Vitamin K2 Builds Stronger Bones

November 21, 2016

Vitamin K2 Builds Stronger Bones


 Reference: European Jr of Endocrinology    Published Nov 21, 2016 

 Vitamin K2 is going to be the story of the decade when it comes to bone health. Why? Well, hip fracture is currently happening at a rate of 17% of elderly Caucasian women and 6% of Caucasian men. African Americans are lucky, breaking their hips much less frequently than Caucasian women. But the incidence of osteoporosis is increasing around the world with rates dramatically rising in countries where doubling and tripling of rates of fracture in the last few decades is not uncommon. 

And hip fracture is not safe for you! It dramatically increases your mortality in the following 12 months with as many as a third of folks never escaping hospitals or chronic care facilities after their fractures. Kids need K2 also. You reach maximum bone density around age 20-25 and that predicts what will happen to you over your remaining 60 years. Did you know that the rate of forearm fracture in kids has increased from 262 / 100,000 in 1969 to 399.8 in 1999? 

And lots of evidence aligns that with the loss of K2 in our diet, and our kids' diets. What's happening? My interpretation is that around the world we are industrializing our food supply, raising our animals on feedlots. In that context, they are losing grass as a food source, and consequently losing their source of Vitamin K which they change into K2. 

When we humans eat those animals, or their milk products, we don't get K2. And that's why I believe this article this week ought to raise eyebrows. In this study, 148 postmenopausal women who already had osteopenia were given Vitamin K2. It was randomized, placebo-controlled in methodology, so should be valid. And the results were simple and significant. K2 prevented the loss of trabecular bone compared to the placebo group. 

This is the first study I've seen in which Uncarboxylated Osteocalcin was measured and was proven to decrease (that's good) by 65%. You want your osteocalcin to be carboxylated as then it is able to bind calcium into bone. This validates the COMB study in which 77 volunteers increased bone density in just one year by 2-4 times the amount of those taking bisphonates. The COMB study wasn't randomized. They were volunteers. So, it's been questioned. 

 I've had a tricky time finding what happens to food when animals are moved from pasture to feedlot. I remember one reference that compared Gouda cheese from America to Dutch gouda and saw a 90% difference. But I can't provide that reference. There is lots of evidence that the bacteria that make gouda actually make K2 themselves. This makes gouda a very good source of K2. 

 Can you get enough K2 in your diet today? Well, no. To get 45 mcg, the minimum you should have a day, you would need to eat 5 Liters of yogurt, 8 eggs, 5 liters of milk and 8 pounds of beef. Not practical. If your meat is grass raised, well, better. We just don't know how much. If you look at guidelines for preventing hip fracture and osteoporosis, you don't see mention of K2 yet. It should be there. If you know it, you are ahead of national guidelines. 

Now that we can measure uncarboxylated osteocalcin, it will soon become apparent and it will become part of our annual examination.

 www. What Will Work for Me? I think K2 is a critical nutrient that every human should be on. We used to get it when we ate grass-raised animals. Back when we were hunter-gatherers or primitive farmers, that was easy. It isn't easy now. But one in six of us breaking a hip should give us pause and passion. Use that passion to buy some gouda cheese, and take K2 for the rest of your life. Think of the investment in you that makes. Ask your doctor to order your uncarboxylated osteocalcin. (Have a sense of humor.....they will look at you like you were a little daft.) 

 Pop Quiz

1. My risk of breaking a hip is? ‪                       Answer:  Caucasian American Women 17%, Men 6%, African American Less, Asian in Asia, Less ‪

2. If I take K2 I can expect my osteocalcin to become decarboxylated. T or F?                  Answer:  False. It becomes carboxylated, and that is what actives it. Simply put, it completes the basket that holds calcium tightly. Without K2, you can't hold calcium tightly. 

 ‪3. This week's study has validity because?                      Answer.  It was a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Nice work ‪

4. The COMB study showed that folks decreased their risk of hip fracture? T or F?                Answer:  False. That wasn't proven. But their bone density increased up to 8% within one year. And in my practice, I've seen several folks hit 7% with a year. ‪

5. K2 is widely appreciated in national guidelines. T or F?           Answer  Not yet. Hardly made a peep.