K2 Content of Cheese Makes it Heart-Healthy: New Paper (Vermeer et al.)

Nutrients has published a new paper1, “Menaquinone Content of Cheese”, which examines the Vitamin K2 content of cheeses and other foods. Based on a global state of K2 deficiency and the strong evidence showing it is a cardio-protective nutrient, researchers recommend cheese as a component of a heart-healthy diet due to its Vitamin K2 content.

The analysis was conducted by the expert researchers at VitaK, Maastricht University (the Netherlands). Vitamin K2  (menaquinone) concentrations were measured in a range of cheeses and the effects of fat content, ripening, and cheese origins were investigated. According to researchers: “It was found that cheese and curd are the most important sources of long-chain menaquinones in the Western diet. However, the actual menaquinone content varies substantially and is dependent on the type of cheese, the time of ripening, the fat content, and the geographic area where the cheeses are produced.”

The findings showed that the total amount of K2 in cheese was between 3 and 802 ng/g. To that end, the researchers’ recommendation for K2 is between 180-360mcg/day, which means one needs to eat at least 225/445g of French cheese a day (Münster) and at least two times more with cheese from Scandinavia.

In the past decade, increasing attention has been paid to the health benefits of the K2, notably the long-chain menaquinones MK-6 through MK-9.  This research adds to important population-based studies2-4 that have shown that food-derived vitamin K (such as from cheeses) improves long-term cardiovascular health outcomes because it more specifically delivers the spectrum of long-chain menaquinones.

While fermented cheeses are the best dietary source of Vitamin K2 in the West, most cannot consume enough daily to obtain optimal amounts of K2,” says Dr. Katarzyna Maresz, president of the International Science and Health Foundation. “To that end, supplementation might be a viable alternative so our bodies are able to properly utilize calcium – fortifying our bones while protecting our hearts.”


Vermeer C et al. “Menaquinone Content of Cheese.” Nutrients. 2018 Apr 4;10(4). pii: E446. doi: 10.3390/nu10040446.

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