Have you heard about these two vitamins and why you need them? Learn more about the benefits of Vitamin D3 & K2 ahead!

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The Benefits of Vitamin D3 & K2

Vitamin D breaks down into two sub vitamins including ergocalciferol-D2, cholecalciferol-D3!

Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is found in some plant foods and is completely inactive in our bodies.

This is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Having the right amount of vitamin Dcalcium, and phosphorus is important for building and keeping strong bones. Vitamin D is used to treat and prevent bone disorders.

Where does Vitamin D come from?

Vitamin D production in the skin under the influence of sunlight (UVB) is maximized at levels of sunlight exposure that do not burn the skin. This vitamin and its metabolites are carried in the blood bound to vitamin D binding protein (DBP) and albumin.

Vitamin D3 synthesis

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced in the skin under the effects of ultraviolet radiation (sunlight). This is the active form that our body utilizes in order to carry out many important metabolic processes.

Vitamin D3 produced in the epidermis must be further metabolized to be active. The first step, 25-hydroxylation, takes place primarily in the liver, although other tissues have this enzymatic activity as well.

Vitamin D3 is the form that is already stored in the body, so some studies have found it to be more effective.

Vitamin D inhibitors

Some factors that may reduce or block its absorption include:

  1. Conditions such as celiac disease, chronic pancreatitisCrohn’s disease, and cystic fibrosis. These can all affect the intestines, preventing them from absorbing vitamin D found in food.
  2. BMI (body mass index) higher than 30. Subcutaneous body fat can sequester, or trap, vitamin D, which is why deficiency is a greater concern in those who are obese. 
  3. Liver or kidney disease. Both diseases can negatively affect how your body processes vitamin DKidney disease may cause a person to have trouble processing vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol, which is used throughout the body. Some forms of liver disease cause problems with fat absorption, also making it harder to absorb vitamin D
  4. Radiation treatment. This type of cancer treatment can make it harder for the intestines to absorb vitamin D.
  5. Weight loss surgery. These procedures reduce the size of the stomach or bypass part of the small intestine, thus making it harder for the body to consume adequate levels of many vitamins and minerals including vitamin D.

Sources of Vitamin D

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Eggs 

These are some nutritious sources of fat that help boost your vitamin D absorption.

Take vitamin D with healthy fat, such as sliced avocado, because it is a fat-soluble vitamin that requires fat to be absorbed.

Studies indicate that having vitamin D with a large meal or source of fat can significantly increase absorption.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years. This powerful nutrient plays an essential role in many aspects of your health.

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K was discovered in 1929 as an essential nutrient for blood coagulation (blood clotting).

It was also discovered by the dentist Weston Price, who traveled the world in the early 20th century studying the relationship between diet and disease in different populations.

He found that the non-industrial diets were high in some unidentified nutrients, which seemed to provide protection against tooth decay and chronic disease.

He referred to this mystery nutrient as “activator X,” which is now believed to have been vitamin K2.

There are two forms: K1 (found in plant foods) and K2 (found in animal and fermented foods).

There are two main forms of vitamin K:

  • Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): Found in plant foods like leafy greens.
  • Vitamin K2 (menaquinone): Found in animal foods, preserved foods & fermented foods.

Different forms of Vitamin K

Vitamin K activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism, and heart health.

Recent reports have attributed the potential health benefits of vitamin K beyond its function to activate hepatic coagulation factors.

One of its most important functions is to regulate calcium deposition. In other words, it promotes the calcification of bones and prevents the calcification of blood vessels and kidneys.

It contributes to skin health and bone metabolism, promotes proper brain function, and prevents heart-related diseases.

Furthermore, Vitamin K2 is important in the body’s use of calcium to help build bones and to inhibit blood vessel calcification.

In a new study, scientists have presented powerful evidence that vitamin K2 can reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, the “blockage” of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Vitamin K functions as a coenzyme for vitamin K-dependent carboxylase, an enzyme required for the synthesis of proteins involved in hemostasis (blood clotting) and bone metabolism, and other diverse physiological functions.

How does Vitamin K get to the intestines?

