Thursday, December 01, 2016

D3 Supplements and the K2 Connection? Food for Thought

Prelude - I do supplement with vitamin D3 on advice from my health care practitioner. I question taking supplements without at least doing some homework and found this research. Important at best or interesting at least. The synergies of nutrition.

Vitamin D has been promoted of late by research into the benefits of supplementing with the "sunshine" vitamin for good health, especially for us folks in the northern climates. In fact our government has officially increased the daily requirements for D3.

Continuing research on vitamin D and its impact on health has recently raised questions on the need to ensure individuals who supplement also make sure they are not deficient in vitamin K2. Vitamin K has been treated as a poor cousin in the vitamin world assuming most folks get enough through leafy greens and other food sources. The issue is vitamin K is not as clear cut as science once thought it to be. The key K vitamin required to assist in more than blood clotting is rather K2.

What is K2?

"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."

"There are two main forms of Vitamin K… K1 (phylloquinone) is found in plant foods like leafy greens, whereas Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is found in animal foods and fermented foods."

That is an issue as most folks in the West probably are deficient in K2 as the dietary sources are limited to grass fed pastured meats and dairy and fermented foods including certain cheeses not necessarily popular in North America.

""The most recent clinical trials used around those amounts of K2," Rheaume-Bleue says. "The average person is getting a lot less than that. That's for sure. In the North American diet, you can see as little as maybe 10 percent of that or less. Certainly, not near enough to be able to optimize bone density and improve heart health."

So? So what? What`s it got to do with vitamin D?

Research seems to indicate vitamin D and K2 work as a team to shuttle calcium within the body to the places it is required(the bones) and not to places it is not(the arteries).

"When you take vitamin D, your body creates more of these vitamin K2-dependent proteins, the proteins that will move the calcium around. They have a lot of potential health benefits. But until the K2 comes in to activate those proteins, those benefits aren't realized. So, really, if you're taking vitamin D, you're creating an increased demand for K2. And vitamin D and K2 work together to strengthen your bones and improve your heart health. "

"Vitamin K2 is an important adjunct to vitamin D, without which vitamin D cannot work properly. K2’s biological action is also impaired by a lack of vitamin D, so you really need to consider these two nutrients together."

Not to muddy the water further but K2 itself can be broken down into additional key compounds. It seems the most important to health are the MK`s

"There are several different forms of vitamin K2. MK-8 and MK-9 come primarily from fermented dairy products, like cheese. MK-4 and MK-7 are the two most significant forms of K2 and act very differently in your body. MK-7, which is the form used in the featured study, is a newer agent with more practical applications because it stays in your body longer; its half-life is three days, meaning you have a much better chance of building up a consistent blood level, compared to MK-4 or vitamin K1. "

The Takeaway

As a result if you opt to supplement vitamin D and use K2 supplements look for those with MK 7.

"The next best thing to dietary vitamin K2 is a vitamin K2 supplement. MK-7 is the form you'll want to look for in supplements..."

Gaining K2 through diet is the preferred method as you also gain additional benefits, including a full spectrum of all the MK`s as well as other potential food based nutrients and synergies. 

If you don`t like fermented vegetable foods nor source or afford grass fed meats and dairy you can at least enjoy(guilt free) Edam, Gouda or Brie cheese. They might be a little more expensive than traditional North American favorites but a little goes a long way.....its gouda for you! My personal plan will be to pop a D3 along with a couple wedges of cheese. Best daily wellness regimen ever!

Cheesy Goodness!

"Gouda cheese is extremely high in Vitamin K2 even if the milk it’s made from was not grassfed. This is due to the bacterial cultures used to ferment milk into Gouda cheese.   Bacteria produce a special type of Vitamin K2 (MK-7) which according to current research is as effective as the animal form of Vitamin K2 (MK-4) at preserving human health when combined in the diet with the other fat soluble activators A and D."

"Remember: If You Take Oral Vitamin D, You Need Vitamin K2"

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