Bring on the Bone Buffet Part deux
Last time we talked about some of the nutrients that are needed for bone health. Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are all important components. We also discussed some of the problems with just using vitamin D and calcium, those being that although they do seem to help in some cases, they don’t help in all cases. What else do we need?
K2 is a fat soluble vitamin which has different biological properties than K1. K1 (phylloquinone) is what is found is green vegetables and is responsible for the clotting of the blood. K2 (menaquinone) has different functions in the body, although it may also help in coagulation of blood. One of the main functions seems to be in how calcium is used in the body. K2 helps Gla protein and osteocalcin in bone formation. Chris Masterjohn has a great article about it here: http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2#bone.
Commercially available preparations exist as two main forms; MK4 and MK7. Others are available but these two forms are the most studied. MK4 has a shorter half-life and for clinical purposes may necessitate a multiple dosing regimen per day to be effective for those who want to supplement. MK7 is the form that is found in Natto and also commercially. It has a longer half-life and probably only needs to be taken once daily.
Lets take a look at some of the studies that make K2 a winner and part of your bone buffet.
In a meta-analysis researchers looked at several studies using K2 and looking at fractures. The results were overall very good. K2 decreased hip, vertebral and all other fractures significantly over placebo. 1
A 2 year study in Japan showed that the incidence of spine fracture was reduced by 19.4% with patients taking 45mg K2 per day over placebo. Both groups were taking 120mg elemental calcium per day. 2
In another study out of Japan, subjects received either calcium, vitamin k2, etidronate (a bisphosphonate/osteoporosis drug) or both etidronate and K2. The group on both K2 and etidronate had the least amount of fractures. K2 alone was about the same as etidronate alone and calcium alone faired the worst. The graph is showed here. 3
One problem with a lack of vitamin K is arterial calcification. This is that soft tissue calcification that I was discussing in the last article. It appears that vitamin k is useful for keeping the arteries clear of calcium. This is discussed in an article. 4 In another article, researchers compared two groups of people, 1 group using coumarins (blood thinning drugs) and healthy controls. They found that the degree of calcification in the subjects using coumarins had more arterial calcification in the femoral artery than those not using them. 5 Calcification in the arteries is a really bad thing. I mean really bad. This is one of the steps toward creating clots and creating blockages that could easily become fatal.
K2 seems to be a winner is this bone buffet. K2 also seems to be linked with cardiovascular health and cancer. That will likely be a topic coming soon. So where do you get K2?
Butter from grass fed cows, egg yolks, chicken liver, goose liver, Brie and Gouda cheeses and Natto (fermented soy) are all natural sources.
It is the bacteria in your gut that determine how much you get without eating these types of foods. It is speculated that some people who have absorption issues may not absorb the K2 like others would, increasing the need for supplementation and the need to heal up the gut. The supplements mentioned above are available online. I will say that the doses used in the studies are typically 45mg/day. The online brands are between 100mcg and 1000mcg. So if you got the 1000mcg dose (1mg) you’d need 45x that to match the studies. I don’t know if that amount is truly needed or if smaller amounts would work just as well, but it is something to consider. I believe Thorne makes a liquid form that will more easily get you that amount, but it’s expensive for a 30 day supply.
A dose of 45mg/day doesn’t appear to be harmful so taking that amount should be fine. The RDA isn’t established but reference intakes are around 100mcg/day.
In part 3 we’ll discuss 1 more key factor in good bone health…stress!
- Cockayne, Sarah, et al. “Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Archives of internal medicine 166.12 (2006): 1256.
- Shiraki, Masataka, et al. “Vitamin K2 (menatetrenone) effectively prevents fractures and sustains lumbar bone mineral density in osteoporosis.” Journal of bone and mineral research 15.3 (2000): 515-521.
- Iwamoto, Jun, Tsuyoshi Takeda, and Shoichi Ichimura. “Combined treatment with vitamin K2 and bisphosphonate in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.” Yonsei Medical Journal 44.5 (2003): 751-756.
- Theuwissen, Elke, Egbert Smit, and Cees Vermeer. “The role of vitamin K in soft-tissue calcification.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 3.2 (2012): 166-173.
- Roger J. M. W. et al. “Chronic coumarin treatment is associated with increased extracoronary arterial calcification in humans.” Blood Journal 2010 115: 5121-5123
Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.