ed. (New York: iUniverse, 2011).

As to reference 12, Dr. Stephan Guyenet blogged about that way back here, about three years ago. And I will respectfully dispute the idea that the MK-4 was not likely therapeutic. And for a simple reason: that’s the subform you get from animal products. The MK-7 subform comes from bacterial fermentation in things like high quality cheeses and natto. Those were not available generally to evolutionary man. On the other hand, the MK-7 form has been shown beneficial, as I totally rant about in this post from early 2009. I think you try to get both; but if I had to choose, it would be the animal form, made by ruhminats for benefit of those who consume them.

I should draw this to a close, so let me begin that with another quote from the book:

Calcium is abundant in nature. It is the primary mineral in the sedimentary rock that covers up to 80 percent of the earth’s surface, the rock that is the parent material to soil. Bones and teeth are our bodies’ reservoir for calcium, holding up to 99 percent of the mineral in the human organism. Although bones have been likened to rock, really they are dynamic, living tissue that is capable of gaining and losing mineral density throughout life. Losing calcium from the skeleton compromises our health because it leads to bone fractures and opens an access route for bacteria in the mouth to reach the bloodstream. Calcium also paradoxically finds its way to places in the body that further endanger our health. In recent years, calcium has been added to everything from multivitamins to orange juice to pasta in an effort to stave off the massive trend toward osteoporosis. Controversial research shows that this practice is, in fact, condemning calcium-takers to death from heart attack as that added calcium lodges itself in our blood vessels instead of building our bones. Simply giving up added calcium isn’t the answer. Whether or not you take calcium supplements and calcium-fortified foods, it’s statistically likely that hardening of the arteries, porous bones or both will affect you. That’s because the problem of calcium leaching from your skeleton and gathering in your arteries is not about calcium. It is about the fat-soluble vitamins that create and activate biological proteins that guide calcium into, around and out of the body. Even though all the fat-soluble vitamins have been known to scientists for more than 70 years, we have learned little about them until very recently. According to respected fat-soluble-vitamin researchers, this is at least partly due to financial incentive that diverts the focus of investigators toward proprietary analogs — artificial forms of vitamins that can be patented (1). K2 research in particular lagged behind because its sister molecule, K1, hogged the spotlight. The fascinating menaquinone discoveries made by Dr. Weston Price remained in obscurity for decades, since K2 goes by a pseudonym in his work. Whatever the reasons, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. [Emphasis added]

1. Vieth R. The pharmacology of vitamin D, including fortification strategies. In Vitamin D, 2nd ed., Feldman D and Glorieux F (San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press, 2005) 995–1018.

Regarding the emphatic I added to that quote, it is a long time now I have been saying about k2: makes calcium go everyplace it should, i.e., bones and teeth, and no place it shouldn’t, i.e., your arteries. You’ll also want to be getting your vitamin A and D, as they all work in synergy, importantly.

And of course, I love all this because it makes total sense in an evolutionary context. Moreover, it makes vegetarians look shortsighted…and vegans look like absolute morons…and that’s always a good thing.

Here’s a search link to all of my Vitamin K2 posts over the years, emphasizing the MK-4 subform, menatetrenone.

In terms of when, what and how much supplementation? Participate in the comments.

Update: You might want to check out this recent post by Dr. Jack Kruse, a neurosurgeon, “OSTEOPOROSIS TWO: THE VITAMIN K2 STORY

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  1. Contemplationist on November 30, 2011 at 14:53

    Fantastic post Richard!

    However, I remember going nuts over fish oil and then Vitamin D over Robb Wolf and Dr. Davis’ suggestions respectively. I would prefer not to go nuts and then have to read that lesser amounts are more produent. What is your best guess as to dosage?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 15:29

      Well in the reversal of arterial plaque in rats, they got a whopping 45 mg per day as I recall, with no noticeable side effects.

      I’ll speak more to products and dose after more comments come in.

      • Jon Cole on December 2, 2011 at 09:03

        I’ve been dosing with MK4 using the Carlson product and I’ve decided to switch over to the butter oil. I’ve been trying to find your dosing recommendations for the butter oil, but I can’t seem to find it. Would you mind stating the dosage for us again? 1/2 Tablespoon is one serving, right? Thanks!

      • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2011 at 09:33

        I use the caps. More convenient, easy to travel with. The dose is two caps per day.

  2. Contemplationist on November 30, 2011 at 14:53


  3. Jackie Danicki on November 30, 2011 at 14:54

    This makes me super depressed that I’m on Coumadin and am supposed to limit my K intake.

    • julianne on November 30, 2011 at 15:01

      You may want to check with your doctor, K1 is the blood clotting vit K, K2’s action is different. Ask if you can take just K2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_K

      • Jackie Danicki on November 30, 2011 at 16:14

        Thanks, Julianne – I’ll ask!

    • Daniel Hagg, MD on November 30, 2011 at 18:15

      Jackie, There is actually a good body of literature that supplementing patients on warfarin (coumadin) with vitamin k1 daily dramatically improves warfarin dosing and time in the therapeutic range by eliminating the fluctuations that occur when one tries to “limit” vitamin k intake. You will have to take a larger dose of warfarin, but not by much. that is not a big deal anyway. the K2 will have no effect on your warfarin dosing or effect.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 18:25

        Dan MD:

        Thanks for weighing in, as always.

        Subject near and dear, as I have a younger bro on Coumadin. He’s about 40. About 18 months ago he developed extreme back & leg pain, had an MRI, they found a herniation, he had the surgery, but really didn’t improve as, for example, my 72-yr-old dad did with similar symptoms, same time, same surgery, even same surgeon at Kaiser.

        Subsequently, they discovered a blog clot in his leg and he’s been on the med ever since.

        he appears to be improving slowly. I wonder if the back surgery was even necessary at all.

        I don’t expect any diagnosis, but does any of this ring bells of experience or intuitive speculation?

      • Howard on December 1, 2011 at 09:11

        Seth Roberts has written a lot on unnecessary surgery:

        This is his latest post on it:

      • Lute Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 19:50

        Of course I had been taking K2, D3, A (cod liver oil), Krill & Magnesium. I think that’s probably why I had such a good recovery.

      • Sean on December 3, 2011 at 10:58

        Lute, nice to see you willing to take some advice or consideration from a son who appears to have once been the black sheep of the family. My father is 72 and had a big skin cancer scare many years back, it metastasized into his neck. My grandmother came from Ireland and settled in New Mexico so it is pretty rampant in the family–at least the family that grew up outdoors.

