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  • Writer's pictureAnna Rathbun, NC

Are Calcium Supplements Helping or Hurting?

Are you taking calcium with the good intention of building strong bones, only to cause heart disease, bone spurs and kidney stones? We know that calcium is required for strong bones along with magnesium and vitamin d for absorption. There is a missing link in the story. Vitamin D helps calcium absorb into the bloodstream, but doesn’t help that calcium get into the bones. It’s hard to get that calcium deposited nicely into the bone structure and if the body doesn’t have the necessary tools to put calcium into bone then the calcium will just deposit wherever is easiest.

Vitamin K2 puts the Calcium into the Bones

Vitamin K2 is a fat soluble vitamin made by fermenting vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 is available through leafy greens and plant foods. That K1, when properly fermented, turns into K2. Vitamin K2 is available in the butter of healthy grass fed cows and in Natto, a fermented soy bean. Leafy greens full of Vitamin K1 are a healthy food, but do not equal K2 for strong bones. Most humans don’t have enough good bacteria in the gut to convert K1 into K2, but healthy grass fed cows easily convert K1 from grass into K2 for bone health. We need to get the K2 directly from food or supplements.

Sources of Vitamin K2

Grass fed butter is now widely available in supermarkets and a great source of vitamin K2. It’s worth the extra dollars and has a deep yellow color and wonderful flavor. You can purchase a powerful food supplement called high vitamin butter oil which is grass fed butter that has been concentrated to contain more vitamins. I also recommend Natto, a very stinky blue cheese style fermented soy bean paste. Natto is hard to find and has a very strong flavor, but is nutritious and rich in healthy Vitamin K2. To skip the food and go straight to supplements, choose a vitamin K2 called Menaquinone 7 or MK 7. I recommend a combination of Vitamin A, D, E and K from natural sources to be taken together. They work together in nature and in your body and should be taken together in a food source supplement.

Our bodies are a complex matrix of nutrients and taking megadoses of any one nutrient without looking at the balancing act of nutritional medicine can cause problems. In this case, bones are not built of calcium alone, but with a complex interaction of worker vitamins that deposit calcium and a complex of other minerals into bone structure.

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