CanPrev’s in-house team of naturopathic doctors, homeopaths, nutritionists and other licensed healthcare practitioners help you to make better informed decisions regarding your health, natural health supplements, natural medicine and meeting your wellness goals.
D3 + K2 are the dynamic duo
Vitamin D3 and K2 are both critical to overall health and wellbeing. While most people are familiar with vitamins A through E, vitamin K may be relatively unfamiliar. In this article, we’ll explore the health benefits of vitamin D3 and a specific form of vitamin K, namely vitamin K2. This dynamic duo plays a critical role in cardiovascular and bone health.
Vitamin D3 is the same naturally-occurring vitamin your body makes when exposed to the sun. In northern climates like Canada, it can be tough to get enough. In addition to helping sustain strong bones, vitamin D has some other important functions of the body, such as immunity, muscle function, cardiovascular health, brain development and more. Experts say that a lack of vitamin D may also be linked to conditions including depression, cancer, asthma, type-II diabetes, and high blood pressure.
What exactly are the benefits of vitamin K? For its coagulant properties, vitamin K is needed by the liver to create an enzyme called thrombin, which helps the blood to clot.
Now, did you know that vitamin K is actually a family of vitamins, each with their own unique role in the body? The vitamin K family includes vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. While vitamin K2 is similar to vitamin K1 in that it’s used for blood coagulation, there are various additional functions that vitamin K2 is also responsible for. Some key benefits include mineralization and metabolism in bones and to reduce calcification of arteries.
Calcium, D3, and K2
Calcium and other minerals are needed for a healthy body structure. However, vitamins D3 and K2 are critical cofactors that help transport calcium and other minerals through your body so they are properly deposited in your bones (where they belong)!
In this journey, the first step is making sure your dietary minerals are properly absorbed. Vitamin D3 works in the intestinal tract by increasing ion permeability in the intestines. This helps increase the absorption of minerals, like calcium, from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream.
Then, calcium travels through your blood. Unfortunately, while it travels, some can end up getting stuck in the soft tissues of the blood vessels. This can lead to hardening of the arteries. Calcium build-up in this stage makes it more difficult for the heart to perform tasks such as pumping blood, which in turn reduces oxygen and blood supply to the rest of your body. In severe cases, this may even lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Enter vitamin K2
As a critical cofactor for calcium regulation, vitamin K2 activates an important protein called matrix GLA. This important protein prevents vascular calcification. What’s that? It essentially keeps calcium from depositing in soft tissues, organs and blood vessels.
During a final step in mineral metabolism, vitamin K2 is called upon again to activate another crucial protein known as osteocalcin. It works to deposit calcium and other minerals where they belong: in our bones.
Fuel For Your Bones
Food sources that are naturally rich in vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Other foods such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, margarine and breakfast cereals may be fortified with vitamin D. However, it can be extremely difficult to get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs from food.
Ultimately, the best ways to get your vitamin D is by exposing your skin to sunlight, as well as vitamin D supplementation.
What about vitamin K2? Unlike vitamin K1, which is easily found in green leafy vegetables and plant oils, vitamin K2 is microbial in origin and much harder to find in our diets. Traditional foods like fish eggs, butterfat from grass-fed cows, cured meats, kefir, sauerkraut, organ meats and aged cheeses are rich in vitamin K2. However, these types of food may not be very common in the modern North American diet.
Health Canada has not determined a Recommended Dietary Intake (RDA) for vitamin K2. This is because there is no standardized test for vitamin K2 status. As vitamin K is not stored in our bodies for long periods, a vitamin K blood test would only measure one’s recent intake, rather than a long-term nutritional status.
To guarantee a steady intake of vitamin K2, supplementation is a convenient method.
Look to this dynamic duo to keep your heart and bones happy and healthy!
Learn more about Vitamin K2 at www.vitamink2.ca
This article provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.