The correct way to test your vitamin K level is not by giving you a test for a deficiency of vitamin K in your blood. No, instead, the correct or at least the best test is the test for undercarboxylated osteocalcin. What you may need is the functional assay test. A customized amount of vitamin K-2 tailored just for you is crucial for preventing calcium deposits or plaque in your arteries. You can check out studies showing a tiny amount of vitamin K-2 is used to melt away plaque from arteries.
It has been said that Jack La Lanne might have avoided a clogged, stenotic aortic valve if only he had taken vitamin K2 instead of the 1970s style of vitamin regimen that may not have included vitamin K2
When you read about the book, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life, the summary of the book on the Amazon.com website informs you that without Vitamin K2, the body cannot direct calcium to the bones where it's needed; instead, the calcium resides in soft tissue (like the arteries)—leading to a combination of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, or the dreaded "calcium paradox." This is the first book to reveal how universal a Vitamin K2 deficiency is, and the risk (in the form of cancer and diabetes, among other ailments) the absence of Vitamin K2 poses.
Written by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, a popular health expert on Canadian television and radio, "Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox" sounds a warning about the popularity of the calcium and Vitamin D craze, while illustrating the enormous health benefits of Vitamin K2 in making the body less susceptible to dental cavities, heart disease, prostate cancer, liver cancer, diabetes, wrinkles, obesity, varicose veins, and other ailments.
The book demystifies this obscure supernutrient—a fat soluble vitamin that humans once thrived on, ignored by scientists for almost seventy years. Details how the consumption of grass-fed animals led to adequate Vitamin K2 intake—while grain-based animal feed helped eradicate Vitamin K2 from our diets describes how doctors are raising recommended doses of calcium and Vitamin D—without prescribing Vitamin K2. You also may wish to research news or studies of details of more damning facts about transfats—and how the creation of a synthetic Vitamin K interfered with the body's Vitamin K metabolism.
An essential book for anyone interested in bone health, or maintaining their overall health, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox is the guide to taking the right combination of supplements—and adding Vitamin K2 to a daily regimen
If you're looking for research on health and vitamin K-2, check out some of the studies on it. Unfortunately, doctors who put people on warfarin and similar blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin, don't allow their patients to take vitamin K-2 which is a direct antagonist of K-2. So talk to your doctor if you have various health problems where you need to take blood thinners to keep your blood from throwing clots, if you have the genetic tendency to form them. Check with your health care provider.
As for the studies on vitamin K-2, you can read the numerous studies or their abstracts, "Serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin is a marker of the risk of hip fracture in elderly women," and "Serum percentage undercarboxylated osteocalcin, a sensitive measure of vitamin K status, and its relationship to bone health indices in Danish girls." Or see, "Vitamin K treatment reduces undercarboxylated osteocalcin but does not alter bone turnover, density, or geometry in healthy postmenopausal North American women." A significant number of people in the USA don't get enough vitamin K-2 from food or supplements.
Vitamin K needs to work with vitamin D3 and also with all parts of vitamin E as well as with some zinc. It doesn't work alone. That's why you need to understand how it works in your body, which has different chemistry from anyone else in the way that vitamins and other nutrients from foods are put to use or even absorbed.
Just because a few ancient mummies have been found with clogged arteries from their genes and the food they ate, doesn't mean that they were all on special reversal diets for clogged arteries that didn't work. Chances are 3,000 to 7,000 years ago people ate what they could find. And some had the genes to tolerate it, whereas others didn't and didn't know about what to eat to reverse the clogged arteries because the people probably had no way to know their arteries were filling up over the years, regardless of what exercise they did.
You can bet no one knew about vitamin K-2's effects on arterial health or bone health. Those in Japan might have known that natto kept them healthy when eaten in modest amounts, unless they were eating so much salt and fat to overwhelm any protection from vitamins in foods. The topic is open to explore for archaeogenetics specialists who look at what ancient mummies ate and the condition of any preserved arteries and organs.
The functional assay
The type of test you'd take is not a simple blood test, but a functional assay, which can tell you whether your body has enough vitamin K to perform as it should. The point is what you want to measure is whether your body has the optimal amount of vitamin K for your individual system to work optimally. What you don't want to hear is how you compare with the rest of the population, since every system works differently to a certain extent. Your body is individual genetically and metabolically.
The functional assay test is the most useful simply because it shows how much vitamin K your body really needs for health. What you don't want is a generalization of how you compare to the average guy. Your body runs by individual chemistry inside each of your cells. You're different from anyone else. And you want to know what's the optimal level for you.
How vitamin K-2 is used
You may also want to check out page 253 in the book titled, The Cholesterol Hoax, by Sherry Rogers, M.D. where the physician explains the potent protection of vitamin K2. She reports that, “Folks who have higher levels of vitamin K2 have a 57% reduction in heart disease (Geleijnse).” The reason is that Vitamin K2 controls calcium regulation and “specifically inhibits arterial vascular calcifications” (Vermeer, Shearer, Schugers.).” The physician also notes that “Vitamin K decreases circulating cholesterol. (Kawashima).”
