Expert Advice: the dynamic duo D3 + K2
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D3 + K2 are a dynamic duo – here’s why you should take it
Q. I have been taking Vitamin D for many years as part of a preventative regimen. I recently discovered supplements containing both D3 and K2 together. How can I tell if there’s any real benefit to taking a D supplemented with K2, or should I just stick to taking D? How do the two work together?
Let’s start by examining how vitamins D3 and K2 work separately.
While most people are familiar with the vitamin alphabet A through E, vitamin K is relatively unfamiliar. That’s largely because unlike these other vitamins, vitamin K isn’t typically used as a dietary supplement (but more on that in a minute). Touted for its coagulant properties, it’s needed by the liver to create an enzyme called thrombin, which helps the blood to clot.
Vitamin D3 is the same naturally-occurring vitamin you get from the sun. In northern climates, it can be tough to get enough. It’s important to the body in many other ways, from helping our nerves need it to carry messages from the brain to the rest of the body to helping our immune systems fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
When you see vitamins D3 and K2 together in a single supplement, it’s meant for keeping your bones strong and healthy..
But I thought calcium was for bones?
Calcium and other minerals are needed for a healthy body structure. However, important cofactors like vitamins D3 and K2 help transport these minerals through your body so they are properly deposited in your bones (where they belong!)
The first step in this journey is making sure your dietary minerals are properly absorbed. Vitamin D3 works in the intestinal tract by increasing the ion permeability in your intestines. This helps increase the absorption of minerals like calcium from your intestinal tract into the bloodstream.
Then, the calcium travels through your blood. The danger here is that while it travels, some can end up getting stuck in the soft tissues of your blood vessels. This can lead to arterial hardening. Calcium build-ups here makes it harder for the heart to pump blood, reducing oxygen and blood supply. In severe cases, this can lead to heart attacks or strokes. Enter vitamin K2.
As a cofactor, vitamin K2 activates an important protein called matrix GLA. This important protein that prevents vascular calcification. That is, it keeps calcium from depositing in soft tissues, organs and blood vessels.
In the final step of this journey, vitamin K2 is called upon again to activate another important protein called osteocalcin. This protein helps deposits calcium and other minerals where we intended: in our bones.
So how can I bone up on my intake?
Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Other foods such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, margarine and breakfast cereals may be fortified with vitamin D. However, it can be extremely difficult to get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs from food.
Ultimately, two of the best ways to get vitamin D are by exposing your skin to sunlight and supplementation.
Conversely, most people get more than enough vitamin K from their diets. It’s found prevalently in green tea and dark leafy greens like kale, swiss chard and spinach. Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are also great plant-based sources of vitamin K.
Animal based sources include dairy sources like yogurt and kefir or cheese, and liver provide K2. Natto is a fermented soy product high in a potent form of K2 known as menaquinone-7, which is used in CanPrev’s D3 + K2 drops and soft gels.
This article provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.