        Anyway while skin cancer is a big problem, my Paleo-ish advice is pretty much ignored by one and all in the family, including my pig-headed father. If my blog was as huge as Richard’s would some people in my immediate family finally pay attention? I dunno, I doubt it.

      • Lute Nikoley on December 4, 2011 at 10:04

        Sean, actually I was convinced right at the beginning, well after I saw the results on richard. Oh Yeah Sean, there are no black sheep in our family. Just differences of philosophical perspective, opinions and beliefs.

      • Sean on December 7, 2011 at 14:11

        Yes, I can see how Richard’s results could be quite convincing.

        Lute, there are plenty of (mostly reformed) black sheep in our family. Yet it is often the children who were most rebellious and wayward in youth that tend to be more respected by their parents and often more successful in adulthood. The road less traveled and all of that.

        I went through a few years of being a persona non grata, not on speaking terms with my father and I assumed Richard went through something similar with the religious strife, but I’m probably just projecting.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 7, 2011 at 16:24


        We found a way around all of that by telling each other to fuck off around the campfire, then getting hungry in the morning and having a great breakfast.

        I have never spent a second of my life not loving my dad. I pitty anyone who has no choice in that matter and I fully understand that some don’t.

      • Joe on December 1, 2011 at 10:57

        Seth Roberts recently had a post on his experience with unnecessary surgery:

      • Dan Linehan on December 3, 2011 at 15:05

        Gah, some of those comments are depressing..

    • Suzie on November 30, 2011 at 19:24

      Dr. Jack Kruse talks about K2 on his blog a lot. He mentions on his “Osteoporosis 2: The Vitamin K2 Story” post that there are alternatives to Coumadin that do not interfere with Vitamin K or something to that effect. Coumadin appears to be very bad for osteoporosis. Interesting read.

  4. julianne on November 30, 2011 at 14:57

    Thanks Richard, for bringing K2 to our attention. My mother discovered recently that she had calcification in her arteries, and my hubby has calciuria. Needless to say – I’ve bought K2 (mixed high dose) for both of them.
    With the emphasis on boosting Vit D levels really high, I suspect we will see more of these problems in the Paleo community if we don’t get the other fat soluble vitamins, especially A and K2 to balance it.

  5. kd on November 30, 2011 at 15:11

    Woot! Way to go Kate! Have been wanting to read it, too. So proud to say I knew you when. :)

  6. Dave on November 30, 2011 at 15:35

    Would love to get on board, but the only place locally up here in Vancouver, Canada I’ve found that sells it was $25 for 30 capsules. If anyone has a better option on where to affordably source it, I’d really appreciate it.

    • Jasen on November 30, 2011 at 16:31

      I get all my sups from amazon.com. I don’t know if they deliver in Canada though.

    • Stipetic on December 1, 2011 at 00:37

      Vitamin K is illegal in Canada except for K2 at the 45 mcg strengths (I tried to get some for my dad). Also, orders from outside Canada will be very expensive. You have to hire a specific agent (I can’t remember there exact job description) who will take care of customs for you. It’s not worth it. Just drive down to Seattle, or cross the border, and buy it there.

      Good luck.

      Life Extensions has a good supplement of 2100 mg K2 combined with 5000 IU D3 and 1 mg Iodine.

    • Kelly on December 1, 2011 at 08:44

      I order my K2 from Abaco Health. It’s a Canadian company and they ship for free in Canada if the order is over $75.

      • Dave on December 1, 2011 at 09:20

        Thanks Kelly, I’ll check it out! I was looking at the GP stuff, but I was worried about paying duty or having it held at the border.

      • Dave on December 1, 2011 at 09:39

        Which product have you had success with? I assume the AOR brand? I don’t see any good reviews for any of the brands online, which is to be expected with how little attention K2 currently gets

  7. Tim on November 30, 2011 at 15:46

    Anyone got a quick hit list of the animal products richest in K2? WAPF gives dairy products from grass fed sources, but with an avoidance of dairy in mind, I reckon eating tallow, marrow, bone broth, liver, heart, tongue is keeping me in good supply.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 16:03

      Apart from dairy those are some of the best. Add some goose liver pâté (choke it down :). Also, if you can do fish eggs, that’s very high as well.

      • Jackie Danicki on November 30, 2011 at 16:15

        Fish eggs (roe) are delicious mixed into deviled eggs, as well as stirred into cream sauces that accompany any meat. They give a nice, salty hit. Taramasalata is also delicious, but is usually made with canola, which I think is discouraged in paleo/primal diets…

      • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 16:44


        I have just to devised eggs & salmon recipe for you:


    • jon w on December 2, 2011 at 03:52

      I’ve been wondering about tongue and heart – I know Americans generally lump them in as “organs” because of the modern anti-offal fad. But nutritionally, aren’t they just muscle meat?

  8. VW on November 30, 2011 at 16:03

    I’ve been taking this daily for about a year:


    • VW on November 30, 2011 at 16:06

      Hit SUBMIT too fast. For better or worse, here are the facts on that pill I take every day:

      Supplement Facts
      Serving Size 1 softgel
      Servings Per Container 90

      Amount Per Serving

      Vitamin K activity
      2100 mcg

      Vitamin K1 (as phytonadione)
      1000 mcg

      Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-4)
      1000 mcg

      Vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7)
      100 mcg

      Medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil)
      215 mg

      Ascorbyl palmitate (antioxidant)
      25 mg

      Other ingredients: gelatin, glycerin, beeswax, purified water, carob.

      Contains tree nuts (coconut).
      This product contains NO milk, egg, fish, peanuts, crustacean shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp), soybeans, wheat, yeast, gluten, corn, or rice. Contains NO sugar, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 16:10

      I took that for a couple of years and just in that last few months went to the Green Pastures Butter Oil and my teeth are way better in terms of any calcium deposits. In fact, it dissolved the ones already there in spite of the LEF product.

      • VW on November 30, 2011 at 16:12

        Checking in it product right now! Thanks for the tip.

      • VW on November 30, 2011 at 16:13

        Jesus H, did I really type that? I guess it proves that I was literally looking in another tab, checking butter oil out, while trying to type a reply here.

      • John on December 1, 2011 at 08:26

        I’m a little unclear if both the Super K and the Butter Oil did this, or if you found the Butter Oil to be superior. Can you elaborate a bit? I’m on the Super K now, but am thinking of switching to the Butter Oil when I run out.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 16:33

        It’s a teeth and fingernail thing, perhaps skin softness as well. It’s an effect that I experienced when I first took K2 a few years back, which was the butter oil. I think I went through 3 or 4 bottles, then used the Thorne product, then the Super K from LEF.

