Calcium supplements are one of the most popular dietary supplements, but mark my words... vitamin K2 is a MANDATORY supplement for anyone taking calcium. If you don't know by now, vitamin K is required to activate certain proteins in the body...and these proteins tell your body what to do with all that dietary & supplemental calcium.
So besides the liver, there are vitamin K-dependant proteins in both the bones, and soft tissues (especially the arteries, but also glands and organs). When these proteins are activated in the presence of vitamin K, the bones suck up calcium, and the arteries prevent calcium from building up in their walls.
Remember mass media making a big deal out of a calcium meta-analysis last year (this CBC article was one of many that covered the story)? The study showed calcium does more harm than good because it causes heart attacks and stroke (which we've known for a long time...but to mass media it was new). What they didn't tell you was that the build-up of calcium in the arteries was not necessarily because people were taking too much calcium, but that they were likely deficient in vitamin K.
Update: the same researchers published a study in April 2011, click HERE for my discussion on the calcium - heart attack link, and HERE for a discussion on what vitamin K deficiency looks like (using patients taking warfarin as an example).
You see, without enough K, your body doesn't know where to put all that calcium, and it can go into soft tissues, like the arteries (called "arterial calcification"), where it's now considered one of the greatest predictors of a heart attack.
Vitamin K2 is now considered one of the best nutrients you can take for bone health because it tells your body to take all that calcium and put it into the bones. This is exactly what this new study showed (link referenced at the end of this post). Basically, the higher your vitamin K intake, the greater your bone density was. My only critique is that it was not a controlled clinical trial, but an observation study based on diet recall.
The story is actually much more complicated than this...so if you'd like me to go into more detail, post a comment and I'll do my best to answer (see the Commenting Policy...really, it's just common sense stuff).
So my conclusion...by getting enough vitamin K, we can kill two birds (osteoporosis and arterial calcification) with one stone.
...and these aren't just any birds, they're huge, menacing, angry birds. Maybe more like fire-breathing dragons.
- Human Study Suggests Vitamin K2 (as MK-7) REVERSES Arterial Calcification
- Calcium Causes Heart Attacks Without Vitamin K2
- Study Proves Vitamin K2 Supplements Reverse Deficiencies
- Vitamin K May Improve Cognitive Health in the Elderly
- Do Calcium Supplements Cause Heart Attacks?
- Warfarin, Vitamin K, and Heart Attacks from Calcium
- Vitamin K Improves Bone Mineral Density
- Low-Dose K2 (as MK-7) Proven to be Effective
- Vitamin K Deficiency Linked to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
- Calcium & Vitamin D Linked to Kidney Stones -- More Reason for Vitamin K?
- Arterial Calcification Linked to Dementia
- Administration of Oral Vitamin K2 to Newborns
Source: Dietary vitamin K associated with bone quantitative ultrasound measurements