Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

As you may know Vitamin D is vital to disease prevention and maintaining overall health; there are around 30,000 genes in your body and Vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them! Despite it’s importance Vitamin D deficiency has developed into an epidemic, with most people unaware they are deficient, or even that being deficient could be a contributing factor in their health issues. Although K2 isn’t on the radar for most, it’s just as important, and deficiency is very common as well. Supplementing Vitamin D without K2 can lead to Vitamin D toxicity and consequent symptoms, therefore you should always supplement K2 when supplementing with D3! Read on to learn more about Vitamin D3 and K2 benefits!

“When you take vitamin D, your body creates more of these vitamin K2-dependent proteins, the proteins that will move the calcium around. They have a lot of potential health benefits. But until the K2 comes in to activate those proteins, those benefits aren’t realized. So, really, if you’re taking vitamin D, you’re creating an increased demand for K2. And vitamin D and K2 work together to strengthen your bones and improve your heart health.

Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life:

Vitamin D’s primary role is to help your body absorb calcium, by ensuring your body utilizes the maximum amount of calcium from your diet. However vitamin D doesn’t direct where calcium is deposited, which can create a toxic situation where high levels of calcium go into your soft tissues (detrimental to your health), instead of into your bones and teeth where it can benefit your health.

Vitamin K2 is less known, though has gained recent popularity for it’s numerous health benefits. You shouldn’t take a Vitamin D supplement, without also taking Vitamin K2, because K2 deficiency is linked to Vitamin D toxicity symptoms, chiefly excessive calcification of soft tissues and arteries! K2 as one of it’s functions, helps channel calcium into areas where it’s needed, such as bones and teeth. While it simultaneously directs calcium away from areas it can do harm such as soft tissues and arteries.

So what are the Vitamin D3 and K2 benefits when taken together?

In simple terms, while Vitamin D raises your calcium levels, Vitamin K2 helps to safely route that calcium where it belongs, making it a cofactor in maintaining an optimal balance of Vitamin D and Calcium. This helps prevent excessive calcification of arteries.

Lets dive a bit more into Vitamin D “The Sunshine Vitamin” and it’s less known tango partner, Vitamin K2! And learn why these two Vitamins should always be taken together.

Vitamin D Benefits | The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D3 is produced by your skin in response to sunlight, it helps your body absorb calcium and is essential for immune function, while also supporting: lung health, muscle strength, bone formation & more!

The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D3 is around 400 IU in Canada and 400 IU – 800 IU according to the NIH, or 4,000 IU according to Dr. Mercola. If you compare how much Vitamin D you get through 20 mins of sunlight with the recommended dietary allowance of 400IU-800IU, it’s clear how grossly insufficient that amount is. While many new studies now suggest supplementing with 1,000 IU-4,000IU of D3 daily or higher!

10,000 IUs of Vitamin D, is equivalent to roughly 20 minutes in the sun with your shirt off (or for women bikini top on)! However Vitamin D3 supplements can be up to 5x more effective at raising blood serum levels of 25 Hydroxy D (Vitamin D). Therefore it’s best to test before and after supplementing with vitamin D3, and then adjust your dose accordingly.

If you are outside in the sun often or live in a tropical climate, you can take that into consideration and lower your supplemental dose of D3. On the other hand if you are indoors often and live far from the equator, or if it is Winter (shorter days, more clothing & less outdoor time), then you may want to increase your dosage of D3 substantially. You can of course always contact your physician and order blood tests to verify your vitamin D levels before supplementing.

Get Vitamin D Through Sunlight if You Can

It is of course always best to obtain the majority of your vitamin D through ample sunlight exposure, this means taking off your shirt and bathing in the sun for 20-30mins (exposing hands and face is not enough). The sun provides a holistic profile of beneficial UVB wavelengths that help optimize vitamin D levels, which supplements simply don’t provide:

  • UVB Rays (shorter wavelength)Vital for Vitamin D production
  • UVA Rays (longer wavelength) – Can penetrate ozone layer, cloud and even pollution; increases your risk of skin cancer and photoaging.

So while most dermatologists suggest avoiding the sun to avoid skin cancer, what they neglect to mention is that melanoma (skin cancer) was most common in workers who were indoors often, and then exposed body parts to the sun which previously had virtually no sunlight exposure, and that Melanoma risk in fact decreases with greater exposure to sunlight.

Essentially you want to get just enough sunlight, but not too much! As overexposure can result in sunburn, and consequently increase your risk for skin cancer and premature skin aging.

How Much Sunlight Exposure is Enough?