        I’m just about at the end of two bottles of the butter oil and the same effects I recall from way back have returned.

      • John on December 1, 2011 at 20:39

        Awesome. Recently just had a deep gum cleaning, and have minor cosmetic skin condition all my life that I would love to get rid of. Sounds like the butter oil is worth a shot. I read posts from you and Stephan were you both mentioned it was like an overnight change. If that’s the case, I might alternate between Butter Oil and Super K until the last one is gone, and then keep up with the butter oil. Haven’t noticed the teeth and skin changes from the Super K.

      • Tracy on December 12, 2011 at 20:56

        The butter oil – I have grass-fed ghee, is that basically the same thing? (I hope so, the butter oil is bloody expensive, at least here in Canada)

  9. Nigel Kinbrum on November 30, 2011 at 16:21

    I take one of THESE a week.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 16:40

      I miss you in comments, Nigel. guess I’ll have to do more K2 posts,.

      Gratified to know you still have me on radar.

  10. Liz on November 30, 2011 at 16:23

    The information provided by the Weston A. Price foundation on such things as K2, the “Wulzen” factor, and the nutrient-dense organ meats convinced me that in some ways the value of a “standard Paleo diet” (ie meats, veggies, fruits, *some* good fat) can dwell in the realm of the dreaded “i” word: intervention diet. While it’s far and away better than any other mainstream dietary paradigm, some folks still stagnate when not cognizant of this “ancestral wisdom” idea. I think the “traditional foods” (excluding grains) like bone broth, organ meats, fermented cod liver oil, and copious K2 (from wherever you can get it) are THE things to emphasize for really robust health. I’m still a “Paleo-type” gal, but am increasingly drawn to the work of the WAPF. I have really enjoyed my membership in the foundation, and have written about K2 and vitamin A/D for athletes in my work for a CrossFit-affiliated business.

    • Scotty Logan on December 12, 2011 at 15:56

      Hi Liz, where can i read more on your posts ?

  11. Scotty Logan on November 30, 2011 at 18:38

    I get all of my vitamin K2 from drinking ‘KEFIR’. Fermented kefir grains made in raw cow or raw goats milk…. it is full of k2. Must be home made tho, no store bought rubbish. Doms Kefir is awesome for delivery by post of grains.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 18:59

      Fermentation created MK-7, just like cheese and natto.

      My primary is MK-4, and I’ve gotten plenty of MK-7 over the years but it is only MK-4 that makes a huge difference on the surface of my teeth, and it is unmistakable. Like smooth pearls every morning.


    • Lynda on March 30, 2015 at 08:02

      Does anyone know how much K2 is in Kefir and Kefir cheese? I know I need to take Vit D and I’ve read that you should take 100 mcg of K2 for every 1000 IU of Vit D. K2 is very expensive to buy in supplement form. I am making kefir again though so would really like to see how much K2 is in it. Thanks!

      • Sally on November 4, 2015 at 08:53

        Hi Lynda,

        Just wondering if you ever found out how much K2 was in Kefir?? I am also consuming Kefir every day and Vitamin D3 (5,000ius daily) too and would love to know if the Kefir is providing an adequate source of K2 to balance the D3.

  12. Karl on November 30, 2011 at 19:19

    Great post Richard. I’ve been taking a drop of Thorne K2 here and there and I definitely see a benefit in the calcification of my teeth, though it hasn’t gotten entirely better. I like the idea of a more natural package.

    Has anybody tried the Green Pastures Butter Oil and Cod Liver Oil mix? Is there any benefit to the combination or is that just overthinking things?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 19:50

      Having begun with the GP butter oil capsules, then to the Thorne, then to the LEF K2 complex over the last coupla years, and now having gone back to GP, I’m sold on that. Have not tried the BO and CLO combo, I use the BO capsules with one cap of Carlson’s CLO.

      But we”ll see. About time to reorder.

      • Lute Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 20:22

        We still take the LEF Super K. Should we switch? Or does it really matter.

      • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 20:52

        I have noticed a huge difference in the smoothness of my teeth since going to the Organic Pastures Butter Oil, capsules, 2 per day.

        All I can say is, try it, if you notice an improvement in skin softness and smooth teeth, then consider a switch.

        Another factor for me is amazingly thick and strong fingernails. Tools.

      • Lute Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 09:09

        Is it the X-Factor Gold High Vitamin Butter Oil? Do you order on-line from OP? or does Vitamin Shoppe carry it?

      • Richard Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 16:55

        It’s the last product on this page:

        I’ve always ordered direct, though I’ve heard there are a few other places that sell it for a little less money.

      • Dan Linehan on December 3, 2011 at 15:11

        Crazy. I wish a lab would test Kerry Gold butter versus X-Factor (versus any other grassfed products.) I’d be curious how locale changes affects the vitamin content.

        Is butter oil just another way of saying ghee?

      • Anne on December 5, 2011 at 08:59

        I make my own ghee from Kerrygold butter and would like to know how it fares for K2 as well!

        My understanding is that butter oil is the subfraction of ghee which is still liquid at 70 deg F. According to an account in Chapter 16 of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Weston Price used a centrifuge to separate the butter oil from the rest.

        Personally, I have noticed that the ghee I make will naturally separate over time with the part that’s liquid at room temperature rising to the top. I assume that that liquid top part is butter oil.

        I preferentially use the “butter oil” part on foods I’m directly going to eat (mostly sweet potatoes) by pouring from the jar, and preferentially use the solid part for cooking by tilting the jar to the side, then using a spoon to get the ghee on the uphill side.

        My rough estimate is that the “butter oil” fraction I get from making ghee from Kerrygold butter is around 10x cheaper per ounce than the Green Pastures butter oil product.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 5, 2011 at 10:48

        Very interesting. How much butter oil would you say you get from a pint of your ghee?

      • Anne on December 5, 2011 at 12:24

        I would guess that the line between the lighter mostly solid part and the darker fully liquid part to average about 10-15% of the way from the top of the jar at ~70 deg F, but that’s a very rough estimate. That would be about 2 oz butter oil for a pint of ghee (actual yield for a batch is more like 12 oz ghee from 16 oz butter). It might be a bit more if it were centrifuged since it doesn’t completely separate (when there’s clear liquid at the top, the bottom part is closely packed small solid crystals with some liquid between them).

