MIXING IT UP FOR GOOD HEALTH
By Dee Woods
Once I learned of the importance of vitamin D and the fact that most of us are deficient in the vitamin (especially in the northern United States), I located the finest quality vitamin D3 and began to supplement. But, I recently learned, that may not be the proper approach.
I learned there is much more involved in supplementing with vitamin D3. It seems vitamin D has a partner that must be taken along with it for efficient results. The reason for this marriage of the two is that the function of D3 cannot be totally complete without the assistance of vitamin K2.
The K vitamins are associated with green leafy vegetables, and in the case of one type of K2 it acts as an adjuvant to vitamin D. Unfortunately, this approach may not be acceptable for those taking blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix, Pradaxa or other anticoagulants.
The reasoning behind this combination was explained by Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world's top researchers on vitamin K. He began a research group in 1975 to study vitamin D exclusively.
Dr. Joseph Mercola interviewed Vermeer several years ago and wrote about the significance of Vermeer's studies on the synergy created by vitamin D and vitamin K2 when taken together. Vermeer has discovered that K2 and D3 should be considered as the doorkeeper and the cop, respectively. In other words, while D3 helps the body to absorb calcium, vitamin K2 directs the calcium to the bones where it belongs.
The type of K2 Vermeer is speaking of is obtained mostly from a Japanese fermented food known as natto. It can also be obtained in certain fermented cheeses. Natto is a food that must take some getting used to. The Japanese eat it for breakfast and other occasions, but most Americans reject it because of its slimy consistency as well as its strange odor. For that reason, I will take it in pill form along with my D3.
We already know that many diseases can develop as a result of lack of vitamin D3, however, it seems even more significance is given to vitamin D and a particular type of K2 when coupled. The health benefits appear to increase for preventing many diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, hardening of the arteries, prostate cancer, and many other diseases, according to Vermeer.
Mercola explains that while vitamin D helps us better absorb calcium, "there is new evidence that it is the vitamin K (specifically, vitamin K2) that directs the calcium to your skeleton while preventing it from being deposited where you don't want it - i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term "hardening of the arteries."
Mercola further explains: "Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries."
Mercola is stating that vitamin D without the help of K2 may well be ineffective in protecting your tissue and organs from calcium deposits. This is a game-changer and I have personally decided that I will only take vitamin D3 along with K2. It appears the latest finding is significant enough to be worth the switch. There are already products on the market with the combination of the two, so it won't be that difficult to try. Just make certain you pick up a highquality brand name product.