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A Crucial Nutrient for Heart Health & Bone Strength

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One of the key factors explaining today’s high rates of chronic disease, besides poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. It is estimated that 85 percent of Americans have insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Sadly, when the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) released their updated recommendations for vitamin D (and calcium) on November 30, 2010, it caused shockwaves of disappointment through the natural health community.

According to the IOM, the new recommended daily allowance (RDA) for pregnant women and adults up to 70 years of age is the same as that for infants and children — a measly 600 IU’s. This despite the overwhelming evidence showing that vitamin D is extremely important for a wide variety of health conditions besides bone health, and that most people need about 10 times this amount or more.

The best ways to increase your vitamin D levels, in my order of preference, are by:

1. Exposing your skin natural sunlight. Vitamin D from sunlight acts as a pro-hormone, rapidly converting in your skin into 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or vitamin D3.

2. Using a safe home tanning bed like the Sun Splash to achieve similar results as that from natural sunlight exposure.

3. Taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement whenever natural sun exposure is not an option.

For more about vitamin D and how to get the appropriate test of your blood levels, please listen to my free one hour lecture about vitamin D, and refer to my vitamin D resource page.

Vitamin K Basics

Vitamin K may very well end up being as important for you as vitamin D, as research continues to illuminate the growing list of its benefits for your health. Vitamin K is probably where vitamin D was 10 years ago, with respect to its appreciation as a vital nutrient that has far more advantages than originally thought.

And, according to Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world’s top researchers into vitamin K, nearly everyone is deficient in it — just like most people are deficient in vitamin D.

Most of you get enough K from your diet to maintain adequate blood clotting, but NOT enough to offer protection against the following health problems — and the list continues to grow:

  • Arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease and varicose veins
  • Osteoporosis
  • Prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer and leukemia
  • Brain health problems, including dementia (the specifics of which are under study)
  • Tooth decay
  • Infectious diseases such as pneumonia

Vitamin K exists in two basic forms, K1 and K2:

1. Vitamin K1: Found in green vegetables, K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system. (This is the kind of K that infants need to help prevent a serious bleeding disorder.)

2. Vitamin K2: Bacteria produce this type of vitamin K. It is present in high quantities in your gut, but unfortunately is not absorbed from there and passes out in your stool. K2 goes straight to vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than your liver.

Making a long story even longer, there are several different forms of vitamin K2: MK4, MK7, MK8, and MK9. The form of vitamin K that has the most significance for our purposes here is MK7, a newer and longer acting form with more practical applications.

Most vitamin K2 supplements are in the form MK7.

MK7 is extracted from the Japanese fermented soy product called natto. You could actually get loads of MK7 from consuming natto as it is relatively inexpensive, and is available in most Asian food markets. Few people, however, tolerate its smell and slimy texture, so most people who find natto unpalatable prefer to take a supplement. You can also get MK7 by eating fermented cheeses.

Now, how do vitamin D and vitamin K play together?

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, General Health, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, Osteoporosis, , , , , , ,

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90ís he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

41 comments

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4:20AM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

Thanks

6:31AM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

very good info- thanks!

12:41AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Very interesting article. Noted with thanks.

6:22PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Raw foods is not recommended for people with a comprised immune system. Will you people, who write these articles, keep that in mind! These articles that blithely recommend raw foods, and vegan diets drive me crazy! Just eating raw fruit, besides bananas, is a risk for me.

2:46PM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

It is usually better to get nutrients from food, but since so many people are deficient in vitamin D and/or cannot metabolize it efficiently, people may need to take a supplement.

4:05AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

is it better to get it from food, or a pilll?

3:07AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

I take a supplement.

1:01AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

Thanks

7:26PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

thanks for the article.

6:19AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

I take Viactiv caramel chews for Vitamin D. They are like candy and healthy! Thank you.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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