D3 & K2 — The Dynamic Duo of Bone & Cardiovascular Health
Calcium is an “A list” nutrient, immediately recognized by one and all on
store shelves everywhere. Although it is famous for being critical for many aspects of our health, without a pair of back-up nutrients — vitamins D3 and K2 — calcium cannot do its job effectively.
These “supporting actors” keep calcium levels in balance in our bodies, ensure proper absorption, and make sure calcium ends up in the right places.
This nutrient trinity— calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 — interact and work together synergistically to keep our bones healthy and strong and our cardiovascular system flowing and flexible.
The Calcium Balancing Act
Your body performs a balancing act, day in and day out, as it regulates optimal blood calcium levels. That’s because calcium is critical for heart and nerve function. So, if you can’t absorb enough calcium from your food, your body can’t afford to do nothing about it. Instead, it pulls calcium from your bones and into the blood. Obviously, this is not a great deal for your bones, and it’s a way that you can lose bone density and be at a higher risk of bone fractures.
Vitamin D is essential for your intestines to efficiently absorb calcium. Without
sufficient vitamin D, chances are much higher that you won’t have enough calcium – regardless of if you eat calcium-rich foods. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common and may be an underlying factor in bone weakness and numerous other health problems.
While vitamin D helps usher calcium into your body, lesser-known vitamin K2 has a major role directing calcium into your bones. Although they may seem static and unchanging, your bones are actually busy remaking themselves every day. As a matter of fact, every 7-10 years your entire skeleton fully regenerates itself through a process called remodeling.
Vitamin K2 not only helps put calcium where you want it in your body, it also
keeps it out of where you don’t want it. It does this by activating a protein called MGP (matrix GLA protein) which is responsible for removing excess calcium from accumulating in soft tissues such as arteries and veins.
This is good news since about 20% of atherosclerotic plaques are made of calcium, and vitamin K2-activated MGP is considered the strongest factor in preventing tissue calcification involved in atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease.
How Do You Get Vitamin D3?
Remarkably few foods are good sources of vitamin D, including oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products, but the nutrient is mainly produced in our skin when it’s exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. There are different types of D3 supplements, and the list of vitamin D health benefits is long – so we dedicated an entire blog to these subjects.
Vitamin K2 Rich Foods
You can get vitamin K2 by eating meat and animal-based foods like egg yolks and high-fat dairy products such as whole milk. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans are at high risk of a K2 deficiency. One of the only vegetarian sources of the vitamin is natto — a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans.
Interestingly, a study in Japan showed the incidence of hip fractures among Japanese women seemed to be strongly influenced by the amount of natto, and therefore vitamin K2, that they ate. In Tokyo, the regular consumption of natto was associated with a significantly lower risk of hip fractures compared with western Japan where natto isn’t frequently eaten.
D3 & K2 Supplementation
It is extremely common for postmenopausal women to take calcium supplements to help prevent or treat osteoporosis. But many health advocates are not sure if this is the best idea, unless they also take calcium’s supporting players — vitamins D3 and K2.
That's because taking calcium alone doesn't mean it will be absorbed (without vitamin D3), and it doesn't mean that it will end up in bone and not accumulate in veins and arteries (without vitamin K2). In fact, studies suggest that if a woman is deficient in vitamin K2 and they supplement with calcium, it may put them at risk of cardiovascular issues.
A great option is D3 + K2 Complex™, a high-quality supplement that is made with organic ingredients, is non-GMO, vegan, gluten, and dairy free. The vitamin D3 in D3 + K2 Complex is made from sustainably grown algae that’s highly purified with no chemical solvents used at all. The vitamin K2 is purified from non-GMO fermented soy natto. It also contains fermented vitamin K1, plus an organic food complex of shiitake mushroom, camu camu berry, collard greens, spinach, parsley, and cruciferous sprouts.
Make Sure to Get the Nutrient Synergy
To ensure proper calcium absorption and utilization in your body, it’s important to take the synergistic vitamin pair of D3 and K2, not just the mineral alone. Since vitamin D3 and K2 deficiency is prevalent, especially among people who tend to avoid animal-based foods or don’t get out in the sun very often, you might want to consider D3 +K2 Complex, the highest quality supplement of this dynamic duo.