|Natto picture from Sakura Hostel|
- Calcium citrate
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin B-12
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue makes sense of the K2 and calcium paradox too. Here are some excerpts that I highlighted:In April 2011 the British Medical Journal reported a study that concluded:
- “[w]omen who supplement with calcium to prevent osteoporosis are at a higher risk of atherosclerosis (formation of calcium in the arteries), heart attack and stroke than those who don’t.”
- According to that research, if 1,000 women take calcium supplements for five years, at the end of that period there will be three fewer bone fractures in that group compared to the group of women who didn’t take calcium supplements. Take that number and times it my the millions of women taking calcium supplements and it adds up to a meaningful benefit.
- That same group of calcium takers over those five years suffered of six more cardiovascular disease events (heart attack or stroke) than in the nonsupplement group (the occurrence of heart attacks is not found to be dosed-dependent-there is not a great number of heart attacks in women taking a higher dose). Again, times these findings by the millions of women taking calcium supplements and the effects are outstanding.
- “The ill effect on heart health is not seen with dietary calcium from food.”
- “The study authors make the staggering declaration that women should abandon calcium supplements”
“‘How can the body guide calcium safety into the bones where it helps us, and keep is away from soft tissues like arteries where it harms us?’ The answer is a long misunderstood fat-soluble vitamin called K2.”
The Function of K2:
- “K2 funnels calcium into bones to strengthen mineral density and fight fractures while it prevents and even removes dangerous arterial calcification.”
- It also has other beneficial impacts on our health regarding diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, tooth decay and growing healthy children (here’s my answer as too if K2 is important in my girls’ vegan diets).
- “The loss of bone mineral density (osteopenia is the precursor to osteoporosis) and thinning of bone tissue that causes bones to become more porous and prone to fracture.”
- It can alter your posture as well as your height – as much as six inches.
- “Osteoporosis is ultimately a product of how much peak bone mass you can accumulate by age 20 and how much of it you can keep after menopause.“
- Menopause: declining estrogen levels negatively impact bone density in three different ways; however, “K2 counteracts each of those pathological mechanisms. K2 even affects estrogen metabolism itself.”
Conditions associated with K2 deficiency:
- increased risk of cancer (breast, prostate, liver)
- varicose veins
- dental cavities
- Crohn’s disease
- kidney disease
- narrow, crowded dental arch
K1 and K2 have completely different sources and completely different functions within the body.
K1’s function in the body: “The role os K1, also known as phylloquinone, is to activate special proteins, called clotting factors, which allow the blood to form clots.” Phylloquinone is present in all photosynthetic plants: all green plants that derive energy from the sun. Chlorophyll, the pigment that imparts the green color to plants, contains essential phylloquinone.
Signs of deficiency: bruising and bleeding.
K1 Sources(in order from the highest to the lower levels):
- turnip greens
- beet greens
- brussels sprouts
- green leaf lettuce
- most fruit, vegetables, and nuts contain some phylloquinone (K1)
K2 (menaquinone) has very little to do with blood clotting. Its job is to move calcium around the body.
Our menaquinone intake comes from two sources: diet and bacterial synthesis. However, a very small amount of K2 is made in the intestinal tract from dietary K1 by the healthy bacteria that are normally present there. However, this amount of menaquinone is not nearly enough to prevent a K2 deficiency is there are no dietary sources. Also, there is likely to be no bacterial synthesis within persons who have a history of antibiotic use or disruptions in natural gut flora.
Unlike humans, cows and goats (and other animals that are primarily herbivores) the conversion from K1 to K2 seems to happen readily.
Also, unlike K1, K2 is not recycled within the body. Humans can develop a deficiency in as little as seven days without K2 in their diet.
Signs of deficiency: dental cavities, crooked teeth requiring braces, cavities, waning bone density, and a (possibly fatal) heart attack.
