Supplementation continues to be a gap in the field of medicine and dentistry. Very few health professionals recommend adequate supplementation to improve immunity and bone metabolism, which is so important for recovery, while also contributing to the success of surgeries. In addition, certain types of supplementation help prevent certain diseases and improve the quality of life of our patients. Which brings us to the importance of the super vitamin: vitamin K2/mk7.
Recent studies show that mk7 (menaquinone), also known as vit K2, not only keeps our bones strong and healthy, but our teeth as well, because it has the ability to prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin K2 also has the capacity to displace minerals from the soft tissue, reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis, therefore preventing the risk of heart disease. Vitamin K2 is also considered an essential vitamin for longevity, as it is able to help with collagen synthesis. In addition, it reduces the risk of diabetes through insulin sensitivity and increases men’s fertility by increasing testosterone levels. Last but not least, this vitamin is also capable of improving cognitive abilities.
In 1945, Dr. Weston Price, the father of biological dentistry, nutritionist and head of the research department at the ADA – American Dental Association at the time, discovered a new “activator” which, according to his research, plays an essential role in the storage of minerals, in the prevention of dental caries, bone growth and development, the position and anatomy of teeth, ageing, reproduction and protection against heart disease, and brain function. Dr. Weston Price called this activator “Activator X”. But it was not until 2008 that the conclusion that “Activator X” was actually vitamin K2 was reached. This happened when Christopher Masterjohn combined the studies by Weston Price, by the US Department of Agriculture and by Tufts University to discover this formula: Activator X = Vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2/mk7 (menaquinone) is bacterial in origin and occurs almost exclusively in animal and fermented foods: raw sauerkraut, cheese, egg yolk, meat, and in the popular Japanese food Nattō, which consists of fermented soybeans. However, it can also be produced by bacteria (e.g. from some strains of Escherichia coli or Bacteroides fragilis) in the intestine.
Vitamin K2/mk7 does not present toxicity when consumed in excess and has no side effects. It is advised that patients taking anticoagulants should restrict their K2/mk7 intake to 100 μg per day.
But what is the basis of the extremely positive effect of vitamin K2?
MK7 is able to activate the so-called GLA proteins by inducing carboxylation, which causes calcium to be moved by these GLA proteins in our tissues (vessels, connective tissue and bone). The most important GLA protein is probably OSTEOCALCIN. It constitutes about 2% of the collagen-free extracellular bone matrix and is a marker for bone formation and quality.
Before mentioning all the positive effects of osteocalcin, it is important to emphasise that it is only effective in its carboxylated form (activated osteocalcin) and must be present in sufficient quantity.
Osteocalcin is encoded by a gene in the chromosome – but its synthesis must be initiated by 1,25(OH)-vitamin D3, the active vitamin D3 calcitriol hormone. Now, osteocalcin can be produced by osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and odontoblasts (teeth-forming cells). The osteoblasts and odontoblasts activity is controlled by the D3 calcitriol hormone. At the same time, D3 reabsorbs calcium and phosphorus in the intestine, while synthesising a calcium-binding protein in the mucous membrane of the small intestine. Even the reabsorption of calcium and phosphorus in the kidneys is controlled by D3.
– without sufficient levels of vitamin D3, there is no production of osteocalcin.
– without sufficient levels of vitamin K2/mk7, there is no activation of osteocalcin and, therefore, there is an accumulation of minerals in the soft tissues and blood vessels.
What are the effects of osteocalcin?
- Optimisation of bone density: it is able to protect our body against over and undermineralisation. It is effective against osteoporosis, especially in the elderly over 75 years. From the age of 35 onwards, bone loses 1 to 1.5% of its substance per year – this phenomenon occurs even faster in postmenopausal women.
- Prevention of arteriosclerosis or even its reversal: it protects against cardiovascular diseases (embolism, heart attack, stroke), given that minerals are removed by osteocalcin from the vascular walls and transported back to the bone.
- Prevents congestion in veins and lymphatic vessels: better detoxification and reduction of cell and body ageing.
- The anti-aging effect of K2/mk7 reduces age-related chronic inflammation: smoother, more youthful looking skin.
- Significantly reduced cancer risk in people with high levels of K2.
- Prevention of type 2 diabetes: decrease in fat cells and blood sugar reduction, stimulating insulin production in pancreatic islet β cells and releasing adiponectin (has multiple effects on lipid and glucose metabolism and on target tissue sensitivity to insulin).
- Increased fertility in men: as osteocalcin binds to GLA protein-coupled receptors, the release of enzymes is induced, which is necessary for the production of testosterone.
In this context, another important GLA protein is MGP (matrix GLA protein), which is also carboxylated and activated by K2/mk7. Together with osteocalcin, it dissolves minerals in soft tissue (e.g., vessels), while osteocalcin transports minerals to the bone.
Unfortunately, calcium supplements are incorrectly prescribed, especially for women who suffer from osteoporosis. As described above, osteoporosis is not a “calcium deficiency disease”, but a “calcium utilisation disease”. According to a 2011 study by Bolland, the risk of heart attacks in women who take calcium increases by 600%.
In conclusion, not only is vitamin K2 an extremely important cofactor of vitamin D3, vitamin K2 is incredibly valuable to our health.
At White Clinic we always recommend supplements that contain the right doses of D3 and vitamin K2/mk7 to our patients before and after surgery, in order to foster a successful surgery and a better recovery.
*Dr. Ana Paz, Science, Research and Daily Practice at White Clinic