        On looking closer, either my earlier calculation or my memory of it was faulty. If I’m doing it right this time, the price of Green Pasture’s Butter Oil is actually pretty similar to the butter oil part of making ghee from Kerrygold: $7.4/oz for GP butter oil; ~$1/oz for ghee made from Kerrygold, but only ~10-15% of that is butter oil so it’s in the same ballpark (of course you also get lots of non-butter-oil ghee to enjoy too, so it’s still a good deal).

        The level of the line between the butter oil and the mostly solid part varies a lot between different batches. Weston Price claimed that the ratio depends on what the cows are eating and that the yellowest butter with the highest % of butter oil is when cows eat fresh fast growing grass. That seems consistent with what I’ve observed.

        It’s hard to be sure since room temperature also varies seasonally. However, when I was able to get local grass-fed butter (sadly lost that supplier) the butter would be lighter in the winter and yield ghee that was fairly solid. In the spring the butter would switch to much more yellow and would stay much more liquid than the previous batch. My memory is that this transition would be sudden, and precede room temperature changing much (temp still dominated by thermostat/heater setting, and batches overlap a bit). When this transition happened the line would be maybe be 30-40% from the top (~3x more butter oil than before).

        I haven’t noticed Kerrygold get nearly as yellow or yield ghee that’s as liquid as the local butter I was getting did in the spring. In the same chapter I quoted before Weston Price says something interesting on this point:

        Probably every housewife is familiar with the low melting quality of the butter produced in early summer when the cows have been put on the green pastures. This is particularly true of butter that has the grassy flavor and the deep yellow to orange color. This butter is usually several times as high in fat-soluble activators including vitamins A and D as butter produced from stall fed cattle or cattle on poorer pasturage. In Chapter 15, I have explained why this butter is not favorable for shipping and why dairymen so frequently give the cows a ration that will produce less of these qualities. One of the principal foods used for accomplishing this is made of cotton seed meal and cereals.

        I wonder if today’s grass fed butter producers, like Kerrygold, may also be intentionally modifying feeding to limit these qualities as well. If so, and if Green Pastures has identified (or persuaded) suppliers who instead let the cows purely eat fresh grass, they may have a significant advantage over my method.

  13. Jscott on November 30, 2011 at 20:13

    I have been doing about 4 cups of Bone broth a day. Bone marrow once a week or so (for the past month). I am suppose to be doing fermented CLO and/or GP oil.

    I have no clue how much I am getting of it needs to be increased. Anyone monitor or test for k2?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 20:58

      I say that if gettIng it from real food and not supplementing is your deal, then you just go with that, as much as is palatable.

  14. Jscott on November 30, 2011 at 20:20

    *or if

  15. Dan on November 30, 2011 at 20:51

    The bacteria that ferment K1 to MK-7 also exist in the human body, so humans were almost certainly exposed to MK-7 before the rise of human-made fermented food. Given that we have no idea exactly what particular problems gut dysbiosis causes, it seems pretty reasonable that there could be some benefit of MK-7 independent of MK-4.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 30, 2011 at 21:00

      I do not disagree, and while I remain steadfast in assuming that MK-4 is the superior form, I thnk it’s wise to get both.

  16. Neal Matheson on November 30, 2011 at 23:28

    What a wonderful post! This is the first work ever that has made me consider supplementation. I eat liver or heart near every day and eat a fair amount of bone stock, Marrow was too much even for my Scottish taste buds. It’s nice to see something about reversing the damage done by ‘government guidelines’.
    Would you accept the processed badness of liver pates in order to get the K2? I’m thinking of way for my wife to get it beyond supplementation.

  17. JB on December 1, 2011 at 00:00

    So wait, what are the best sources of MK-4? I searched for them on this thread but all I got was butter oil. I want to try it.

    Here’s what I found when researching this (a while before reading this post):

    should fix dark eye rings

    Researchers continue to explore a wide range of health-supportive roles for vitamin K. At the forefront of this research are roles in three basic areas: (1) protection against oxidative damage; (2) proper regulation of inflammatory response; and (3) support of brain and nervous system structure.

    Gas6 is a vitamin K-dependent protein that was identified in 1993. It has been found throughout the nervous system, as well in the heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys, and cartilage. Although the exact mechanism of its action has not been determined, Gas6 appears to be a cellular growth regulation factor with cell-signaling activities. Gas6 appears to be important in diverse cellular functions, including cell adhesion, cell proliferation, and protection against apoptosis (6). It may also play important roles in the developing and aging nervous system (12, 13). Further, Gas6 appears to regulate platelet signaling and vascular homeostasis

    This one is important for me to reverse the severe Accutane side effects I’m experiencing, 8 years later.

    • Joe on December 1, 2011 at 10:25

      JB, there seems to be some kind of persistent derangement in testosterone metabolism in some (many?) people who were put through an Accutane regimen. I’m not aware that it has been clinically studied anywhere, but there is some n=2 anecdotal discussion of the effects in the interview here: http://bhrcenter.com/ (You have to cue in about ten minutes to get to the relevant part.)

      Accutane was a very bad drug, and I think there is still little understanding of many of its effects.

      And Richard, this post is extremely timely for me. I’m tempted to do my own n=1 experiment by having my first-ever calcium scan, then doing a high-dose D+A+K2m4 regimen and seeing what happens in 6 months. Also, I had been passing on the butter oil due to cost (and reasoning that, hey, it’s just butter), since I had never seen anyone who’d had notably superior results. But thanks to your rec, I will take a shot with the butter oil.

      Have you ever had a calcium scan done, Richard? I would bet that your score is zero.

      • Lute Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 11:04

        Joe, that makes me wonder about my calcium deposits on the outside of my kidneys about 25 years ago when I had x-rays of my kidney’s do to kidney stones.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 17:06

        I had one done three years back and got a score of 78, as I recall, which was normal for a guy my age.

        One of these days I’ll have another one done.

      • Joe on December 2, 2011 at 09:19

        Well, if it’s dropped, it would make one hell of a blog post.

        Because all doctors know that that’s something that only gets worse. :-)

    • Dan Linehan on December 3, 2011 at 15:13

      So sorry to hear about your Accutane side effects.

      It breaks my heart that so many kids were put on a drug like that. I’m glad my acne wasn’t worse as a teenager or it could have been me..

  18. gallier2 on December 1, 2011 at 06:12

    As a French I have to weigh in and as it is also seasonally appropriate: the absolute best source of vitamin K2 MK4, tastewise and quantity wise, is foie gras. The French Paradox redux!

    I found this blog entry on the subject, I hope the guy made a better job than me to source the affirmation, but here you go.

    • Joe on December 1, 2011 at 10:32

      …and fois gras is now illegal in California, since the PETA propagandists spread the lie that they were ‘tortured’ by being fed with a tube.

