What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium
What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium
It seems incredible that the discovery of vitamins is barely a century old, and that scientists continue to discover new forms and functions of vitamins in the body. Vitamin K, for example, has been in the headlines recently due to new discoveries on the functions of vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 has been classified as a form of vitamin K, although the functions of vitamin K2 are vastly different from vitamin K. Vitamin K is vital for the blood clotting process of the body, but vitamin K2 has more to do with calcium and the functions of calcium than it has to do with blood clotting.
To understand your need for vitamin K2, you need to understand how calcium functions in your body.
Why Calcium Is Vital for Health
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it makes up about 2% of your total body weight. Calcium is classified as an essential nutrient because it cannot be produced by your body, and you therefore need to include calcium in your daily diet to ensure your body has sufficient calcium.
The recommended daily allowance of calcium depends on age, gender, and your particular circumstances, but, according to the National Institute of Health, you should consume at least 700 – 1300 mg of calcium daily, depending on your age.
Calcium is essential for health, and the main functions of calcium include:
|Providing the body with the
building blocks to build new
strong healthy bones.
|Providing the body with the nutrients
needed to repair damaged bone
or joint tissue.
|Regulating the pH of the body by
adjusting the amount of calcium in
the blood stream.
|Supporting healthy nerve
|Supporting the electrolyte balance
of the body to ensure a healthy
environment for the electrical function of cells.
|The transportation of ions across
cell membranes for healthy cell signaling.
|Providing the necessary calcium to support blood clotting.||
Supporting and, in some cases,
Calcium affects every system and organ in your body, which is why it is vital to ensure you get enough calcium. When you take calcium, you also need to consider how much vitamin K2 and vitamin D you are consuming, because many of the functions mentioned above also rely on the presence and availability of vitamin K2 and vitamin D.
Why Vitamin K Is Vital for Health
Most of the information on Vitamin K is generally about vitamin K1, but vitamin K1 is not the only form of vitamin K. There are, in fact, three types of vitamin K that have been identified by researchers. These types include vitamins K1, K2, and K3.
Vitamin K1 is the vitamin you hear about most often. This compound is called phylloquinone and it is found abundantly in leafy greens. Vitamin K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin that works in conjunction with calcium to ensure the healthy blood clotting process in your body.
Vitamin K2 is a fairly recent discovery and, consequently, not many people know about the functions and benefits of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is primarily produced by the gastrointestinal flora that are present in a healthy digestive system. The K2 produced by the GI system is mostly bound up in the GI system, and you also need to ensure your diet contains other sources of vitamin K2 to support the body’s need for this vitamin. When the body has vitamin K2, it is transported to the arterial walls, bones, and tissues of the body, where it supports the functions and transportation of calcium.
Vitamin K3, menadione, is a synthetic form of vitamin K.
The really important form of vitamin K for supporting calcium is vitamin K2, but, to complicate matters, there are also different forms of vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 includes menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7, or MK4 and MK7. MK4 and MK7 differ in the length of the fatty acid chains that make up the molecule. MK4 consists of short chains, and MK4 is commonly found in egg yolks, some animal-based foods, and in butter.
MK7 consists of longer chains. MK7 is found abundantly in fermented foods and in your digestive tract, assuming you have the bacteria that can produce this form of vitamin K. MK7 occurs as a result of the fermentation process, and it is this form of vitamin K2 which is most beneficial for supporting your body’s needs for vitamin K2. Sauerkraut, fermented vegetable dishes, and certain types of cheeses like brie and Gouda are good sources of this type of vitamin K2.
How Your Body Uses Calcium
It is important to realize that the calcium you have in your body is not static, but moves in and out of cells and in and out of tissues, depending on the different needs of your body.
Your body moves calcium from the bones into the blood stream to neutralize pH, for example. An acidic diet can lead to an acidic systemic pH and, in order to maintain healthy pH levels, your body will shift some of the stored calcium in your bones into the body to neutralize the acid.
Cellular function also relies on the transportation of calcium ions into and out of your cells. Cellular function relies on the transport of electrical charges in and out of cells. The nervous system relies on the transmission of electrical charges around the nervous system, which relies on the availability of calcium. Heart cells, brain cells, and muscle cells are dependent on calcium for their ability to function efficiently. These cells need calcium ions to create the “voltage” that is essential for healthy cellular function, and this is where vitamin K2 becomes important.
Vitamin K2 and Calcium
Vitamin K2 is vital for supporting the transport of calcium ions throughout the body. When your levels of vitamin K2 are too low, calcium cannot be transported to where it is needed, and this can affect the heart, muscles, and other tissues that rely on the voltage potential produced by calcium.
