Vitamins are crucial and essential to our health and regular wellbeing.
Globally, doctors and nutritionists are now recommending Vitamin K alongside Vitamin D.
Some sources even claiming that excess Vitamin D may be harmful if you are low on Vitamin K.
In this article, we take a look at the science behind it and recommend the best course of action for maximum Vitamin D3 and K2 benefits.
What Are Vitamins D And K — The Science?
Vitamins D and K are fat-soluble vitamins, they dissolve and absorb better in the blood when consumed with a source of fat.
Vitamin D is often called the “Sunshine Vitamin” as it’s produced by our skin when exposed to sunlight. The body regulates the amount of Vitamin D produced by the skin.
We also get Vitamin D from our diet — fatty fish, fish oil, egg yolk, fortified cereal and milk are good dietary sources of Vitamin D.
The main function of Vitamin D is to regulate calcium absorption in the body. Inadequate Vitamin D can lead to bone loss and affect the strength of teeth and the performance of the immune system.
Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and manages the accumulation of calcium in bones or teeth.
Vitamins D And K — Work As A Team
So, should you take one or the other?
When it comes to correct calcium absorption and metabolism, it’s important to take both to maximise the Vitamin D3 and K2 benefits.
Vitamin D — Its Role
Vitamin D maintains the level of calcium in the blood by
1) Improving calcium absorption — Vitamin D boosts the amount of calcium absorbed from the diet.
2) Taking calcium from the bones — In case of a calcium deficiency, to maintain adequate levels of calcium in the body, Vitamin D draws it from bones.
Calcium’s primary function to ensure healthy bone density and strong healthy teeth.
When the body does not have enough calcium, it’s forced to draw down on calcium reserves in the bones. This can lead to reduced bone density and even osteoporosis.
Chronic Vitamin D deficiencies can be painful and traumatic so it’s recommended to stay proactive and avoid it.
Vitamin K — Its Role
Vitamin D ensures adequate calcium levels in your blood. But, it does not control or regulate where this calcium ends up. This is the function of Vitamin K.
Along with Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin A and Boron it’s one of the key Vitamin D Cofactors Supplement.
Vitamin K regulates calcium absorption by
1) Promotes calcification of bones — Vitamin K activates a protein called osteocalcin that promotes the accumulation of calcium in the bones and teeth.
2) Reduces calcification of soft tissues — Vitamin K activates a matrix GLA protein, that prevents calcium from building up and accumulating in soft tissues, such as blood vessels and kidneys.
Vitamin D Without Vitamin K
Now that you know the roles of Vitamins D and K, is a high intake of Vitamin D harmful if you don’t take Vitamin K?
Some studies on high Vitamin D with low Vitamin K show a few lines of evidence:
- Very high levels of Vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia (very high levels of calcium in the blood).
- Hypercalcemia may lead to Blood Vessel Calcification (BVC).
- BVC may lead to heart disease.
With a fair bit of research in this area, it’s still not clear whether very high levels of Vitamin D with low levels of Vitamin K can lead to BVC or heart disease.
How To Get Enough Vitamin K?
There are 2 main groups of Vitamin K
- Vitamin K1 — Found in plants like kale and spinach.
- Vitamin K2 — Found in fermented foods like natto beans.
There are 2 types of Vitamin K2:
1) MK4 — Found in animal-derived foods like liver, egg yolk and cheese.
2) MK7 — Found in natto beans and also produced by your gut bacteria.
Whatever dietary lifestyle you follow, ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D from food or take supplements should you deem it necessary.
In this article, we explored the Vitamin D3 and K2 benefits.
Its no doubt that both Vitamins D and K are very important for the healthy function and maintenance of our bones, teeth, heart and immune system.
However, there is still a fair bit of research ongoing to conclude whether high levels of Vitamin D with low Vitamin K actually causes heart or other health problems down the line.
Nevertheless, we recommend staying on top of both Vitamins regularly.