Like dietary lipids and other fat-soluble vitamins, ingested vitamin K is incorporated into mixed micelles via the action of bile and pancreatic enzymes, and it is absorbed by enterocytes of the small intestine. From there, vitamin K is incorporated into chylomicrons, secreted into the lymphatic capillaries, transported to the liver, and repackaged into very-low-density lipoproteins.

Vitamin K is present in the liver and other body tissues, including the brain, heart, pancreas, and bone.

Vitamin K inhibitors

Bile acid sequestrants, such as cholestyramine (Questran®) and colestipol (Colestid®), are used to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing the reabsorption of bile acids. They can also reduce the absorption of vitamin K and other fat-soluble vitamins, although the clinical significance of this effect is not clear

Antibiotic medicines may destroy vitamin-K-producing bacteria in the gut, thereby potentially decreasing vitamin K levels, especially if taking the medicine for more than a few weeks.

Vitamin K sources:

Food sources include vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, and some fruits. Meat, dairy foods, and eggs contain low levels of phylloquinone but modest amounts of menaquinones

Other fermented foods, such as cheese, also contain menaquinones.

However, the forms and amounts of vitamin K in these foods likely vary depending on the bacterial strains used to make the foods and their fermentation conditions

The most common sources of vitamin K in the U.S. diet are spinach; broccoli; iceberg lettuce; and fats and oils, particularly soybean and canola oil.

Few foods are fortified with vitamin K; breakfast cereals are not typically fortified with vitamin K, although some meal replacement shakes, and bars are.

So, we now know about vitamins D and K separately, let’s take a further look into their marriage!

The talk around town is that Vitamin D and K when taken together is a powerhouse!!!

Vitamin D3 & K2

Vitamin D functional deficiency is widespread in human populations. However, vitamin K₁ (phylloquinone) is more abundant in foods but less bioactive than the vitamin K₂ (menaquinone)

Vitamins D and K are both fat-soluble vitamins and play a central role in calcium metabolism. Vitamin D promotes the production of vitamin K-dependent proteins, which require vitamin K for carboxylation in order to function properly.

Current research shows the important synergistic relationship between Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3. Taking Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 helps to ensure the calcium transported by the Vitamin D is absorbed by your bones where it’s needed, rather than accumulating in deposits in your arteries.

Separately, K2 regulates normal blood clotting, whilst D3 supports a healthy immune system and supports muscle function.

Other health benefits of Vitamin D3 & K2:

  • Immune system function
  • Bone growth and density
  • The health of many tissues in the body, including prostate, colon, and breast
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Blood sugar balance
  • Healthy mood, mental clarity, and productivity

Who might benefit from taking Vitamin D3/K2?

  • Anyone who needs support for bone growth and density
  • Anyone looking to support their immune system
  • Those who do not get enough sun exposure
  • Anyone who may not eat many vitamin-D foods sources, like duck eggs, sardines, mackerel, and beef liver
  • Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • Athletes and physically active individuals

How does the body make calcium?

Vitamin D is important in calcium metabolism, vitamin K2 is also important to calcium metabolism if you take too much vitamin D and you’re taking other calcium supplements there will be a calcium excess in the body.

About 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones, and the remaining 1% is found in the blood, muscles, and other tissues.

Consequently, the calcium will have nowhere to go but to the body’s tissues, joints, arteries, and or veins which will lead to calcification, and if worsen this can result in hypercalcemia.

Correspondingly, for a visual K2 paired with D3 is like a crossing guard, the calcium is the traffic/cars and K2 is the guard telling calcium which tissues to go into as well as bones and teeth respectively.

Oral supplementation of D3 is the easiest means to prevent deficiencies.

A frequent argument against supplementation of vitamin D3 is that an increased intake could lead to vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D.

This again can cause hypercalcemia, which is the buildup of calcium in the blood leading to vascular calcification, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.

Together with D3, vitamin K2 and magnesium should be supplemented to prevent long-term health risks.

It is highly suggested to also consider K2 and magnesium intake to avoid unintended long-term side-effects such as arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis.

Other related articles:

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  2. Vegan Brain Booster Foods
  3. Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Metabolism
  4. 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System
  5. How To Stay Healthy When Traveling

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