I read an interesting discussion concerning Vitamin K2 and bones the other day that reminded me again of the confusion that surrounds Vitamin K. There are several forms of Vitamin K (Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin K3).
Most people have heard about Vitamin K1 and its importance for helping hemophiliacs avoid bleeding to death. This may lead you to believe that if you take Vitamin K, your blood might clot. The good news is that though Vitamin K1 does help stop the bleeding for a hemophiliac, it does not cause clotting.
Now that we have that out of the way, what I really want to focus on is Vitamin K2 – which also has 2 forms-MK-4 and MK-7. MK-4 is the natural form – and is most easily absorbed.
In recent years there has been a lot of research on the other forms of Vitamin K. Also, there is a vast difference between the synthetic man-made Vitamin K3 and the natural Vitamin K2 which is recommended for bones as well as heart health.
In the bone, Vitamin K2 -the MK-4 form, has been shown to decrease fractures and has been approved by the Ministry of Health in Japan since 1995 for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. It has been demonstrated to decrease fractures by up to 87%!
Sadly Vitamin K2 therapy has not been approved by our FDA for osteoporosis treatment. Instead, they continue to approve the dangerous bisphosphonate drugs even after ordering a warning on the label that those drugs contribute to brittle bones – in October 2010.
Isn’t it interesting to note that Japan has a much lower incidence of osteoporosis than the United States & the UK where bisphosphonates are the standard treatment?
Vitamin K2 helps to carry calcium to the bones where it is needed. But a lack of Vitamin K2 allows the calcium to be deposited in the arteries and other soft tissue causing hardening of the arteries and many other cardiac problems as well as osteoporosis.
The sad part of this scenario is the widely prescribed use of coumadin which completely destroys Vitamin K2. Many doctors prescribe this drug for seniors, in spite of the well-known side-effects, while at the same time they encourage their patients to take large amounts of calcium.
That combination produces hardening of the arteries (or arterial calcification) and heart problems as well as osteoporosis.
Some Vitamin K2 could be produced by certain bacteria in the intestines but the abuse of antibiotics in our country prevents this from happening. You see, the good Vitamin K2 producing bacteria in the intestines are destroyed by the antibiotics along with the bad bacteria.
I am happy to learn that an increasing number of physicians have begun to integrate nutritional and supplement therapy into their practices to provide their patients with remedies and preventive measures for coping with some of these serious conditions without side effects.
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