In short roughly 20-30mins with shirt off (or bikini top on), and shorts or bikini bottoms, ensuring large portions of the skin are exposed to the sun. The bst time is as close to solar noon as possible. Once you get sufficient sunlight your body will cease production of Vitamin D (it’s self regulating).

Tips for safely obtaining your Vitamin D through sunlight exposure

  1. Solar Afternoon is Best – As close to solar noon as possible (1pm DST). This is because while the hazardous UVA rays are present throughout the day, the beneficial UVB rays peak during solar afternoon and lower during the evening and morning. Exposure during these times for 20-30 mins will ensure you produce the most vitamin D.
  2. If you’re dark skinned, stay out longer – Fair skinned should be can max out vitamin D in 10-20 mins while darker skin people need 20-40mins or longer to obtian the same amount of vitamin D.
  3. Cover Sensitive Body Parts – Skin around eyes is thinner that other parts of the body, with a small surface area that does little to produce vitamin D. Therefore protect this part of your face with sunblock or a cap to shade your eyes and avoid unnecessary photoaging or premature wrinkling.
  4. Don’t shower after (or at least don’t use soap) – I know it sounds dirty! When UVB rays strike your skin, it converts it to a cholesterol derivative, which will turn into vitamin D3, however it takes up to 48hrs before the vitamin D3 penetrates the skin and enters your blood stream. By showering with soap you can wash it away before the vitamin D is able to be absorbed by your body.

If you get sunburned use some aloe vera! It’s loaded with powerful glyconutrients that induce healing. Simply take a fresh plant, squish the gel out of the leaves and apply to skin.

Of course for most in Canada and the continental US, which have 4 seasons and many months of cold weather driving people indoors, most people simply don’t obtain enough sun exposure to fulfill their daily requirements for Vitamin D. In addition many people may spend most of their workday and or leisure time indoors. This is where Vitamin D supplementation can provide a real and tangible benefit to individuals who would otherwise be deficient in this essential vitamin. Just remember to take it with a bit of Vitamin K2! Personally I forgo Vitamin D supplements during the warm summer days (except for days where I’m forced inside all day), then begin supplementing during fall and increase my dose throughout the winter.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The importance of Vitamin D testing | Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

It’s always best to monitor your Vitamin D blood serum levels before and after supplementation. Testing before supplementation will show you approximately how much vitamin D you are obtaining daily on average during certain times of year; more tests will add data so you can build a profile on your vitamin D levels throughout the year. THis will help you find a dose of Vitamin D that is best for you, and how you may want to adjust that dose throughout the year.

Testing vitamin D blood serum levels after supplementation, will inform you if your dosing of Vitamin D is sufficient or not. You can then correct your dose to levels that are in that optimal sweet spot, rather then over or under what they should be.

Optimal Vitamin D Levels of 25 Hydroxy D (Vitamin D)

DeficientOptimalTreat Cancer and Heart DiseaseExcess
<50ng/ml50-70ng/ml70-100ng/ml>100 ng/ml
Vitamin D Levels of 25 Hydroxy D (Vitamin D) – Multiply ng/ml by 2.5 to convert to nmol/litre

Vitamin D Toxicity | Overdosing and Maintaining Optimal Levels

As we stated previously, Vitamin D3 supplements can be up to 5x more effective at raising blood serum levels of 25 Hydroxy D (Vitamin D), therefore 1,000IU (D3 Supplement) of D3 = 5,000IU of D3 (through natural exposure). This is why it’s important to test your D levels before and after supplementation.

In addition, while your body can regulate Vitamin D production during sun exposure, stopping production when it has synthesized enough D from sunlight, it can’t do the same with supplements. So while you have no risk of overdosing from sun exposure, you could overdose from supplementation with high doses of Vitamin D3.

While Vitamin D has been shown to be safe in most cases for doses from 600IU to 4,000IU, and in much higher amount to treat health conditions or deficiency, this is usually in the care of a physician who orders frequent tests to monitor levels, and this high dose is usually only administered for a short time to bring blood serum levels of D up to healthy “optimal” levels.

Ultimately the key is to keep your vitamin D levels within the healthy range through regular vitamin D blood tests, and then adjusting your dose accordingly.

AgeDose (IU)
Below 535 IU per pound daily
5-102500 IU
Adults5000 IU
Pregnant Women8000 IU
Vitamin D Dose Recommendations

Keep in mind that the above Vitamin D Dose recommendations above are general guidelines, are your personal requirements may differ significantly. You may need 4x-5x more than the recommended amount above or less; Try to maintain optimal blood levels of 60ng/ml 25(OH)D, which you can check via blood tests.

