Much research has been published into the health benefits of vitamin D, but now new research is demonstrating that vitamin D3 combined with vitamin K2 can pack a powerful health punch. This potent combination is particularly effective for bone strength and cardiovascular health. Let’s take a look at these vitamins in more detail.
Vitamin D is essential for a wide variety of functions, including helping to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These substances are needed for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D may have other important roles in the body including regulating cell growth1, neuromuscular and immune function and reducing inflammation2. Vitamin D is found in a small number of foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals but the best form is through exposing the skin to sunlight. Vitamin D from sunlight acts as a pro-hormone, rapidly converting to vitamin D3.
Rather than being a single nutrient, vitamin K is actually the name given to a group of vitamins of similar composition. The two main groups of vitamin K that occur naturally are vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone). K1 is found in many green vegetables and K2 is produced by bacteria. Vitamin K2 is an important fat-soluble vitamin that plays critical roles in protecting the heart and brain and building strong bones3. Its role in the body is to help move calcium into the right areas, such as the bones and teeth. It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be such as in the arteries and soft tissues. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term ‘hardening of the arteries.’
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VITAMIN D3 AND VITAMIN K2
Supplementing with vitamin D greatly enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium. However, vitamin K2 is necessary to move the calcium where it is supposed to be in the body. Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin produced by osteoblasts, which helps to bind calcium into the matrix of the bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into the arteries. Thus, without vitamin K2, the calcium brought into the body by vitamin D may begin to build up in the arteries rather than in the bones. Vitamin K and vitamin D work together to increase Matrix GLA Protein (or MGP) the protein which protects the blood vessels from calcification.
Vitamin D3 and K2 are combined in this handy spray to provide 1000iu D3 and 100mcg K2 per serving. Suitable for vegans.
1. Agarwal C, Lambert A, Chandraratna RA, Rorke EA, Eckert RL. Vitamin D regulates human ectocervical epithelial cell proliferation and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 level. Biol Reprod. 1999. 60(3):567-72.
2. Zhang Y, Leung DY, Richers BN, Liu Y, Remigio LK, Riches DW, Goleva E. Vitamin D inhibits monocyte/macrophage proininflammatory cytokine production by targeting MAPK phosphatase-1. J Immunol. 2012 Mar 1;188(5):2127-35.
3. Kaneki, M. Vitamin K2 as a protector of bone health and beyond. Clin Calcium. 2005 Apr; 15 (4): 605-10.