What is K2+D3 & Why It's Important For Your Bones
1st August, 2020
However, calcium is not the only nutrient that your bones need.
There are other nutrients your bones need to help keep them strong and sturdy such as vitamin K2 and vitamin D3.
This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is often overlooked for bone health but plays such a critical role. Vitamin K2, is a member of the Vitamin K family. There are two primary nutrients in the vitamin K family, vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is not to be confused with vitamin K1, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables and plays a role in blood clotting.
Vitamin K2 has a different role altogether, by supporting calcium absorption in bones and supporting healthy cardiovascular system function. It is also known as a menaquinone of which there are two derivatives, MK-4 and MK-7. Vitamin K2 is naturally found in fermented foods which are often part of Asian or Eastern European diets but not commonly eaten in Western-style diets. It can also be found in animal foods and to a certain extent, vitamin K2 can be produced by the bacteria in our gut.
Vitamin D3 (Colecalciferol) is also a fat soluble vitamin like vitamin K2. Vitamin D3 is lovingly known as the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin produces vitamin D in response to sunlight. However, like vitamin K there are a few substrates which include vitamin D1, D2, and D3. Your body’s ability to produce vitamin D greatly depends on a number of factors. The earth tilt and latitudes either below or above 33° diminish the skins ability to produce any vitamin D. The addition of sunscreens, aging and darker skin tones also hinders your ability to produce vitamin D via the sun.
How do these vitamins help with bone health?
Vitamin D helps with calcium and phosphorous (another mineral important for bone health) metabolism by increasing absorption of these minerals in various ways. Firstly, via enhancing dietary absorption in the digestive system, secondly via increasing kidney re-absorption (calcium) and finally by activating bone reabsorption.
In the bone tissue vitamin D3 stimulates osteoblastic cells (cells which develop in bone tissue) to produce osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is a protein which binds calcium and incorporates it into the bone. Osteocalcin is dependent on Vitamin K for its activation.
In simple terms, vitamin D help stimulate osteoblastic cells to produce osteocalcin, Osteocalcin is then activated by Vitamin K2. The activated osteocalcin then forms a complex with calcium which is transported and incorporated into the bone matrix. Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3 therefore work together to increase the metabolism of calcium in the bones, enhance bone mineralisation, promote bone mass density and improve bone health.
So, now we can see that calcium does not work alone and whilst, we may think we can easily increase our bone health by eating or drinking more calcium dense products, we need to think of calcium’s vital co-factors to support optimal bone health - it is more than just about calcium!