      (Unlike humans, geese have completely separate windpipes and esophagi, so they cannot be “gagged” by rapid feeding.)

      • Tracy on December 12, 2011 at 21:02

        Augh. Obviously, these protesters haven’t ever spent any time around actual geese. I spent a summer with ppl who raise geese and migrate them south with ultralight planes. The minute I got in the middle of a group of geese, at least half of them were deep-throating my hair – as in bill to scalp (and I had really long hair). They were fine.

    • Tin Tin on December 1, 2011 at 14:36

      Good linkage gallier2. Definitely worth a read.

  19. Richard Jones on December 1, 2011 at 10:18

    I actually just purchased some MK-4 yesterday. They stock it at The Vitamin Shoppe here in Texas. I picked up Carlsons brand at a 5mg dose per perle. It was the ONLY one that was Menatetrenone/MK-4. All the others were MK-7. the dose is a bit higher than the other brands though.

    I havent read anything on an established upper level dosage. It seems there is no known toxicity levels for dosing yet. I did see the 45mg dosing study reported, so I figured 5mg isnt too much. But Im always looking to prove so or otherwise on things like this though.

  20. JB on December 2, 2011 at 03:23

    Somewhat off topic, but Richard you might want to weigh in on this:

    “We are giving away a $5000 prize for well-researched, well-reasoned presentations that answer the following question:

    What are the best recommendations for what quantities adults (ages 20-60) should take the important dietary minerals in, and what are the costs and benefits of various amounts?”

    It’s begging for a paleo response.

    I posted my shot at it here:

  21. Mike McGinley on December 1, 2011 at 12:29

    Good post. Thanks! I’ve been taking Vit D for awhile and have recently started Vitamin K2. Any thoughts out there about reasonable dosage levels?

  22. Aaron (halotek) on December 1, 2011 at 16:06

    Richard, it is interesting that you get such a strong effect from only 2 capsules of the butter oil. I checked the nutritional label and 2 capsules contains 1g of total fat. 1 dose of the liquid butter oil (which is 1/2 teaspoon) is 2.5g of fat. I’m sure that someone taking 1 to 2 doses of the liquid per day will be getting enough K2!!

    • Richard Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 16:29


      I believe the dose is about the same of K2, as oil in the caps is solid and in the bottle is liquid. It’s my understanding that there’s some sort of centrifuge process they put the clarified butter through to get the fraction of the oil that has the K2 in it, so it’s way more concentrated than simply eating butter.

      • Aaron (halotek) on December 1, 2011 at 16:36

        Richard: I’m sorry I didn’t clarify. When I mentioned butter oil — I meant the High vitamin butter oil from Green pastures. So the does I’m talking about will def have more K2 than the capsules they sell.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 1, 2011 at 17:04

        No, I understood what you meant. The two are very different in composition. One is liquid and in the caps I take, the butter oil is solid. These aren’t sealed gel caps, but capsules you can pull apart. I presume they add some sort of liquid fat to the otherwise solid butter oil so that it stays liquid at room temp, which mine does not.

        It’s important also to emphasize that this is not simply high quality butter, but clarified butter that has been centrifuged to get to that concentrated portion with the K2 and other stuff in it.

      • Joe on December 2, 2011 at 10:35

        It’s important also to emphasize that this is not simply high quality butter, but clarified butter that has been centrifuged to get to that concentrated portion with the K2 and other stuff in it.

        Richard, I’m curious as to why you’re stating this as fact, when Green Pastures makes no such claim anywhere. In fact, their marketing material is a miracle of lawyerly phrasing. Read their site casually, and you might think High Vitamin Butter Oil is the sine qua non of K2. Read it carefully, and you get the impression that there might be no K2 in it at all.

        Green Pastures also doesn’t explain anywhere (that I can find), if there is any difference between “high vitamin butter oil” and butter. “High vitamin butter oil” appears to be a phrase that Green Pastures has created — it doesn’t seem to refer to anything real (although it definitely gives the impression that it is a substance distinct from ordinary butter.) If you Google “high vitamin butter oil”, you don’t find the phrase anywhere but associated with a Green Pastures product.

        In fact, on their “Purity Statement” page, Green Pastures says:
        * Whole Food Form
        * Wild, as Provided by Nature
        * Unadulterated
        * Natural fatty acid complex, nothing removed or changed
        * Full, deep range of Vitamins A, D, E, K; CoQ enzymes; and other quinones
        * Deep, Rich, Historical Processing Methods
        * Non-industrialized Production
        * Clean, Pure, and Third Party Tested

        Sounds like good butter’s in the capsules, but just butter, no?

        The only part of their label that is regulated (the Supplement Facts box) says there is only fat and cholesterol in the product. Conversely, the Supplement Facts box of Carlson K2 says it contains menatetrenone 5mg. (The Carlson product, unlike the Green Pastures one, also says “potency and quality guaranteed” and “An FDA Regulated Facility”.)

        If it had K2, in it, Green Pastures would have to say so, wouldn’t they? And if it doesn’t have much or any – yet wanted to imply that it did without being liable for any such claim – wouldn’t the label look exactly as it does now?

        ie: “Contains: Milk.”

        The real smoking gun is their Product Test Data page ). Incredibly, they don’t seem to have tested their butter oil for K2! Wouldn’t you think that would be the key test of the HVBO product?

        (Or did they test for K2, and omit the result for a reason?)

        I think there’s nothing in those capsules but a few grams of pastured ghee. My bet is that they tested the K2 content and the results came back so low that revealing them would be the end of a lucrative product. Hence the handwaving about X-FACTOR™, yet complete silence about K2.

        (And I’m willing to bet that the “centrifuging” is not to concentrate the “K2” content, but is just to precipitate out the milk solids so the product doesn’t rot at room temperature. ie, ghee has a better shelf life than butter.)

        (By the way, note that Seth Roberts IS reversing the calcium in his arteries – he lost a lot of calcium blockage in his last test, an incredibly rare result – and he does not take butter oil. What Seth Roberts does do is eat half a stick of pastured butter every day.)

        Anyway, the Green Pastures marketing sets off my Scooby sense. I can’t shake the hunch that some smart Nebraska farmer is pulling a fast one.

        [I wonder if you have any grad students among your readership who have access to the equipment (spectroscope?) that could test this product to see how much K2 is in it – the fact that Green Pastures so curiously omitted from their test result page.]

      • Aaron (halotek) on December 2, 2011 at 14:44

        I also found this product:

        While they call it butter oil– It probably is just ghee.

