High blood pressure is the result of stiffened arterial walls. When the heart pumps out a pulse of blood, healthy arteries will stretch to accommodate the extra volume. If the walls of your arteries are stiff and can’t expand, the blood will be under higher pressure.
There are a lot of ways you can work to make sure your arteries stay resilient.
One way is regular stretching.
Another is exercise.
And cocoa powder has been shown to help, too.
But a fourth important factor is making sure you have an adequate intake of vitamin K2, otherwise known as menaquinone.
Vitamin K2 is important because it activates proteins that inhibit the deposition of calcium in the arterial walls. Less calcium means less stiffening.
The dietary guidelines have not yet been clearly established when it comes to quantifying our daily need for K2. One reason is that many of the functions of K2 overlap with its sister vitamin K1 (phylloquinone.) Practitioners with a functional medicine orientation might typically recommend a daily intake of menaquinone of 100 – 300 micrograms.
There are plenty of dietary sources of K2, including fermented foods, organ meats, and egg yolks.
Another back-up option is supplementation.
Many one-a-day full spectrum supplements don’t contain menaquinone. Some products formulated to strengthen bone do. But most often I recommend a stand-alone K2 supplement. Here’s one of my favorites:
If you’re registered for my online nutrition dispensary Fullscript, you can find this supplement and purchase it directly. Or go to https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/rlavine to sign up.