I Won't Take a Vitamin D Without a Vitamin K. But Not Just Any Vitamin K!
I won't take a D without a K. But not just any Vitamin K!
Want to know why? Ok, here we go…
First let me tell you that I have been studying the Vitamin K family and its role of immune modulation, clotting factors and adipocytes, (fat cell metabolism) since I was 19 years old.
I know it sounds like a weird thing to become obsessed with, but after a tonsillectomy at 19, I hemorrhaged horribly. I was rushed to the ER and had my throat cauterized several times over 4 days because I would not stop bleeding. It was there that I learned I had abnormal clotting factors and dangerously low platelets (the part of your blood that regulates bleeding and a whole host of other things). I also had a problem with T-Cell production, Interleukin balance, positive ANA titers and an elevated Sedimentation rate. I was diagnosed with ITP, an autoimmune disorder.
If any of this sounds confusing to you, imagine me at 19 trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. The best solution at the time was to blast my body with 60 mg of a steroid called prednisone, and immunosuppressive drugs. That was actually kind of a fun and wild ride, because I felt a bit invincible on this 3-4 drug cocktail. Well my body could only tolerate that for so long and the side effects became horrific.
I lost a lot of hair and turned grey at the ripe old age of 21, I developed osteopenia (the beginnings of osteoporosis), never-ending ovarian cysts, chronic kidney stones, and ended up losing a significant amount of my right kidney function.
Along the way, I became obsessed with micronutrient influence on the blood and the biochemistry of the body. Then, while in Germany where my horse career had taken me to ride, I acquired a Vitamin K supplement—one of the first therapeutic supplements I applied in order to rebalance my struggling body. At the time, it was difficult to get K2 in the U.S., and I could only acquire K1, which can be risky if you are dealing with the implications of a clotting disorder.
K2 does not have those same implications.
Please note, Vitamin K2 is a very different beast than Vitamin K1. We only supplement with the K2 form.
- Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is mostly from microbial origin
- Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is mostly from leafy greens
The International Journal of Molecular Science has several profound writings on Vitamin K2 and D3. Please read this study in full about the differences between K1 and K2 in health and disease.
This excerpt is particularly interesting:
“Vitamin K is an essential bioactive compound required for optimal body function. Vitamin K can be present in various isoforms, distinguishable by two main structures, namely, phylloquinone (K1) and menaquinones (K2). The difference in structure between K1 and K2 is seen in different absorption rates, tissue distribution, and bioavailability. Although differing in structure, both act as cofactor for the enzyme gamma-glutamylcarboxylase, encompassing both hepatic and extrahepatic activity. Only carboxylated proteins are active and promote a health profile like hemostasis. Furthermore, vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 has been shown to be a bioactive compound in regulating osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, cancer and inflammatory diseases without risk of negative side effects or overdosing. This review is the first to highlight differences between isoforms vitamin K1 and K2 by means of source, function, and extrahepatic activity.”
The correlation with Vitamin K2 combating Diabetes, promoting weight loss and having a profound effect on obesity is strong, too!
“8.3. Vitamin K2: Diabetes Mellitus—
"Long-term supplementation of vitamin K2 has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes development. The largest study, with 38,000 men and women, aged 20–70, demonstrated that just 10 μg/day of K2 decreases diabetes risk by 7% . The mechanism by which this K2 may act in doing so is beginning to be unraveled. Vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin, which has been shown in vitro to promote proliferation of pancreatic beta cells as well as increasing insulin production and expression of CyclinD1 [77,78,79]. The specific mechanism is currently under research and it is hypothesized that osteocalcin, lectin and adiponectin have an intricate network for glucose metabolism that can be modulated by vitamin K2 .”
I would not release a Vitamin D supplement without adding Vitamin K2 to it!
The two work together to create a homeostasis, to prevent imbalance and prevent improper distribution of calcium, glucose and immune modulating hormones. It is good to have a strong immune system but when you have an autoimmune disorder like myself, balance is what we want—not hyper or suppressed. (Get ready for another one of my analogies...)
Together D3 and K2 are like a beautiful and powerful German Shepherd that is well trained and a pleasure to be around. Alone, Vitamin D3 is like that same dog but not under control and without a guided purpose. (Very strong but unpredictable in its action and not of service.) These two fat soluble Vitamins are best together.
I would personally never supplement with Vitamin K1, either!
Why can so many people benefit from Supplementing with K2?
There are many theories but when you study how it is acquired naturally and metabolized, food-based vitamin K3 absorption requires strong gut flora, balanced adrenal output and thyroid hormones, a and a liver that's not overburdened Proper bile salt secretion is needed too, and this is not the case if you have had your gallbladder removed, have high cholesterol, high triglycerides or difficulty metabolizing pockets of fat.
Hmm... Sound familiar? I think many of us struggle with some or all of these! You'd also need to be committed to a highly fermented diet to get enough— even if your metabolism is perfect. I love fermented salsa, but I know that will only get me so far.
Anytime you consider taking any fat soluble vitamin (ADEK) you want to be confident about the source and the blend! REMEMBER, THE LIVER MUST METABOLIZE THESE!!
You might want to consider upgrading you supplement regimen (not regime) with our D3 & K2, but first please read the first two articles I wrote in this series:
As always, I am honored to be on this journey with you!