When the body cannot transport calcium efficiently, it results in calcium being deposited where it should not be. Calcium is deposited in the arteries and artery walls, in the tissues of organs like the heart, and in other areas where it can then cause further complications.
A deficiency in vitamin K2 can increase your risks of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney stones, heel spurs, brain diseases, and strokes. Vitamin K2 is not only essential for the transportation of calcium, but also plays a very important role in activating the proteins that are responsible for regulating healthy cell growth. A lack of vitamin K2 can influence your risks of developing diseases like cancer, where cell growth and replication have gone awry.
In fact, in one study on calcium and vitamin K2, researchers found that an increased intake of vitamin K2 could reduce the risks of developing prostate cancer by as much as 35%. In a study on heart disease, individuals taking high levels of vitamin K2 were 52% less likely to suffer from calcification of the arteries, and this decreased their risks of having a heart attack.
Vitamin K2 is also not only essential for the proper use of calcium, but it affects how vitamin D functions in your body, too.
Vitamin D and Vitamin K2
Vitamin D has received a lot of attention lately, as more functions of vitamin D are discovered, and as the scientific community begins to realize how important this vitamin is for health. However, like calcium, vitamin D does not function in isolation, but works synergistically with vitamin K2.
Vitamin D is also a fat-soluble vitamin, but, unlike most other vitamins, there are very few dietary sources of vitamin D. Your body is responsible for producing vitamin D, but the body can only produce vitamin D when special skin cells are exposed to direct sunlight. As we spend less time in the sun due to the pressures of modern life and the threat of skin cancer, our vitamin D levels are falling, which is why more and more individuals are suffering from a lack of vitamin D.
A vitamin D supplement can remedy the situation, but, like calcium, vitamin D also requires the availability of vitamin K2 in the body. Some scientists claim that vitamin D supplementation without K2 can cause its own set of problems in the body, because vitamin D supplementation can place additional vitamin K2 requirements on the body, and this can upset the calcium-to-vitamin-K2 balance.
Vitamin D plays the following vital functions in your body:
- Vitamin D is vital for allowing the body to absorb calcium.
- Vitamin D supports serum calcium levels in your body. In other words, vitamin D is important for ensuring sufficient calcium in the blood and tissues.
- Vitamin D is crucial for bone growth and remodeling, and inadequate vitamin D results in brittle bones.
- Vitamin D plays an important role in supporting the immune function, which protects the body from harm.
- Vitamin D is important for regulating the genes that control cell growth, replication, and apoptosis or programmed cell death. Vitamin D plays a role in preventing or reducing your risk of developing cancer.
- Cells that have vitamin D receptors are reliant on vitamin D for healthy cellular function. Vitamin K2 supports vitamin D and calcium in the body, and it is vital to ensure you get sufficient vitamin K2 to support these vitamins; but do you need to consider vitamin K2 supplementation, and how much vitamin K2 do you really need?
Vitamin D and Vitamin K2
Since vitamin K2 is essential for the efficient function of calcium and vitamin D, the amount you need depends on your particular levels of these minerals and vitamins. If you are taking a calcium supplement, or if you are taking a vitamin D supplement, then you most likely need to increase your intake of vitamin K2.
You should consult your physician about any supplements you are taking, but here are some symptoms or conditions that indicate you may need to increase your vitamin K2:
Osteoporosis – If you suffer from osteoporosis, then you may need to increase your levels of vitamin K2.
Diabetes – If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, then you should investigate whether you need to increase your intake of vitamin K2.
Heart disease – If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, or increased risks for this condition, then you may need to increase your consumption of vitamin K2.
If you regularly eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, natto, or fermented vegetables dishes, then you most likely get sufficient vitamin K2 from your diet. Cheeses like brie and Gouda also contain fairly high amounts of vitamin K2.
Vitamins Seldom Function in Isolation
The most important aspect to consider is the fact that there are few, if any, vitamins that function in isolation. Magnesium relies on calcium, and calcium relies on magnesium for supporting its function. You need vitamin D to absorb calcium. You need vitamin K2 to facilitate the functions of vitamin D and calcium.
You also often require these vitamins and minerals in specific ratios in order to use them effectively.
When good manufacturers and chemists formulate supplements, they normally consider synergistic compounds to ensure that their supplement provides you with the correct ratios of the different minerals and vitamins needed for health.
The Osteo-Mins PM with D+K1 & K2 by Progressive Labs is formulated to contain vitamin K2, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium to supply you with the minerals that are vital for supporting skeletal health.