Best Way to Take Vitamin D3 Supplements

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it does not dissolve in water and is absorbed best in your bloodstream when paired with high-fat foods. Therefore Vitamin D supplements are best taken with a fat containing meal including items such as: avocados, nuts, seeds, full-fat dairy products or eggs.

It doesn’t matter if you take K2 in the morning or at night, however several studies found taking vitamin D late in the day significantly increases disk of sleep disturbances, poorer sleep quality and reduced sleep duration [9, 10, 11]. One study also showed higher blood levels of vitamin D is linked to lower levels of melatonin – the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycle [12] indicating it may impact your melatonin production.

Vitamin K2 Benefits | K2 MK7

  1. Prevents Vascular Calcification – K2 helps route calcium into your bones and away from your soft tissues where it can do damage.
  2. Supports Cardiovascular (Heart) Health – By preventing vascular calcification and arterial disease, vitamin K2 takes the pressure off the heart. It ensures your heart doesn’t have to work extra hard to push blood through clogged arteries (aka arteriosclerosis). This means your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard, so it can function more effectively and longer!
    1. In one study on dietary intake of menaquinone, participants with high vitamin K2 intake had a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
    2. Another study showed that for every 10 micrograms of K2 consumed per day, the risk of heart disease was lowered by 10%.
  3. Promotes Bone Health – K2 is an “osteo-powerhouse” which helps activate GLA protein (MGP) and osteocalcin, the two proteins which help bind calcium to your bones through the process of bone mineralization and calcium homeostasis.
    1. Some research indicates that high serum levels of undercarboxylated osteocalcin are associated with lower bone mineral density [5,28].
    2. Some, but not all, studies also link higher vitamin K intakes with higher bone mineral density and/or lower hip fracture incidence [29-34].
    3. Japanese researchers found vitamin K2 to be especially beneficial for postmenopausal women, who are more likely to suffer from decreased bone density.  Clinical trial participants with increased K2 intake significantly decreased their risk of fractures. As a result, vitamin K2 is regularly prescribed in Japan to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
  4. Regulates Blood Sugar – Studies have shown K2 can normalize blood glucose levels. This is due to the protein osteocalcin, activated by K2, which acts like a hormone and reduces both insulin sensitivity and blood glucose. A high blood glucose level is also associated with an elevated risk of diabetes and mood disorders.
    1. Studies show that when K2 lowers blood sugars, it also works to reduce the possibility of type 2 diabetes and minimize depression and anxiety.
  5. Promotes Blood Clotting – Your body utilizes all the “K” vitamins to produce the prothrombin protein, crucial to blood clotting. This reduces both excessive bleeding and severe bruising, and promotes wound healing. It also prevents potentially dangerous—even fatal—hemorrhages. Some patients on blood thinning medications are monitored to ensure vitamin K levels are adequate.
  6. Supports Cardiac Health – K2 MK7 Fuels Mitochondria. Mitochondria are the cells “batteries” which supply energy to all of the cells in your body, including muscles; especially the heart with the highest concentration of mitochondria! Unlike other organs, the heart is the one organ in your body that is unable to re-generate cells. Therefore it is vital not just for athletes, but for everyone to take as much stress off the heart as possible to ensure it’s long-term effective function.
    1. In a study of athletes who took vitamin K2 for eight weeks, their cardiac output (the amount of fresh oxygenated blood pumped by the heart) increased by 12%
  7. Promotes Oral (Dental) Health – One of the less researched health benefits of K2 is it’s possitive effect on dental health. Vitamin K2 promotes activation of osteocalcin, a protein believed to stimulate the growth of dentin, the calcified tissue underneath your tooth enamel.
  8. Helps Combat (liver and Prostate) Cancer – Several new studies have shown a possible link between K2 and recovery from two specific types of cancer: liver and prostate cancer. Although it’s important to note these are preliminary studies, and more research is required.
    1. Liver Cancer: Two separate clinical studies found that a high vitamin K2 intake seemed to reduce the recurrence of liver cancer and increased the participants’ survival times.
    2. Prostate CancerAnother study found that participants who increased their K2 levels had a 63% lower risk of advanced prostate cancer.
  9. Prevents Muscle Cramps – Muscle mass typically declines with age (similar to bone mass). Age related muscle wasting usually results in impaired muscle function. As part of this muscle cramping can occur. Studies show 30% of seniors over 60 and 50% over 80 experience muscle cramps.
    1. A group of 19 elderly men and women experiencing leg cramps on a daily or weekly basis was given a daily dose of 100 mcg per day of vitamin MK-7 for three months. At the end of the study, the researchers found that this low dosage level of MK-7 resulted in “dramatic improvement of frequency, duration, and severity of pain during cramping”. When the subjects stopped taking the supplement, the cramping tended to return within days or weeks.

