A study recently published by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) has revealed that increased intake of vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 35 percent. The authors point out that the benefits of K2 were most pronounced for advanced prostate cancer, and, importantly, that vitamin K1 did not offer any prostate benefits.
The findings were based on data from more than 11,000 men taking part in the EPIC Heidelberg cohort. It adds to a small but fast-growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of Vitamin K2 for bone, cardiovascular, skin, brain, and now prostate health.
Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the health benefits of vitamin K2. The K vitamins have been underrated and misunderstood up until very recently in both the scientific community and the general public.
It has been commonly believed that the benefits of vitamin K are limited to its role in blood clotting. Another popular misconception is that vitamins K1 and K2 are simply different forms of the same vitamin – with the same physiological functions.
New evidence, however, has confirmed that vitamin K2’s role in the body extends far beyond blood clotting to include protecting us from heart disease, ensuring healthy skin, forming strong bones, promoting brain function, supporting growth and development and helping to prevent cancer – to name a few. In fact, vitamin K2 has so many functions not associated with vitamin K1 that many researchers insist that K1 and K2 are best seen as two different vitamins entirely.
A large epidemiological study from the Netherlands illustrates this point well. The researchers collected data on the vitamin K intakes of the subjects between 1990 and 1993 and measured the extent of heart disease in each subject, who had died from it and how this related to vitamin K2 intake and arterial calcification. They found that calcification of the arteries was the best predictor of heart disease. Those in the highest third of vitamin K2 intakes were 52 percent less likely to develop severe calcification of the arteries, 41 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and 57 percent less likely to die from it. (Geleijnse et al., 2004, pp. 3100-3105) However, intake of vitamin K1 had no effect on cardiovascular disease outcomes.
While K1 is preferentially used by the liver to activate blood clotting proteins, K2 is preferentially used by other tissues to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues.(Spronk et al., 2003, pp. 531-537) In an acknowledgment of the different roles played by vitamins K1 and K2, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally determined the vitamin K2 contents of foods in the U.S. diet for the first time in 2006. (Elder, Haytowitz, Howe, Peterson, & Booth, 2006, pp. 436-467)
Another common misconception is that human beings do not need vitamin K2 in their diet, since they have the capacity to convert vitamin K1 to vitamin K2. The amount of vitamin K1 in typical diets is ten times greater than that of vitamin K2, and researchers and physicians have largely dismissed the contribution of K2 to nutritional status as insignificant.
However, although animals can convert vitamin K1 to vitamin K2, a significant amount of evidence suggests that humans require preformed K2 in the diet to obtain and maintain optimal health. The strongest indication that humans require preformed vitamin K2 in the diet is that epidemiological and intervention studies both show its superiority over K1. Intake of K2 is inversely associated with heart disease in humans while intake of K1 is not (Geleijnse et al., 2004, pp. 3100-3105), and vitamin K2 is at least three times more effective than vitamin K1 at activating proteins related to skeletal metabolism. (Schurgers et al., 2007) And remember that in the study on vitamin K2’s role in treating prostate cancer, which I mentioned at the beginning of this article, vitamin K1 had no effect.
All of this evidence points to the possibility that Vitamin K2 may be an essential nutrient in the human diet. So where does one find vitamin K2 in foods? The following is a list of the foods highest in vitamin K2, as measured by the USDA:
Foods high in vitamin K2
- Hard cheese
- Soft cheese
- Egg yolk
- Chicken liver
- Chicken breast
- Ground beef
Unfortunately, precise values for some foods that are likely to be high in K2 (such as organ meats) are not available at this time. The pancreas and salivary glands would be richest; reproductive organs, brains, cartilage and possibly kidneys would also be very rich; finally, bone would be richer than muscle meat. Fish eggs are also likely to be rich in K2.
