Supplements can be confusing, because the body needs balance to be healthy, and too much or too little of any nutrient can prevent a healthy balance. Eating whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible, is the first key to addressing dietary deficiencies and excesses. They are naturally balanced in nutrients by our Creator.
The processed standard American diet has left us sadly deficient in many nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K2. Ouch!
Even though we may be consuming foods fortified with calcium and vitamin D, or taking the recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D in supplemental form, studies indicate that heart disease and bone loss aren’t going away.
The short version: We take calcium in through diet and/or supplementation. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Vitamin K2 is a catalyst for moving calcium from the bloodstream into the bones. Without vitamin K2, the calcium never makes it!
Important: Vitamin K2 also breaks down excess calcium in the arteries, which can build up and cause atherosclerosis. Studies indicate that this buildup may result when blood calcium is not being moved into the bones, due to vitamin K2 deficiency.
Bottom line: Calcium and vitamin D supplements can be helpful for preventing bone loss when sufficient vitamin K2 is available to move calcium into the bones. If not, vitamin D allows more calcium to be absorbed into the bloodstream, where it it can contribute to hardening of the arteries. It’s a paradox! What you may be taking to build strong bones could possibly be contributing to heart disease, the number one killer!
Of course, we can’t leave out magnesium, which is essential for the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D (see www.nutritionalmagnesium.org), and vitamins A and E are also important for regulating calcium balance.
Don’t confuse vitamin K1 with vitamin K2. We’ve known about K1 for a long time and it’s importance for proper blood clotting, but information on K2 is just recently gaining ground.
Some top food sources of vitamin K2 include chicken and egg yolks from pastured chickens raised on a free-range diet; organic cheeses like gouda, brie, and cheddar; butter and beef from grass-fed cows; and sauerkraut.
Natto has the highest amount of all. It is made from fermented soybeans and contains a protein-digesting enzyme called nattokinase, which has been used in supplemental form for cardiovascular health. Studies have also confirmed that eating natto is associated with improved bone density, even more than other soy foods.
As a supplement, a natural source of vitamin K2 is Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) from natto, 120 micrograms or more a day. If you are allergic to soy, you may have to take the synthetic source, Menaquinone-4 (MK-4), 1,500 micrograms, three times a day, because it doesn’t remain active in the body for more than a few hours at a time. To enhance absorption, it’s best to buy vitamin K2 in a soft gelatin capsule or an oil-based liquid, since it is fat-soluble.
If you are taking blood thinners such as Warfarin, consult your doctor before adding foods or supplements with K2 to your diet, as these medications are meant to block the action of vitamin K. It has been reported that patients on oral anticoagulant therapy were able to take up to 50 micrograms of MK-7 per day without it interfering with the effects of the blood thinner.
Now you know!
Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.