I’m sure we are all aware, when it comes to bone health Calcium and Vitamin D are generally the ‘go to’ supplements. However, it is becoming more evident that Vitamin K2 plays an essential role in our bone health.
Recently I wrote about the many studies indicating the benefits of Vitamin K2 Menaquinone-7 in prevention of build up of calcium in the arteries which often leads to heart failure. Vitamin K2 has also been found to be pivotal in preventing and treating osteoporosis.
It’s interesting to note, our total skeleton is replaced every 7 to 10 years through a process called osteoclasts (which is the process of breaking down the skeleton) and osteoblasts (which is the process of rebuilding the skeleton). For this process to be successful and for our bones to remain healthy, the rebuilding process needs to be as equally effective as the breakdown process of the bones. If not, obviously our bone density will be majorly decreased.
To effectively bind calcium to our bones, it is essential for our body to produce this protein known as osteocalcin. Even more importantly, the osteocalcin must be activated and once again it requires Vitamin K2 to do this successfully.
A 3 year placebo controlled study Dutch study in 2013 of 244 healthy post menopausal women found the women taking Vitamin K2 Menaquinone-7 had less inactive osteocalcin in their blood which of course indicated they had higher levels of Vitamin K2. Not surprisingly, testing indicated they had higher bone density and bone strength.(1)
Then there was the collective evidence of seven Japanese studies revealing supplementation of Vitamin K2 had found a 60% reduction in fractures of the spine and 80% reduction in hip and other non-vertebral fractures.(2) Pretty amazing!! A number of Japanese trials found Vitamin K2 completely reversed bone loss and may increase bone mass in people with osteoporosis. (3)
The question then arises – should we therefore not take calcium? We need calcium to build and maintain strong bones, however the crucial factor is to ensure the calcium is absorbed into our bones. There has been research indicating calcium supplementation can cause cardiovascular disease and there is very good reason to be concerned about this. However, as I have written previously supplementing with Vitamin K2 is the key to ensuring calcium is absorbed into our bones and not allowed to build up in the arteries.
It’s also important to take the most absorbable form of calcium. I take a plant based calcium extracted from an organic marine plant which is high in elemental calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals. Plant based calcium contains a range of minerals from a single natural source and this together with its porous matrix structure is believed to enable better absorption.
We have known for sometime that Vitamin D3 is important to enable our body to absorb calcium. Vitamin K2 however, just as importantly guides the calcium to the various parts of the skeleton where calcium is required. Both these vitamins have important roles in not only maintaining our bone health but also our heart health. Without the help of Vitamin K2, the calcium which the Vitamin D so effectively absorbs may be directed to the wrong areas.
Magnesium is also important as it helps draw calcium out of the blood and soft tissue back into the bones.
Some years ago I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. I undertook a regime of plant based calcium, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, Silica as well as a pharmaceutical drug. This regime was able to only maintain my depleted level of bone density. However after several years I stopped taking the pharmaceutical drug after alarming side effects came to light. It was then that I began researching Vitamin K2 and added Vitamin K2 to my existing regime. Much to my delight, after 2 years a bone density test indicated an increase in my bone density. Whilst the calcium, Vitamin D3, Silica and Magnesium were all important, I firmly believe the Vitamin K2 was the linchpin when it came to the success of this regime.
(1) Osteoporosis International September 2013;24(0;;2499-2507
(2) Archives of Internal Medicine 2006;166;1256-1261
(3) European Journal of Nutrition December 2004;43(6);325-335