It was once erroneously believed that intestinal bacteria are a major contributor to vitamin K status. However, the majority of evidence contradicts this view. Most of the vitamin K2 produced in the intestine are embedded within bacterial membranes and not available for absorption. Thus, intestinal production of K2 likely makes only a small contribution to vitamin K status. (Unden & Bongaerts, 1997, pp. 217-234)
On the other hand, fermented foods, however, such as sauerkraut, cheese and natto (a soy dish popular in Japan), contain substantial amounts of vitamin K2. Natto contains the highest concentration of K2 of any food measured; nearly all of it is present as MK-7, which research has shown to be a highly effective form. A recent study demonstrated that MK-7 increased the percentage of osteocalcin in humans three times more powerfully than did vitamin K1. (Schurgers & Vermeer, 2000, pp. 298-307)
It is important to note that commercial butter is not a significantly high source of vitamin K2. Dr. Weston A. Price, who was the first to elucidate the role of vitamin K2 in human health (though he called it “Activator X” at the time) analyzed over 20,000 samples of butter sent to him from various parts of the world. As mentioned previously in this paper, he found that the Activator X concentration varied 50-fold. Animals grazing on vitamin K-rich cereal grasses, especially wheat grass, and alfalfa in a lush green state of growth produced fat with the highest amounts of Activator X, but the soil in which the pasture was grown also influenced the quality of the butter. It was only the vitamin-rich butter grown in three feet or more of healthy top soil that had such dramatic curing properties when combined with cod liver oil in Dr. Price’s experiments and clinical practice.
Therefore, vitamin K2 levels will not be high in butter from grain-fed cows raised in confinement feedlots. Since the overwhelming majority of butter sold in the U.S. comes from such feedlots, butter is not a significant source of K2 in the diet for most people. This is yet another argument for obtaining raw butter from cows raised on green pasture.
New research which expands our understanding of the many important roles of vitamin K2 is being published at a rapid pace. Yet it is already clear that vitamin K2 is an important nutrient for human health – and one of the most poorly understood by medical authorities and the general public.
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Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
- Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
- Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
- Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have requirements. Most auto policies are for six months to a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it’s time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.
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It’s no secret that auto insurance premiums are going up around the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that car insurance rates rose more than 5% from March 2015 to March 2016 at a time when was inflation was negligible at less than 1%.
But the picture is darker than that for your wallet. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), a deeper and longer dive into the last two years of data found that premiums actually rose an average of 10% during that longer period.
The simple answer to why rates are going up so much has to do with Americans driving more in part due to lower gas prices. But there are actually more moving pieces to the explanation…
Read more: Bandit towing scams: The danger waiting on the side of the road!
3 reasons why you’re paying so much
The I.I.I. list the following as deeper factors behind the insurance hike:
- The improving job market not only means more Americans driving, it also means more accidents. In fact, the National Safety Council noted the largest year-over-year percent increase of accidents in 50 years when crash fatalities rose 8% from 2014 to 2015.
- Increased speed limits are a big culprit in the rise of insurance costs. Twelve states have raised their speed limits to 70 or 80 miles per hour over the past four years. Texas even has limits as high as 85 mph! Ohio, meanwhile, noted the instance of crashes skyrocketed by nearly 20% in the two years after they upped their speed limit.
- The average price an American pays for a new vehicle hovers somewhere in the low $30,000 range. More expensive rides require more coverage, and when there are accidents, medical costs, litigation costs and the cost of auto repair work continue to rise faster than prices overall.
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Almost everyone is familiar with insurance fraud. We’ve all heard the stories of people who received millions after a car accident or the heartless insurance firm refusing to pay out to a widow on a technicality. Insurance fraud is one of the oldest types of fraud ever recorded, dating back to 300 B.C., when a Greek merchant sunk his own ship, in an attempt to cash in on the insurance, and drowned in the attempt. (For related reading, see The Pioneers Of Financial Fraud.)
TUTORIAL: Introduction To Insurance
Whether you are a policyholder or a shareholder in an insurance company, insurance fraud affects you. The field of insurance is wide and fraud exists in every area. Therefore, in this article we are going to focus in on one of the most important types of insurance – life insurance. We will look at the major types of life insurance fraud and how they affect your bottom line.
