Vitamin K Builds Bones Better than Calcium
7 minute read
You want strong bones; you need more calcium. At least that is what we have always been told. Calcium supplements or extra milk, whatever the delivery method, we have always turned to calcium to strengthen our bones. It may come as major shock to learn that calcium is not the best way to build bone strength and density to ward off osteoporosis. The best compound to turn to is vitamin K2.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that has three main types; K, K1 and K2. Vitamin K2 will be the subject of this article which is a fat soluble vitamin that is absorbed in the intestines along with fat from our diet.
All fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, as well as bone calcification. Both of these functions are essential to your overall health, as well as protecting you from certain cancers. Vitamin K is responsible for helping you to age disease free.
Who Needs Vitamin K2?
Recent studies show that men and women with higher intake of vitamin K2 are 65% less likely to suffer debilitating hip fractures compared to those who have a minimal intake. Vitamin K2 also plays a starring role in preventing the deterioration of bones, osteoporosis, the hardening of arteries, and cancer.
The importance of vitamin K2 in the body comes down to the role it plays in the production of certain proteins. A lack of vitamin K2 means these essential functions become compromised. Even though higher functions are operative, your body responds by accelerating cancers, aging, and natural decay.
A lack of vitamin K2 essentially forces your body into emergency mode and you only keep the critical functions for survival going. What this means is that other vital processes start to break down and the body becomes weak and vulnerable to weak bones, cancer, and artery problems.
Here is the even scarier part; only 50% of people get adequate amounts of vitamin K from food. A large number of people are not getting enough, which leaves vulnerable to serious disease.
Vitamin K Deficiency
It is important to realize that vitamin K deficiencies used to be rare but that is no longer the case. Other vitamin deficiencies tend to steal the spotlight but inadequate levels of vitamin K are being seen more and more these days. One of the largest factors is poor diet with other contributing factors including:
♦ Long term antibiotic use
♦ Medications that lower cholesterol
♦ Intestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Since vitamin K is produced by the friendly intestinal bacteria we have, digestive problems can interfere with vitamin K levels. Any disruption to the intestinal processes will cause problems with both production and absorption of vitamin K.
In addition, hydrogenated vegetable oils in the diet negatively impact the absorption of this vitamin and the body's ability to process and use it.
A good probiotic supplement can help to increase your levels of vitamin K since your gut bacteria play a big part of its production. Too many antibiotics, as well as chlorinated or fluorinated water, cause the depletion of your natural intestinal flora.
Once the numbers dwindle, so does the amount of vitamin K they produce. In addition to a probiotic, vitamin K can be found in several food sources, specifically whole foods. The fresher the better.
Sources of Vitamin K
Leafy green vegetables are the number one source for this vitamin. The chlorophyll that makes plants green also provides vitamin K. The foods that also offer pretty substantial helpings include:
♦ Cow's milk
♦ Bok Choy
♦ Green Tea
♦ Collard greens
Vitamin K Absorption
The best way to get the vitamin K you need is to eat a variety of these foods rather than just one. If for some reason you are not able to eat these foods or have trouble getting enough to provide adequate vitamin K levels, a supplement will work, too.
For the most part, vitamin K deficiency is associated with absorption problems rather than a lack of it in the diet. These absorption problems are best addressed with probiotics and taking care of your gut.
What To Look For?
If you feel you may be suffering from a lack of vitamin K, there are some symptoms you can look out for. Nosebleeds, heavy menstrual bleeding, easy bruising and blood in the urine are indicative of a deficiency but it is always best to follow up with your physician for testing to be sure.
People with certain diseases are also prone to suffer from a deficiency. You will most likely need a supplement if you suffer from celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic inflammatory bowel disease or choleostasis.
Vitamin K supplements can interfere with anticoagulant medication so never start taking them without consulting your doctor first. Once proper testing confirms a deficiency, you can devise a plan to increase your levels. You may need to change your diet or perhaps there is an underlying cause in your gut that needs to be addressed first.
What's In It For Your Bones?
Bone is a living tissue and contains a number of proteins that are dependent on vitamin K. This vitamin is responsible for the chemical modification of proteins in the bone.
Without it, your bones cannot develop the strength they need, causing your bones to be susceptible to deterioration and osteoporosis. Studies have shown that diets higher in vitamin K prevent bone fractures especially in athletes who rely on high bone density.
The Bottom Line
Bone health and arterial health are pretty important in terms of survival and longevity. Just think where we would be without healthy bones to support our body and a healthy heart to drive us. Vitamin K provides support for both your bones and arteries to keep you healthy.
The ranges of diseases and health problems that can develop from a vitamin K deficiency are serious. Don't risk it; take a supplement of throw in some additional greens to your diet. Either way, your bones will thank you now that you realize how much more value vitamin K has for them than calcium alone.
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