There has been an explosion of research in the past decade that reveals the benefits of vitamin D in optimal health. But there is a new and exciting player that has been touted “the next vitamin D.” This promising newcomer is vitamin K, which is studied for its synergy with vitamin D3 in terms of bone strength and cardiovascular health.
Learn more about vitamin k – specifically vitamin K2 and its different forms and functions.
Basic Information on Vitamin K
Vitamin K is now considered to be probably as important as vitamin D, which is a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone that influences nearly 3,000 of the 25,000 genes in your body. According to top vitamin k researcher Dr. Cees Vermeer, nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin K, just like most people do not get enough vitamin D.
Most individuals do get enough vitamin k from their diet to maintain adequate blood clotting, but not sufficient to protect against certain health problems.
Vitamin K comes in two basic forms: K1, found in green vegetables and goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system, and K2, which is present in high quantities in your gut yet is not absorbed and merely passes out in your stool. Vitamin K2 goes straight to vessel walls, bones, and tissues aside from your liver.
There are several other forms of vitamin K2, which are MK4, MK7, MK8, and MK9. MK7 is seen to be the form with the most significance, because it is longer-acting and comes with more practical applications. It is extracted from the Japanese fermented soy product called natto, and you can get plenty of it from consuming natto alone.
How Vitamin D and Vitamin K Work Together
But what is the relationship between vitamins D and K?
Among the undisputed benefits of vitamin D is improved bone development, helping your body absorb calcium. There is new evidence, though, that it could be vitamin K2 directing the calcium to your skeleton, preventing it from being deposited where you do not want it, such as your arteries, joint spaces, and organs.
A large portion of arterial plaque is made up of calcium deposits or atherosclerosis, thus the term “hardening of the arteries.”
Think of vitamin D as the gatekeeper that controls who gets in, with vitamin D acting as the traffic cop, directing the traffic to where it needs to go. Isn’t this a good way to avoid clogging, crowding, and chaos?
There is also proof that the safety of vitamin D depends on vitamin K, and that vitamin D toxicity (which is rather rare with D3) is actually a result of vitamin K2 deficiency.
Your Plan of Action
You can optimize your vitamin K through a combination of dietary sources (such as green leafy vegetables, natto and other fermented foods, and raw milk cheeses) and a K2 supplement, if necessary. The exact dosing for oral supplementation is yet to be fully determined, but Dr. Vermeer recommends up to 185 mcg for adults every day.
Caution must be taken when it comes to higher doses if you are taking anticoagulants. However, you are suggested to take 150 to 300 mcg daily if you are generally healthy and not on these medications.
As for optimizing your vitamin D, either you get plenty of natural sunlight exposure or take an oral supplement. Check your blood levels before and during supplementation to stay within the therapeutic range.
Helping keep your heart, blood vessels, organs, and bones healthy, too, are weight-bearing exercises, a diet of fresh and locally grown organic foods, high-quality animal source of omega-3 fats like krill oil, stress management, and enough restorative sleep at night.