It Takes Two to Tango
Insurance fraud comes in two main categories: seller fraud and buyer fraud. Seller fraud occurs when the seller of a policy hijacks the usual process, in a way that maximizes his or her profit. Buyer fraud occurs when the buyer bends the process to obtain more coverage, or claim more cash, than he or she is rightly entitled to. (For related reading on insurance, see The History Of Insurance In America.)
Types of Seller Fraud
There are many variations of seller fraud, but they all center around four basic types. These are:
Ghost Companies: In the ghost company scenario, policies are issued and premiums accepted from policyholders, but the company underwriting the policy isn’t legitimate and often doesn’t exist. These outright frauds are a type of boiler room operation, where a team of high-pressure scam artists dial likely victims to sell them false policies. Unfortunately, the fraud isn’t usually discovered until someone tries to file a claim on the policy their family member thought was in effect, in the event of his or her death.
Premium Theft: The premium theft scenario is when the insurance rep accepts premiums, but doesn’t submit them to the company underwriting the policy, thus invalidating the policy. In this case, the agent essentially pockets the money. Premium theft has become less of an issue as more companies have moved towards direct deposit models, but it is still possible in some cases.
Churning: Churning refers to a situation where the insurance rep advises the customer to cancel, renew and open new policies in a way that is beneficial to him or her, instead of beneficial to the client. This type of insurance fraud often targets seniors and is driven by the agent’s desire for larger commissions. Churning keeps a portfolio constantly in flux, with the primary purpose of lining the advisor’s pockets. (For more, see Paying Your Investment Advisor- Fees Or Commissions?)
Over or Under Coverage: Similar to churning, under or over coverage occurs when an insurance rep convinces customers to buy coverage they don’t need, or sells a lesser policy and represents it as a complete policy. In either case, the rep is trying to maximize commissions and ensure the sale, rather than focusing on meeting the client’s needs.
Types of Buyer Fraud
Buyer fraud also comes in a number of different flavors, but they all center around a theme of dishonesty. Basic types of buyer fraud include:
Post-Dated Life Insurance: Post-dated life insurance refers to a policy that has been arranged after the death of the person being insured, but appears to have been issued before death. This type of fraud is usually carried out with the help of an insurance agent. It is also one of the easier types of fraud for insurance companies to detect, because record keeping has become more stringent.
False Medical History: Falsifying medical history is one of the most common types of insurance fraud. By omitting details such as a smoking habit or a pre-existing condition, the buyer hopes to get the insurance policy for cheaper than he or she would have otherwise been able.
Murder for Proceeds: There are two versions of the murder for proceeds fraud. In the first, the insured doesn’t know they are insured and are understandably surprised to be murdered. In the second, the policy is legitimate and was taken out in better times, however, financial hardships lead the perpetrator to decide that killing his or her spouse/family member/business partner, for the money, is the best way out of the problem. (For related reading, see Mortgage Fraud: Understanding And Avoiding It.)
Lack of Insurable Interest: As with murder for proceeds, insuring people you shouldn’t be insuring, in hopes that they will die, constitutes fraud. Insurance is founded on the idea of protecting people from financial loss, so using it to gamble on lives for a financial gain is a perversion of the system. This includes viatical settlements, which combine non-insurable interest with falsified policies taken out on the terminally ill.
Suicidal Accidents: Just as financial hardship can lead otherwise rational people towards murder, the same factors can lead people to commit suicide in a way so it looks accidental. This constitutes fraud in that it is an intentional act for the purpose of collecting the insurance proceeds, and would not have occurred if those proceeds did not exist. This can be a very difficult one to detect, as the medical examiner has final say in accidental death. Even if it is clearly a suicide, the claim centers on the state of mind, rational or not, at the time of suicide.
Faking Death or Disability: Many life insurance policies have riders for disability, creating the temptation to fake one to get the payout. However, some people take it a step further and fake their own deaths. In both cases, the fraudster has to deal with the possibility of being discovered through an investigation.
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