Hair loss is a complex procedure that involves several mechanisms including genetic, hormonal, and environmental ones. Whether it is caused by intrinsic or extrinsic factors, the incident that you are losing your hair at an alarming rate itself is devastating. It has been found that more than 55% of women as well as 85% of men across the globe struggle with hair loss in their lifetime. There are even tons of products in the market that claim to promote hair growth to help you out in this situation. But what if none of those commercial hair growth products work for you? Well, hair loss can be the outcome of vitamin deficiency caused due to poor nutrition, which can be corrected by including the right vitamin in the right amount in the diet. Vitamin K2 is one such vitamin that can help you fix the root of your hair loss problem. Here is everything you should know about consuming vitamin K2 for hair loss.
What Causes Acute Hair Loss?
Before digging deeper into the details, here are two major underlying causes of acute hair loss that we should be aware of:
1. Dominance of DHT
In acute cases of hair loss, especially pattern baldness, the high amount of dihydrotestosterone or DHT is known to be the main culprit. DHT or dihydrotestosterone, in essence, is an androgen that is synthesized from its pre-cursor testosterone with the help of a certain enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. It is quite stronger than testosterone and becomes dominant in our body when the levels of its pre-cursor go high. However, it was an experiment conducted in the year 1942 by Dr. James B. Hamilton that revealed a connection between androgen therapy and balding. Since then, quite a few researches have been carried out on this topic and all of them concluded that high testosterone in our body can result in pattern baldness.
2. Scalp Calcification
There are three other ‘bad factors’ that are responsible for balding. These are hormones like ‘estrogen’, ‘cortisol’ and ‘prolactin’, which act as ‘testosterone blockers’ and lead to ‘scalp calcification’. In other words, these hormones form calcium deposits in the bone structure of our skull, thereby decreasing the flow of blood through the ‘diploic veins (the veins running throughout the scalp). As the blood circulation in the scalp gets affected, the hair follicles shrink greatly, which causes hair loss over time.
Why Consider Vitamin K2 For Hair Loss?
Vitamins are an indispensable part of our diet and we can simply not survive without the intake of the right dosage of vitamins. Vitamin K is one of such essential nutrients that we need for the coagulation of blood in our body. While there are three main forms of vitamin K i.e. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), vitamin K2 (menaquinone), and vitamin K3 (menadione), it is only the first one that has always been the topic of discussion. Vitamin K2, which was named ‘Activator X’ during the time of discovery, is mostly ignored as a mainstream vitamin. However, the latest studies have found that it is quite a powerful vitamin with potential disease-preventing qualities. It also helps in regeneration as well as regrowth of our hair strands, which can reverse hair loss naturally.
What Is Vitamin K2?
Now, let us explore vitamin K2 before moving to its working mechanism for preventing hair loss. Vitamin K2 or menaquinone is basically a member of the ‘Menaquinone’ family, which is nothing but a group of lipophilic vitamins. Menaquinones (MK-n) are mostly characterized by the ‘number of isoprenoid residues present in their side chains’ (signified by ‘n’) and there are a total of 9 chemical variants of it. Likewise, vitamin K2 also has several subtypes as per the number of isoprenyl units present in their side chains. Those are subdivided into short-chain menaquinones (MK-4) and long-chain menaquinones (MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9). It has been found that MK-4 or menatetrenone is the most common homologs among them. It is produced by bacterial conversion of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) but available mostly in animal products. On the other hand, longer-chain menaquinones are found in fermented foods only. However, the enzyme functions of vitamin K2 are significantly different from those of the other two types of vitamin K (1).
Read Also – 5 Vital Vitamins For Healthy Skin And Long Hair
How Are Vitamin K2 And Hair Loss Linked?
While the hormone testosterone and its derivative DHT are dominant in male bodies, they are also present in women to some extent and lead to alopecia, which can be treated with a nutrient-rich diet that includes vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is necessary for us to control our calcium intake to prevent scalp calcification. But calcium, being a vital mineral for our physical system and its functionalities, needs to be consumed through dietary means. It has also been seen that having the right dosage of calcium along with synergistic nutrients is actually effective in managing our testosterone levels. However, vitamin K2 can stimulate Matrix GLA Protein or MGP in our body, which is known to inhibit the calcification of the skull in a very efficient manner. Hence, it is important to increase the intake of vitamin K2 to counteract skull calcification while keeping the intake of dietary calcium intact.
Read Also – Think Before Popping Those Multivitamin Pills
How To Get Enough Vitamin K2?
The most reliable food source of vitamin K2 is ‘natto’, a traditional dish of Japan. It is essentially a bacterial fermented food in which soybeans are fermented by Bacillus Subtills to provide a huge amount of vitamin K2 as MK-7. It is also sold in the form of a capsule as ‘natto extract’. Some other similar bacterial fermented foods rich in vitamin K2 are curd, mature or aged cheese, other fermented vegetables like kefir, sauerkraut, etc. It is found in the egg (mainly in the yolk) and meat (mostly in the organs and fats of chicken and beef) in lesser amounts in the form of MK-4. Some other foods which contain vitamin K2 are butter, whole milk, skimmed milk, raw salmon, hotdogs, and so forth.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EU) and the US Institute of Medicine, there is no enough evidence to publish an adequate intake (AI) value for K2. However, it is recommended to keep the dosage between 100-300 mcg. per day for an dult person.
Read Also – Why Do You Need Vitamin D?
Side Effects Of Consuming Vitamin K2
Even though vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin, it does not cause any toxicity to our organs, especially the liver. However, while consuming vitamin K2 in large amounts, one must be aware of its potential interference with anticoagulant medications. So, before starting a vitamin K2 treatment for your hair loss, consult with your doctor for sure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Vitamin K2 Help The Regrowth Of Hair?
Yes, it does. However, you need to consume it in the right amount and opt for certain lifestyle changes like working out regularly, reducing stress levels, quitting the habits of smoking and drinking, etc. to get the best possible results.
What Other Vitamins Are Essential For Hair?
Apart from vitamin K2, many other vitamins should be present in our daily diet in adequate amounts. These include vitamin A, vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12), vitamin D, and vitamin E (3).
Does Vitamin K2 Interact With Drugs?
Vitamin K supplements are known to interact with many common medications including blood thinners, anticonvulsants, antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and weight loss drugs.
- “Vitamin K2“, Wikipedia.org
- “Vitamins K1 and K2: The Emerging Group of Vitamins Required for Human Health“, Hindawi.com
- “Can I Use Vitamins To Promote Hair Growth?“, MedicalNewsToday.com