K2 sources (vegan sources are in bold):
- Natto (fermented soybeans): has the highest amount of K2 (3.5 oz: 1,103.4 micrograms)
- goose liver (3.5 oz: 369.0 micrograms)
- hard cheeses – Dutch Gouda (3.5 oz: 76.3 micrograms)
- soft cheeses – French Brie (3.5 oz: 56.5 micrograms)
- animal fat such as egg yolk – Netherlands (3.5 oz: 32.1 micrograms)
- egg yolk – US (3.5 oz: 15.5 micrograms)
- butter and lard of grass-fed animals (3.5 oz: 15.0 micrograms)
- chicken liver (3.5 oz: 12.6 micrograms)
- sauerkraut: (3.5 oz: 4.8 micrograms)
- whole milk (3.5 oz: 1.0 micrograms)
- skim milk (3.5 oz: 0.0 micrograms)
Web MD’s recommend dosage as of 27 October 2008: “Numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown that vitamin K2 – given either as the synthetic form MK-4 (a short-chain version called menatetrenone) at a dosage of 45 mg/day, or as the natural form, MK-7 (a long-chain menaquinone derived from natto) at a dosage of 45 mcg/day – is a highly effective activator of osteocalcin, the Gla-containing protein integral to calcium deposition in bone. This body of research conclusively demonstrates that vitamin K2 not only lessens fracture incidence and improves bone density but also, via the carboxylation of another Gla protein (matrix Gla protein), inhibits arterial calcification.”
However, as Dr. Rheaume-Bleue asserts the following in regards to K2:
- Researchers see a reduction in arterial calcication and cardiovascular mortality with as little as 45 micrograms of vitamin K2 daily.
- Frequent natto eaters may be getting more than 300 micrograms of menaquinone every day.
- An optimal dose of K2 will depend on your intake of vitamins A and D.
- The target dose depends on the type of menaquinone you consider.
- Although MK-4 is the natural form of K2 found in animal foods, this is NOT the source of K2 supplement.
- MK-4 in supplement form is synthetic – typically made from an extract of the plant Nicotiana tabacum, or common tobacco.
- MK-4 has a relatively short half-life (the time required for a substance to decrease its concentration in the body by half – it is a measure of how long a given substance stays in the body). MK-4 stays in circulation for only a few hours, so to maintain useful levels of synthetic MK-4, it must be taken throughout the day.
- MK-7 has a longer half-life in the body, so a single daily dose provides continual K2 protection.
- MK-7 is extracted from a natural source: Natto. Make sure your MK-7 supplement is extracted from non-GMO soy.
- MK-7 supplements provide higher and more stable menaquinone blood levels than MK-4 products.
- Studies show that menopausal and postmenopausal women have a higher need for K2, so taking 240 or more micrograms of MK-4 is a good idea for women who are facing the big change.
- Since menaquinone is a fat-soluble nutrient, look for a product that comes in a soft gelatin capsule or an oil-based, liquid suspension, instead of a hard capsule or tablet.
- Taking your K2 supplement with food will boost absorption.
- The first nutrient researchers focused on to assess the validity of the triage theory of aging was vitamin K.
- 50% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.
- Cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, high cholesterol is merely one risk factor that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
- A lack of vitamin K2 is the single biggest dietary factor for cardiovascular disease risk.
- (Rotterdam Study): Men with the highest intake of K2 had a 52% lower risk of coronary artery disease, a 51% lower risk of dying of coronary artery disease, and a 26% reduced risk of total mortality.
- Researchers determined that adequate K2 intake reduces both coronary artery calcification and the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Laboratory research also shows that vitamin K2 is the strongest inhibitor of tissue calcification that we know of, and if you aren’t getting enough, your heart health will suffer.
- Adding menaquinone to the diet will activate MGP to reduce arterial calcium content by 50 percent over just a six-week period.
- Osteoporosis afflicts more than half of North Americans aged 50 and older.
- Taking K2 and D together improves bone density and reduces fracture risk more than either nutrient alone – the widely publicized benefits of vitamin D on our bones are really dependent on vitamin K2.
I will be sharing many more little nuggets as I add more from my notes to this post…
- “Vitamin K status of study participants might clarify calcium-cardiovascular risk association” by British Medical Journal
- “Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis” by British Medical Journal
- “The Rotterdam Study: 2010 objectives and design update” by PubMed Central: European Journal of Epidemiology
- “Calcium controversy explained – Vitamin K2 keeps calcium in your bones and out of your arteries” by Natural News
- Effects of Vitamin K on Calcium and Bone Metabolism by PubMed.gov
- Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue
- “Vitamin K2 Puts Calcium in Bones and Removes Calcium from Arteries, Part 1” by Whole Foods Magazine
- “Vitamin K2, but Not Vitamin K1, is Helpful for Bone Density” by Web MD