The key difference between phylloquinone and menaquinone is that absorption of phylloquinone by our body is low, whereas menaquinone is highly absorbed by our body.
Vitamin K is an important vitamin to the body and has a major role in blood clotting. This vitamin belongs to the fat-soluble vitamin group that shares similar structures with each other. It was accidentally found in the 1920s. There are several types of vitamin K, but the most common ones are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone, while vitamin K2 is known as menaquinones.
What is Phylloquinone?
Phylloquinone is an important vitamin that is abundant in plant food, such as leafy green vegetables. It is commonly known as vitamin K1. Of all the vitamins consumed by humans, vitamin K1 makes up about 75-90%. The major sources of vitamin K1 include kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
The main function of vitamin K in the body is the activation of proteins that serve important roles in blood clotting, heart health, and bone health. Generally, vitamin K1 can be found in plants, so it is poorly absorbed by the body. The absorption can be less than 10%.
What is Menaquinone?
Menaquinone is an important vitamin that is abundant in fermented food and animal products. It is commonly known as vitamin K2. It is also produced by gut bacteria. Different menaquinones are named using the length of the side chain they have. The side chain lengths range from MK-4 to MK-13. When considering the sources of vitamin K2, it varies by the food source. Some examples are given below:
- MK-4 can be found in animal products such as chicken, egg yolk, and butter
- MK-5 can be found in foods produced using bacteria (fermented foods)
Vitamin K2 is comparatively more absorbed than vitamin K1 because it comes from animal-derived sources. Moreover, the long side chain of vitamin K2 allows it to circulate in the blood for a longer time than vitamin K1. E.g. vitamin K1 survives in blood for several hours while vitamin K2 exists for several days. This longer circulation time allows it to be used better in tissues.
What is the Difference Between Phylloquinone and Menaquinone?
The key difference between phylloquinone and menaquinone is that absorption of phylloquinone by the body is low, whereas menaquinone is highly absorbed by the body. The difference in these absorption rates depends on the source of the vitamin. For example, phylloquinone occurs mainly in leafy green plants. For the body, it is difficult to completely degrade plant materials. Therefore, the absorption of phylloquinone by the body is low. Comparatively, the source of vitamin K2 or menaquinone is fermented food and animal-derived food items, which are more easily degraded by our body. This makes it easy to absorb menaquinone.
Below is a summary of the difference between phylloquinone and menaquinone in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Phylloquinone vs Menaquinone
Vitamin K is described as an important vitamin to our body and has a major role in blood clotting. There are different types of vitamin K such as vitamin K1, K2, and K3. These substances are different from each other according to the sources, absorption, etc. The key difference between phylloquinone and menaquinone is that absorption of phylloquinone by our body is low, whereas menaquinone is highly absorbed by our body.
1. Griffin, R. Morgan. “Vitamin K: Uses, Deficiency, Dosage, Food Sources, and More.” WebMD.