The Bone-Strengthening Power of Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is well known for it’s important role in blood clotting, but there is also much scientific evidence that vitamin K plays a crucial role in both the reduction of bone fractures and in reducing abnormal calcifications in the body. This makes it an important nutrient for both bone and heart health.

Vitamin K not only helps preserve calcium in the bones, it aids the dissolution of calcium elsewhere, including in the arteries and kidneys. Studies found that those with a higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 had less heart disease and less calcification of the coronary artery. Also, it was shown that vitamin K1 supplementation slowed the progression of coronary artery calcification.

Remember, when there is an excess of calcium in the blood, there is usually a deficiency in the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Vitamin K1 was shown to increase bone mineral density in rats, and vitamin K2, was shown to improve the quality of bone and strengthen itagainst fracture. Calcium supplementation may increase bone density without improving its resistance to fracture, and at the same time increase calcifications throughout the body.

One study done on rats showed that vitamin K2 in the form of MK-4improved the strength of bones that had been weakened by a magnesium deficiency. (See The Role of Magnesium in Balancing Calcium).

According to Dr. Thomas Levy in his book, Death by Calcium, human studies indicate that supplementing with 45 mg daily of vitamin K2 (MK-4) will sustain bone mineral density and prevent fractures from osteoporosis. He further recommends taking a multi-K formula that includes K1, K2 (MK-4), and K2 (MK-7), as found in a product like Life Extension Super K with Advanced K2 Complex.

The good news is that there is no known toxicity or undesired side effects associated with vitamin K, even when given to newborns or pregnant women.

Even though vitamin K is a blood clotting agent, it does not cause abnormal clotting. You will still want to check with your doctor before taking vitamin K if you are taking a blood thinner like warfarin or have another medical condition.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

The price of my Eat to be Healthy program will go up on Monday. You get a complete healthy eating program for less than the cost of one health coaching session!

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.

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The Case for Taking Vitamin D Separate from Calcium

Vitamin D is essential to the optimal health of nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Studies have found vitamin D supplementation to be beneficial in strengthening bones, boosting the immune system, reducing the incidence of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammation (the root of chronic disease), and many other health conditions.

Here’s the paradox: Vitamin D is essential for calcium metabolism and, when taken simultaneously with a calcium supplement or calcium-fortified food, increases the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract. This might seem like a good thing, except that it may be adding to the already excessive calcium levels in the body. We want calcium in our bones, not calcifying our arteries and triggering inflammation that leads to more calcium loss from the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Studies have indicated that adequate vitamin D blood levels lower the risk of fracture and improve bone mineral density.

Other studies show bone loss and calcifications throughout the body when there is an excess of vitamin D, much like an excess of calcium.

Calcium taken alone showed no protection against fractures. Vitamin D taken apart from calcium showed the same degree of protection against fractures as when it was taken with calcium.

Bottom line: We need optimal levels of vitamin D for good health, without supplementing in a way that contributes to excess calcification in the body. Excess vitamin D levels can pull calcium out of bones. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for many months and slowly released, even after supplementation has been discontinued.

To know if you have optimal levels of vitamin D, have your blood levels checked every two or three months until you are in the optimal range. Then, continue to monitor your levels about every six months.

The current recommended target range for vitamin D levels is between 40 and 80 ng/cc. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a long-term maintenance range of between 50 and 60 ng/cc. The best tests measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form, not vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

Read the ingredients on food and beverage labels for the common additive of vitamin D2. Also, consider avoiding these products when calcium has also been added. This is commonly found in plant-based milk alternatives.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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.

Magnesium’s Role in Balancing Calcium

For a review of why I don’t take calcium and how an excess is linked to osteoporosis and other chronic degenerative diseases, read Why I don’t Take Calcium Supplements #1, #2, and #3.

When calcium blood levels are high, you’ll most likely have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium has been called nature’s calcium channel blocker, helping to keep calcium levels in check.

Studies have shown that excess calcium can contribute to calcium deposits (like kidney stones and atherosclerosis) and that magnesium helps dissolve calcium deposits.

Magnesium helps reduce inflammation by lowering excess calcium in cells that induces inflammation. This, in turn, helps keep calcium in the bones and reduces the risk of other chronic degenerative diseases.