        Unless you believe in all of the benefits of raw butter oil. The K2 faction of butter is not disturbed by pasteurization.

        Here is the kicker — even if the butter wax component of ghee was like 80-90% — which I don’t see how that could be — Any grass ghee ghee on the market would be a better value than GP’s products.

        So — all we need to find now if the butter wax % in ghee.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2011 at 10:45


        I’m looking into it. In the meantime, consider that GP might actually care about the quality of their product, may want it to actually be Price’s X factor, but may want to keep it a trade secret for various reasons.

        You realize that the recipe for original Coka Cola has never been patented, right? Do you know why?

      • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2011 at 10:57

        And incidentally, Seth is a friend of mine and we talked a lot at AHS, he was first up at the mic after my own presentation.

        He is very much more about data than I am, and that’s cool. But I don’t want to create unintended consequences for myself but getting radiated regularly with CT scans. I trust how I feel and I use teeth as a telltale, and GP butter oil does better in that regard than any of the other products I’ve tried (Thorne and LEF) over several years, now.

      • Joe on December 2, 2011 at 10:58

        Yes, because they’d have to publish it.

        But K2 is a specific chemical, not a recipe.

        By the way, they don’t claim Price’s X factor is in the product, either. They brand it X-FACTOR™, but that’s not the same as claiming any particular compound is in the capsule.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2011 at 11:09

        Yes, a patent in legal terms is actually a “gift to society” in that in exchange for giving away the secret, you get a limited monopoly via your own production or licensing.

        But perhaps they’re crazy enough to prefer purity over money. Is that inconceivable, for everyone?

        Essentially, GP is saying we’re not going to tell you, and if you ask, we’ll be vague. But also, you can try it out and if you get good results, there you go.

        I get the best results with that product. It was the first I tried, then went to the mono-nutrient synthetics (MK-4), saw an initial benefit with butter oil, then a degradation over several years with the synthetics, went back to butter oil and now my teeth are like pearls again and pink lean gums (big marker for me, having had gum surgery), so what should I conclude, Joe?

        Joe, what should I conclude?

      • Joe on December 2, 2011 at 11:32

        I don’t know. As I said, I’m thinking of ordering it based on your experience.

        But preferring “purity over money”? What does that even mean? Purity of what? Purity of heart? Because they’re from Nebraska? Pure butter? I don’t doubt that there’s pure butter in the capsules. That’s my point — who would buy capsules of butter?

        I’m just trying to see if you have any sourcing for asserting that there’s anything other than ordinary butter in the product. Because Green Pastures is very careful NOT to say that there is.

        Really, I’m not arguing with you — I’m really glad for this post and I read you because IMHO you are the single best “hitching post” for what to do about health. I don’t think you suffer fools gladly and I actually think you are pretty data-driven.

        All I know is that they have a test page containing years of assays of the HVBO and none of them mention even a trace of K2.

        Does that not seem incredibly suspicious to you?

      • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2011 at 11:49

        The test page has Quonones, of which K2 is in there, so yea, I think they are keeping things close to the hip. I thnk they think they have something and that’s it’s possible they no more know the specifics than did Price.

        But I’m now confident of my own resuts in the matter.

        In terms of purity over money, what I mean is that I think they want to have a very unique product, keep it a secret, and leave it at that and not got for the obvious bog bucks scenario, as almost everyone does.

      • Aaron (halotek) on December 2, 2011 at 14:00

        After looking on the net for any type of comparison of ghee vs the butter oil on the GP site, I found this:

        Ghee is not the “High Vitamin Butter Oil” that Green Pastures makes by centrifuging butter to separate the butter oil from the butter wax and thus concentrate the K2. It takes 8 lbs of cream to make one jar of Green Pastures High Vitamin Butter Oil.

        United States Patent Application
        Filed: June 18, 2003


        original link to the US Patent Office

        “A method for producing high vitamin butter oil
        includes the steps of providing a quantity of
        cow’s milk and separating the cream in the cow’s
        milk from the skim in the cow’s milk. The cream
        is then churned into butter and the butter is
        removed from the buttermilk remaining in the
        cream. The butter is then placed in a cooking
        container and cooked at a temperature below 150°
        F. until a majority of the butter separates into
        clarified butter containing high vitamin butter
        oil and butter wax adjacent the top of the
        cooking container and butter solids adjacent the
        base of the cooking container. The clarified
        butter is removed from the cooking container and
        allowed to stand, and then the high vitamin
        butter oil is separated from the butter wax by a
        centrifuge or the like. The high vitamin butter
        oil is then ready for use as a dietary

        What I would like to know is — what exactly is butter wax — and what percentage of butter wax exists in ghee. If it is small, people may get better value out of grass fed ghee!

      • Joe on December 2, 2011 at 14:36

        Aaron, thanks for finding the patent.

        At Green Pastures prices, it’s hard to imagine how grassfed ghee could not be a better value.

      • AllanF on December 3, 2011 at 21:06

        Additionally, HVBO was a topic over a Paleo Hacks a while back. I wrote the following summation of butter->ghee->HVBO:

        To my mind, the HVBO’s cost makes it a dubious proposition. We don’t know the yield of HVBO from butter, but at $116/lb ($58 for a 1/2 lb jar), that is roughly the dollar equivalent of 30-40lbs of butter per 1lb of HVBO.

        If we did know the yield, we could determine how much butter one would have to eat to get the K2 equivalent nutrition of HVBO. Assuming it is a generous 10:1 (note from last paragraph they are charging ~35:1), a 1/2 teaspoon of HVBO could be replaced with a touch less than 2 tablespoons of quality butter.

        So, the question is, is 2T a reasonable amount of butter to consume on a daily basis? A stick of butter is 8T, I don’t know. I don’t think I eat that much butter on any regular daily basis, but is that amount of K2 necessary for otherwise healthy, Paleo/WAPF/otherwise non-SAD eaters? I think people have to answer that individually for themselves.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2011 at 08:28

        Thanks Joe, Aaron for digging into this. To thicken the plot, I exchanged an email with Stephan Guyenet and he gave me permission to post what he had to say on the issue.

        “Hi Richard,

        I don’t recall GP ever providing evidence that their butter oil is what Price used. There is an easy test though. Price’s butter oil was liquid at 70 F, while ghee is fairly solid. The way he made it was by a slow crystallization process that precipitated out all the solid fats, leaving a concentrated liquid layer on top. I haven’t bought the GP oil in a long time so I don’t remember clearly (I seem to remember it being liquid-ish and having a stronger flavor than butter but that was years ago), but if it’s solid at 70 F, it ain’t Price’s butter oil. There are definitely some unscrupulous people selling ghee under Price’s banner and calling it butter oil. The confusion stems from the fact that the term “butter oil” also refers to isolated milk fat, therefore these people can correctly claim that their product is butter oil, even though it’s not what Price used.

