Vitamin D and Vitamin K2

Last month Rebecca’s hosted our semi-annual health screening by Medical Screening Services.  One test that I think is so important to have done regularly is a vitamin D level.  I have been watching mine for several years now and have been pleased to get it to an optimal level.

Test results are based on a 1-100 point scale.  Scores under 30 are considered low, and many doctors are recommending higher levels for immune system health – ranging from 40-70.  To achieve these numbers you may need to take up to 8,000IU a day if you are not getting a lot of summer sun.  Vitamin D is fat soluble so it is best taken with a meal that contains fat (butter, oil, nuts, etc.).  I use a (tasteless) liquid form that I drop onto my toast or eggs in the morning.

One of the newsletters that I follow is Dr. Mercola’s at www.mercola.com.  He recently posted some very important information regarding the need to take vitamin K2 if you are supplementing with vitamin D.  He quotes a researcher as recommending 100mcg of Vitamin K2 for every 1000IU of vitamin D that you take (more on that study here).

Here is his explanation for the benefits of K2.

1.    Vitamin K2 directs calcium to your bones and prevents calcium deposits from forming in your joint spaces, organs, and arteries. Calcium deposits can cause dangerous arterial plaque to form (atherosclerosis). This is why while your bones benefit from calcium, your arteries may be damaged by this nutrient. Vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin, a protein hormone made from osteoblasts, which works by binding calcium to your bone matrix. Osteocalcin prevents calcium from being deposited into your arteries.

2.    Vitamin K2 prevents vitamin D3 from working against you. While vitamin K2 directs calcium to your bones, vitamin D acts as the “gatekeeper,” so that your body can absorb the nutrient. Without vitamin K to direct calcium, vitamin D3 would simply allow your body to absorb the nutrient everywhere – including your coronary arteries. According to recent studies, vitamin D toxicity may even arise if you have vitamin K2 deficiency.

Vitamin K

Since I use a high dose of Vitamin D, I’ve started using the Life Extension brand “Super K” to supplement with K2.  I take it along with my multivitamin in the morning.  Except for natto – a fermented soy bean condiment – there isn’t really a food that is an exceptionally high source of K2.  Some cheeses such as gouda and brie are fairly high. If you are looking for other foods, see the Weston A. Price link for a comprehensive list.

Have you had success in bringing up your Vitamin D levels?  If you have, consider adding K2 to your supplement plan.

Susan Dunlap, CHC
Nutrition Information Specialist

Susan