Chronic inflammation due to calcium excess is frequently found in those with cancer. Studies have shown that those with a higher magnesium intake seem to have less risk of colon, lung, and rectal cancers. One study showed that post-menopausal women with breast cancer had a higher calcium to magnesium ratio than those without breast cancer.

It is difficult to take toxic levels of magnesium (check with your doctor if you have kidney problems). As long as an excess of calcium is present inside the cells, magnesium is needed to balance it.

Just like prescription calcium channel blockers, magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure temporarily. In those with already low blood pressure, this may be a problem. If this happens, stop taking supplemental magnesium until your blood pressure returns to normal, and then reduce the amount until it doesn’t have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

Just like vitamin C, if you experience diarrhea when taking magnesium, you can adjust the amount until you achieve bowel tolerance.

The word following magnesium (oxide, citrate, glycinate, malate, phosphate, carbonate, etc.) is called an anion. The anion helps you choose the best supplemental form. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends magnesium glycinate in his osteoporosis treatment protocol. He says it is well absorbed, is less likely to cause diarrhea, and is made from the amino acid glycine, which has other nutritional uses in the body.

My least favorite forms are carbonate and oxide, and I take Magnesium Complex, which is a combination of malate and citrate.

A good starting point is to get your blood levels checked for calcium. If you have excess blood levels, consider taking a magnesium supplement. If you do take calcium supplements (I don’t), be sure to take additional magnesium. Calcium helps muscles contract, and magnesium helps them to relax.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

The Addiction Summit is online and free this week!

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.

Why I don’t Take Calcium–#2

In Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1″, we learned that, according to research, taking calcium supplements and/or increasing dietary intake of calcium does not reduce the risk of bone fracture. Also, that an excess build up of calcium in the body can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, and other degenerative diseases.

There’s no doubt that bones need calcium to build new bones, but Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, states that “Calcium migration from the bone is not the cause of osteoporosis, but rather a symptom of it.” So, then, what is the root cause?

It might surprise you to find out (it did me) that a vitamin C deficiency in the bone can lead to a severe loss of bone-building cells and an increase in bone-dissolving cells. Vitamin C acts as an anti-oxidant to protect bones from cellular damage, which contributes to osteoporosis. Studies have confirmed that oxidative stress plays a role in the cause of osteoporosis.

Collagen is necessary in both the formation and strengthening of new bone. Vitamin C is essential to making collagen.

Clinical observations show that a vitamin C deficiency decreases calcium deposition into bones and increases calcium excretion from bones. The excreted calcium can accumulate in other tissues, like arterial walls.

There is a loss of estrogen during menopause, which results in a loss of calcium from bones. Vitamin C has been shown to strengthen bones in both post-menopausal women and lab rats who had their ovaries removed to induce menopause.

The Framingham Osteoporosis Study found that those with the highest vitamin C intake had significantly fewer hip fractures compared to those with the lowest intake.

Research continues to find that the combination of excess calcium and vitamin C deficiency is found at the tissue sites of chronic degenerativediseases. Excess calcium deposits contribute to oxidative stress, and vitamin C is an anti-oxidant to help prevent damage caused by this stress. When oxidative stress is kept in check, calcium can stay in the bones.

In the case of atherosclerosis, the body uses calcium from the blood to produce plaque in the arteries to support weak vessels (due to chronic oxidative stress). The body then pulls calcium from bones into the bloodstream so it will be available for more arterial repair. Sufficient vitamin C levels would help reduce this stress on the arteries, diminishing the need for more calcium to support the arteries.

Besides the coronary arteries, excess blood calcium can be deposited into cells throughout the body (brain, breasts, prostate, etc.). Excess blood calcium can come from dietary calcium, calcium supplements, and/or calcium pulled out of bones. When there are optimal levels of vitamin C present, dietary calcium is deposited into the bones, and any excess is excreted via the kidneys.

Eliminating a vitamin C deficiency is one important step toward improving bone health, as well as reducing the risk of other chronic diseases.

In the next newsletter, I’ll explore various types and benefits of vitamin C supplements and their therapeutic uses.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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.