        I think you would be doing people a great service if you could get to the bottom of this. I think GP and these other manufacturers owe us a straight answer. Cheers,


        On Monday I’ll send an email to GP with a link to this post and to this portion of the comment thread and ask if they wish to weigh in.

        Cheers guys.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2011 at 08:37

        According to google sources I checked, one gallon of cream weighs about 8 pounds, so according to this, you’re getting the K2 equivalent of a gallon of cream. Searching anecdotes on google, people seem to be getting 2-5 pounds of butter from a gallon of cream. There’s a raw grassfed cream product around here and as I recall it’s about $13 per pint. Of course, even a few pounds of truly grassfed butter would be significantly less costly than either the cream or the butter oil. Of course, there’s also the issue that GP claims they only make their product from the cream produced during sping when the grass is green and grows rapidly, as supposedly that yields the highest quantity of the butter oil fraction.

        Questions, questions.

      • AllanF on December 3, 2011 at 20:22

        I have a jar of the GP HVBO. The following are the results of my kitchen chemistry using a non-calibrated, OXO brand instant read thermometer. Its design is the classic bi-metal spring. The scale is from 0 to 220F. The precision is apprx +/- 1.5F.

        Coming out of the cupboard the HVBO was unquestionably solid, albeit soft at 58F. It was about like regular butter would be at room temp.

        I put a small amount, roughly a half teaspoon, into a v. small glass cup (about 2 oz I’d guess) that was in a water bath of 69F. It definitely softened and spread out, but didn’t exactly do what I’d call melt. It became more the consistency of liquid soap with some obvious, very small suspended solids.

        I then moved the glass cup to a hot water bath. I stirred vigorously with the thermometer and the temperature quickly rose and now the HVBO was unquestionably melting. When the HVBO reached 80F it was the consistency of olive oil. The suspended solids were still evident, they hadn’t seemed to change. I removed the cup from the hot water bath. The HVBO remained at 80F from the thermal capacity of the glass and the solids were still not melting.

        I returned the cup to the ~69F water bath and watched and waited as the HVBO cooled. This time, coming at 70F from above, instead of below, the HVBO seemed to stay liquid at 70F.

        I left the glass with the HVBO on the counter for about half an hour and it’s temp cooled to about 65F (um, our kitchen’s ambient ;-). It was now back to the consistency of a soft soap gel.

  23. AllanF on December 1, 2011 at 21:42

    I think I’ve shared this story previously, but here goes again.

    We take the Ultra K from Vitacost. I think it has 1000mcg from K1, 1000mcg of Mk4 and 90 mcg of Mk7. We had been taking one capsule a week for a few months when the dentist said our 6 y.o. son had a couple small cavities we should consider getting worked on. Huh? Consider? Since when are cavities elective? So, I was very skeptical and decided we’d double his K2 dose instead. Also, wanting to be aware of any side-effects I decided to double my own dose just so I’d be aware of any strangenesses it might cause.

    Within two weeks of doubling the dose I noticed my teeth were, as Richard said, pearly smooth. The difference was incredible. I only brush my teeth once a day most days and they are as clean as if I’d just gotten a professional cleaning at the dentist. After a few months I decided to back down our dosage to one capsule a week and have been doing that for over a year now. My teeth are still silky smooth most of the time. I think K2 is pretty amazing. Consider if it does to one’s arteries what it does to one’s teeth, wow, might put into question all those hundred+ dollar a month statin prescriptions, yes?

    So, I’m all in favor of K2, though the mega-doses in many supplements I think are a bit overkill. 1mg of K2 seems to be far more than one could get through typical dietary consumption. I’m OK with it once a week, or twice if there is a condition one is trying to treat, but more than that as a standard supplement seems extreme.

    • VW on December 2, 2011 at 10:17

      My teeth are always shockingly smooth and plaque/grime-free. When I go into the dentist they always are surprised and ask if I’ve gotten professionally cleaned recently and whatnot. I always figured it was significant of nothing in particular. You think it means something good for my body?

      • AllanF on December 2, 2011 at 21:30

        Yes I do. I think dental health is suggestive for the whole organism.

      • John on December 4, 2011 at 11:10

        There are a lot of physical things that we find attractive that are also indicators of great health. Smooth shiny plaque free teeth are now associated with high vitamin K levels, so we can assume healthy arteries and strong bones. A good tan is associated with high vitamin D levels, and again, strong bones, good heart health, and also good brain health. A flat stomach is associated with normal insulin, leptin, and blood sugar levels, and therefore, low risk of diabetes and heart disease. If we have these physical attributes due to good diet and sun exposure, then these physical features correlate well to internal health. If we got them due to teeth whitening strips, spray-on tan, and lap band or liposuction surgery, then all bets are off.

  24. Razwell on December 2, 2011 at 08:34

    Awesome stuff, Richard. Bacteria flora in the gut is an area of future research ( vitamin K2, obesity etc. )

  25. D. Sterner on December 2, 2011 at 10:38

    Paul Jaminet should weigh in on that one.

  26. Steve on December 2, 2011 at 14:43

    I have a friend with Multiple sclerosis, I noticed Dr. Jack mentioned K could be helpful with treatment for this. Anyone heard anything specific, or have any links? Thanks!

    • Ken on December 3, 2011 at 11:53

      I strongly suggest using opc3 for MS. I heard lots of great result for it.

      • Steve on December 3, 2011 at 13:52

        I had not heard of that one, thanks, I will read up on it.

    • ChrissyV on December 7, 2011 at 11:17

      You and your friend might find this interesting, it’s a woman who reversed her MS using a paleo diet. Got her out of her wheelchair.


      • Steve on December 7, 2011 at 14:27

        Thanks, very interesting! Yet another MD discovering the benefits of looking to evolution when trying to find answers for modern problems. Interesting how people will ignore CW if their lives are at stake and the establishment way isn’t working, but don’t bother before that becomes necessary. I will definitely forward this to my friend and check into this much more.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 8, 2011 at 13:35

        Thanks. Finally having a chance to watch this. Amazing.

