Strong bones are key for a strong, healthy body, but some of the most beneficial vitamins for bone health, vitamins D3 and k2, are much lesser known than the mineral calcium. While inadequate calcium intake can lead to decreased bone mineral density, vitamins D3 and K2 impact how calcium is utilized in the body – and whether that calcium will be able to help support the health of your bones.
In recent years, scientific evidence has suggested that consuming calcium supplements may raise the risk of heart disease due to accelerated deposits of calcium in blood vessel walls and soft tissues. Put simply, if you are consuming extra calcium, your body may be misusing this mineral, which can then build up in your blood vessels.
However, vitamin K2 intake has been shown to lower those calcium-associated health risks including osteoporosis. The vitamin has also been shown to prevent the calcification and stiffening of arteries. In fact, one study showed that participants who also took vitamin K2 experienced an improvement in arterial elasticity and a regression of normal, age-related arterial stiffening.1 This demonstrates that this small but mighty vitamin can help your body optimize its calcium use to prevent negative health impacts – while still keeping your bones strong and healthy.
Vitamin D3, on the other hand, is essential for healthy calcium absorption and bone mineralization. This is the process that ultimately allows your body to maintain a healthy bone mineral density. Inadequate amounts of vitamin D have been noted in several populations and is a particular concern for older people. Vitamin D3 deficiency can be a cause of rickets, osteomalacia, increased bone metabolism, and enhanced fracture risk.2
Ultimately, these two dynamic vitamins work together in harmony to regulate calcium absorption in your body. While vitamin D3 ensures that there is enough calcium in your body to meet your needs, vitamin K can regulate the distribution of calcium in a few different ways. Vitamin K helps direct beneficial calcium to your bones and teeth while simultaneously preventing it from accumulating in your soft tissues.
Despite the clear and substantial benefits of vitamin K2, the typical Western diet contains very little of this key vitamin. Vitamin K is almost nonexistent in junk foods, so a deficiency of this vitamin is relatively common in the United States where eating “junk food” is common. Similarly, vitamin D is generally derived from exposure to sunlight. However, because many people in the U.S. are “cave dwellers” (I.e. they spend very little time outside), vitamin D deficiency is common. Additionally, when a person is outside in sunlight, the use of sunscreen can reduce vitamin D synthesis to about 7%. Very few dietary sources naturally contain vitamin D3 in sufficient quantities and many dietary sources of vitamin D3 are derived from animal sources (not preferable).
Vitamins D3 and K2 are key nutrients to help you enjoy healthy bones and teeth. Research has shown that they are more effective when taken together. If you are struggling with bone health, consider taking a plant-based, whole-food vitamin D3 and K2 supplement from a reputable company.