Check out our other Article for more information on Vitamin K2

Vitamin K Vs K2 – What is  MK7? | Vitamin D3 and K2 Benefits

Vitamin K consists of two fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K-1 and K-2, that have similar structures and functions 3. Vitamin K-2, or menaquinone, can be synthesized in your body from vitamin K-1 and used for several biochemical reactions, such as maintaining bone strength and promoting blood coagulation, or clotting

Vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism, and heart health. One of its most important functions is to regulate calcium deposition. In other words, Vitamin K promotes the calcification of bones and prevents the calcification of blood vessels and kidneys.

“Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood clotting, heart health, and bone health.”

Healthline

Vitamin K1 only comes in its one form. On the other hand vitamin K2 is broken down further, depending on the length of its compound chains, into MK4 through MK13. In controlled studies in people, researchers found that vitamin K2 supplements generally improve bone and heart health, while vitamin K1 has no significant benefits.

“Vitamin K2 plays an essential role in bone metabolism, and studies suggest that it can help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.”

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 MK7 (also known as vitamin K2-7, the MK7 comes from menaquinone 7) is widely regarded as being the most efficient and effective form of vitamin K2. A recent study revealed that of all the K2 vitamins, vitamin K2 MK7 is the version with the highest bioavailability, meaning it is more easily absorbed by your body and stays active for a longer time. More about K2 here.

“A higher intake of vitamin K2 is strongly associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Vitamin K1 appears to be less useful or ineffective.”

Healthline

Check out our other Article for more information on Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 Toxicity | Overdosing and Maintaining Optimal Levels

Vitamin K2 is very safe to consume. There is little danger of K1 or K2 overdosing, because excess K1 and K2 is quickly broken down by the body and excreted in both the urine and feces. There is no known toxicity for either form of vitamin K, but some side effects may still be associated with its supplementation which includes:

  • Allergic Reaction – Some individuals may have an allergic reaction to menaquinone. Vitamin K2 allergy is considered a medical emergency. If you suspect an allergic reaction to K2 seek medical attention immediately.
  • Blood Pressure & Clotting – Vitamin K can increase blood plasma volume and in turn the thickness of your blood.
    • If you suffer from high blood pressure or have naturally high blood plasma volume levels, vitamin K-2 supplementation may increase your risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular disease due to an over-thickening of your blood.
    • If you are on medications for high blood pressure or blood-thinning medications consult your physician prior to supplementing with K2
  • Gastrointestinal Distress – The most common side effects of vitamin K-2 supplementation involve gastrointestinal distress due to an inability of your digestive system to properly metabolize vitamin K supplements. To mitigate the risk of gastrointestinal distress, take vitamin K with adequate amounts of water and a protein containing meal.
  • Drug Interactions – vitamin K supplements may have adverse interactions with some drugs and medications:
    • Certain antibiotics may interfere with the absorption of vitamin K, which may cause a vitamin K deficiency
    • Warfarin, a blood-thinning medication, may be affected by vitamin K supplementation
    • Vitamin K supplements may also interfere with some weight loss and cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as Orlistat, Olestra and bile acid sequestrants

The minimum daily requirement of K2 in adults is between 90–120 micrograms per day. Some experts recommend getting about 150 to 400 mcg. In some studies for treating osteoporosis up to 10mg/day of Vitamin K or 45mg/day (45000mcg) of K2 was used.

To a certain extent an optimal dose of K2 will depend on your intake of vitamins A and D, due to hose these vitamins affect eachother. More Info here.

AgeK2 Dose (mcg)
Children 7-12 months2.5 mcg/day
Children 4-8 years55 mcg/day
Adults90-400 mcg/day
Seniors 50+ years100-200 mcg/day
Recommended Vitamin K2 Dose (mcg

Best Way to Take Vitamin K2 Supplements

K2 is best taken with adequate water and a protein containing meal, or with a supplement containing fatty acids which will help increase absorption. It does not matter what time of day you take vitamin K2, and there is no particular benefit to taking K2 in the morning or at night.

Optimal Ratio Between Vitamin D and K2

Although studies have not yet determined conclusively the optimal ratio between Vitamin D and K2, Dr. Rheaume-Bleue (Author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life) suggests 100-200mcg K2 for every 1,000 IUs of Vitamin D.

Best Vitamin D3 and K2 Supplement

Disclaimer

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the statements in this article are meant to take the place of licensed medical practitioner. Any products referenced are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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