  27. Geoff on December 3, 2011 at 10:25

    Can vouch for benefits of butter oil with cod liver oil. Started taking these while back after reading up on k2 (mk4). Also make kefir – wasnt aware this was source of mk7 form.
    I was diagnosed with a ‘genetic’ condition called fibrous dysplasia in my left femur last Feb – I dont think it will help with this as it has unknown causation which probably isnt related to k deficiencies. But my skin, nails and teeth are better. I’m having a follow up xray early 2012 so will find out if the butter oil/cod liver oil combo has had any effect on my leg which orthopedics told me would break within the year if I didnt have an intermedullary nail put in. I put it off since I was doing heavy crossfit without any leg problems, which they didnt believe from my scans.

    I’m confused what ‘collectivized/socialist’ thinking has to do with the vit d issue Richard, not clear where this comes in.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2011 at 12:35

      “I’m confused what ‘collectivized/socialist’ thinking has to do with the vit d issue Richard, not clear where this comes in.”

      Racism, affirmative action and on and on, deflecting attention from the real issue between differing skin colors. As I wrote:

      “People of white skin and brown skin really are different in profound ways, just not in the ways political opportunists would have you believe (one way or another). They are physically different, obviously, but it’s owing to evolution and migration that made it so and, it’s really such a shame that so much of what was right in front of our faces, all along, was instead relegated to the province of politics and domination (I repeat myself, redundantly) and of how to assuage the hand wringing and fear of white folk over ‘them brown skins.'”

      Or, to state it another way, had the difference been acknowledged from the beginning as an aspect of human evolution and migration, it’s arguable that racism would have never become the politically charged issue it became and continues to the great benefit of the political ruling class.

  28. Paul d on December 4, 2011 at 02:58

    I like this alot. I have decided to modify my supplement intake as a result of the article. I have been taking a product called caltrate (vit d and calcium) since giving up dairy 95% of the time in my diet ( one cheat meal a week with heaps ofchocolate and icecream). There is a supplement I have found called bone protec by extendlife, with d3, k2,
    and calcium and a number of other ingredients. Thanks again. Paul d

  29. Dave, RN on December 4, 2011 at 12:58

    I take the Fermented CLO with butter oil from Green Pastures because I made the assumption that it had K2 in it and all the co-factors. I can’t wait for the clarification from Green Pastures.

    • Joe on December 6, 2011 at 10:26

      I take the Fermented CLO with butter oil from Green Pastures because I made the assumption that it had K2 in it and all the co-factors. I can’t wait for the clarification from Green Pastures.

      Paul Jaminet thinks fermented CLO may be toxic:


      • Aaron (halotek) on December 6, 2011 at 11:01

        Joe, while I agree with a lot of with Paul says on his site, butI think he is wrong about fermented CLO.

        Check out this blog post on green pastures site:

        If it is true that the peroxide value of fermented CLO is as low as was stated — it is highly possible that the omega 3’s are not oxidized. But then again — isn’t the process of fermentation supposed to oxidize stuff?

        I remember Don Matesz from Primal Wisdom also commented that he thought fermented CLO was toxic based on oxidized omega 3.

        We probably need someone who is really in know about biochemistry to say if the omega 3s in fermented CLO could survive the 1+ year fermentation process.

        BTW — I also am waiting for the clarification from green pastures! If i remember correctly though from a past email — they said it took 8 lbs of butter to equal 1lb of there product. That actually makes me think that there pricing is right on what it should be comparable to someone who is trying to make butter oil from butter or ghee. And on top of that — we know green pastures product is RAW.

      • AllanF on December 6, 2011 at 21:01

        8lbs of butter or 8lbs of cream, as Richard wrote above? As a quick & dirty apprx, cream is 1/2 butter, which is to say, 8lbs of butter starts with 16lbs of cream.

        At 8lbs of butter per lb HVBO, that is 4lbs per 8oz jar. Last time I check a jar was $58, or ~$15/lb of butter. Not sure I’d call that right on.

        At 8lbs of cream per lb HVBO, that is ~2lbs butter per 8oz jar, or ~$30/lb of butter. Nice work if you can get it. :-)

  30. Ned Kock on December 4, 2011 at 14:25

    Thanks Richard for bringing K2 to the fore again.

    One thing that intrigues me is the high K2 content of foie gras. Perhaps compensatory body responses by the ducks to fatty livers?

    If correct, maybe grain-fed beef liver would have more K2 than grass-fed? Assuming grain-fed cattle would have fattier livers. Worth exploring, I guess.

    As for cheese’s K2 content, rats may benefit from it, and Jack C. likes it a lot better if it is aged raw milk cheese from grass-fed animals:



  31. Ted Walther on December 5, 2011 at 13:59

    I want to try a dosage comparable to what the rats were given. Seems like that could get pretty spendy. Any ideas on how to do this on a budget? Are there any rules of thumb on scaling a dosage up from rats to human? I’m thinking a straight body-weight ratio would be overkill.

  32. Monte Diaz on December 5, 2011 at 20:26

    Here is a website explaining exactly how to scale dosages from animal studies to humans.


    Awesome site actually….

  33. Richard Nikoley on December 6, 2011 at 12:03

    Here’s an interesting post at Green Pastures discussing their CLO and Butter Oil and the nutrients within them.

  34. skeedaddy on December 6, 2011 at 11:52

    Great comment section! I have been reading/enjoying your articles but not checking the comments until now.

    • Tin Tin on December 6, 2011 at 18:49

      Richard’s blog easily has the best comment sections of any blog I’ve ever read – paleo or otherwise. I usually spend about 2/3rds of my time coming back to read the comments and 1/3rd reading the blog. Fuck knows how he does it because he does fuck all moderation.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 6, 2011 at 20:03

        That’s just it. I have no fear and I have top of line spam ware, let the comments roll.

  35. Keith Norris | Health vs Performance + Auto-Regulation | Full Video Presentation | Anthony Johnson | The Dream Lounge on December 6, 2011 at 12:16

    […] On the flip side, I actually find Keith’s discussions (in this presentation as well as elsewhere) really interesting, specifically his own interests in the nervous system as it relates to exercise, sports, etc. This to me seems like an important topic that does not get it’s fair share of attention — much like Vitamin K2 relative to Vitamin D. […]

  36. 13 Dec 11 - Crossfit Silver Spring on December 12, 2011 at 19:02

    […] “Both excessive and deficient exercise ruin physical strength” – Aristotle —- Unifying Nutrition: Osteoporosis and Atherosclerosis May be Linked: Vitamin K2   CFSS Weightlifting 12/10 […]

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  38. Dindan on December 22, 2011 at 10:00

    I read the book. It seems like the author is very familiar with Stephan and Chris’s work.

  39. […] Free the animal K2 […]

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