Of course you need vitamin D3 to absorb calcium as well, and you also need magnesium in balance. So check out these references to research studies. I found an excellent article on what vitamin K2 does for the body, especially an aging one, in the July 2008 issues of the Total Wellness newsletter. And in the January 2009 issue, it's packed with information on vitamin D3 and what it does for bones and arteries along with vitamin K2. Don't exceed a daily dose of 100 mgs. of K2 in the MK-7 form with natto.
Books such as the The Cholesterol Hoax explain in plain language backed up with information from medical journals and studies why you need to have measured by tests the intracellular minerals instead of just popping calcium supplements alone which could accelerate hardening of the arteries if you don’t have the right amount of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 to help move the calcium into your bones.
You don’t want calcium that belongs in your bones calcifying on lesions inside your arteries or floating only in your blood stream
That’s why reading books and primary source medical articles help you understand how to talk better with your health care professionals and what types of blood tests to request when you see your own doctors. For more information from the primary sources, see: Vermeer, C. et al. Role of K vitamins in the regulation of tissue calcification. Journal of Bone Mineral Metabolism 19: 4:201-06, 2001.
Also see Kawashima, H. et al. Effects of vitamin K2 (menatetrenone) on atherosclerosis and blood, coagulation in hypercholesterolemia, rabbits, Japan Journal of Pharmacology, 75: 2:135-43, Oct. 1997. You can get the MK-7 form of vitamin K2 at Jarrow's or in combination with the menatetrone form at Life Extension ®. Read the article there on the studies of vitamin K2 in the MK-7 form.
MK-7 form of vitamin K2 is absorbed better and lasts longer in the blood
Don’t use this vitamin with prescription anticoagulants. Ask your doctor first before you use any vitamin. Don’t use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Talk to your healthcare practitioners before you decide whether to take this vitamin, and read books on how vitamins may affect your body.
It’s important to find out how your individual body reacts with particular vitamins and nutrients, supplements, or foods. You want to tailor your foods and nutrition to your genes, body type, and reactions. Another issue is which oils will be healthy for you.
Some Web sites state that many studies indicate that vitamin K2, especially menatetrenone, is superior to vitamin K1 in maintaining the health of the bones. For more information see the Relentless Improvement site or Carlson Labs. However, I don't use the menatetrenone form of vitamin K2 because the MK-7 form is absorbed better and lasts longer in the body.
Vitamin K2 in nature is found in egg yolks, organ meats, dairy products, and especially in cheese and other fermented dairy products such as whey curd
Vegans don't eat these. So vegans are getting the vitamin K1 form and not vitamin K2 because K1 is found in leafy green vegetables. There's a big advantage of vitamin K2 over K1. Sure, the body converts some vitamin K1 to vitamin K2, but not in that great amounts as to be beneficial to older adults or people with health issues.
Vitamin K2 is touted as being able to help keep arteries from getting calcified so quickly. But most of these studies have been done on rats. Nevertheless, I'm taking vitamin K2 in the MK-7 form because the studies are important and show the absorption into your bloodstream is efficient, more efficient than with the menatetrenone form of K2. You can read these studies at the Life Extension® site.
Also, in Japan, where the fermented soybean food called natto is eaten, the MK-7 form of vitamin K2 in the natto has been studied. And the research shows lower rates of bone loss and heart disease. Chances are about 80 percent genetic and 20 percent environment when it comes to what tends to fill up your arteries as you age. That's why so many people are on various reversal type diets and getting tested to see whether they work at to what extent.
You can eat natto, if you find it, but most people not used to it don't like the taste. In a soft gel, you can get your MK-7 form of vitamin K2 without tasting anything unpalatable. See the January 2009 issue of Life Extension® magazine to read about the MK-7 form of vitamin K2. It's online, or you can read it in print. I buy my MK-7 form of vitamin K2 at any of the online health food stores that carries the Jarrow brand.
Or buy it from the Life Extension® Foundation. Buy this form of vitamin K2 at most health stores or online. But first make sure by asking your health care provider if your body is able to take this vitamin. When you call to order it online, you are told not to take it if you are on prescribed blood thinners.
You may wish to download the MP3 podcast on vitamin K2 with the Wide World of Health (Cary Nosler) from KSTE Radio, Sacramento. It's from "The Wide World of Health 08/31 Hr 1,Sunday, August 31, 2008 10:31 AM." On the Wide World of Health show, host Cary Nosler's audio MP3 file is a "Best Of" Airing from the radio show with guest, Dr. Leon Schurgers about Cardiovascular Disease and the uses of vitamin K. It's in the "Media files, Cary Nosler 04_15_07 Hour 1.mp3 (MP3 Format Sound)." Look at the archives of recorded podcasts you can download free from the other Cary Nosler, Wide World of Health shows with interviewed guest experts.
See the abstract of research from the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, California, "A mitochondrial paradigm of metabolic and degenerative diseases , aging and cancer: a dawn for evolutionary medicine." (Wallace DC.). The mitochondria provide a direct link between our environment and our genes. And the mtDNA variants that permitted our forbears to energetically adapt to their ancestral homes are influencing our health today, the study notes.