You DO need vitamin D, but you also need vitamin K2

Friday 09 January, 2015    


  • Should you be putting crampons on to get this important vitamin?

  • Here are the five major vitamin D facts

  • Plus the ideal solution to getting you through the next three months


So, who has heard about K2?

If you’re thinking about the second highest mountain in the world have a point; but win this round if you know about the variant of vitamin K that has proven to be the key to cardiovascular health.

More importantly it is also a major part of the vitamin D story at this time of year too, something that has been getting a lot of media attention of late.

I am a fully paid up believer that we all need a daily supplement of ‘the sunshine vitamin’ but there is a growing tendency for people to complicate the message.

So today I want to simplify the whole thing, and consider how the vitamin K2 element fits into a healthy lifestyle too... let me explain.

The vitamin D facts

Here are the five indisputable things we should all know;

1) Vitamin D is vital to allow our bodies to utilise calcium to protect and build our bones and teeth, which means even if you are eating plenty of calcium rich foods you might not be getting the benefit if you don’t have a rich supply of vitamin D. In addition it has been strongly linked to mood, a fully functioning immune system and reducing inflammation.

2) Even though we think of vitamins as being nutrients that we need to take as part of our diet, vitamin D is actually a hormone that we can make for ourselves. Importantly this essential vitamin is one of those that is fat-soluble so if you have a reduced fat diet this puts your ability to maintain good levels at risk.

3) Sunshine is where we get our vitamin D from, it is made in our skin and transported throughout the body when we get at least 30 minutes direct exposure to sunlight when it is full in the sky. For those over the age of 65, or with dark skin or even if you don’t get outside enough vitamin D becomes an issue as the skin isn’t making enough.

4) Vitamin D is available naturally in two main forms known as D2 and D3. D3 is by far and away the most useful being immediately bio-active however, it is quickly synthesised or lost to the body – plus much of it comes from animal origin, which isn’t available for vegetarian and vegans. Vitamin D2 is a more robust form that is principally derived from plant sources, especially yeasts, in the body these two forms of the vitamin are of similar potency(1) and generate increases in physiological activity in the same way: At higher concentrations though the D3 form seems more potent. 

5) New research shows that for virtually everyone in the UK we are deficient in this essential vitamin, especially between January and March, even those who work outside. The quality and length of sunlight hours just isn’t enough and as reported by  the UK media recently at least one in five adults need daily supplements to keep their levels topped up. Our children are also at risk of developing problems due to deficiency with the Daily Telegraph reporting in October last year that numbers affected has tripled in the last four years. 

I am well aware that there has been a number of commentators who believe that the whole story about deficiency has been blown out of proportion by those with a vested interest in trying to sell supplements – and they cite varyingly accurate data to say we don’t need it.

But people, we do... and importantly we need it right now, and for at least the next three months and in the most available and effective form.

But what of the big debate about K2?

Naturally I knew that vitamin K was vitally important to us for blood clotting and works as an adjunct vitamin D for building bones and teeth – plus that we get plenty of it from green leafy vegetables and cereals.

What I hadn’t realised though was that this was the common K1 version, and that there were other versions in particular K2 which was being flagged as key to cardiovascular health and a series of other major health benefits.

This information sent me into a frenzy of research, not least was how I could get a little more K2 into my diet...

...and once again I found myself smiling.

A [few weeks ago I told you about the conspiracy against healthy fats that was putting your health at risk] and here was a perfect example of what I was talking about.

Generation after generation have been brainwashed to believe that margarine, low fat spreads and fat free yoghurts were the panacea of health – and misguided dieticians continue to proffer this viewpoint even though it has been repeatedly shown to be complete hogwash.

You see we need fat in our diet as that is the only way we can get fat-soluble vitamins into our bodies – and vitamin K2 is just one of those (so is vitamin K1 too by the way!)

By eating a balanced, sensible and proportionate diet which includes hard cheeses, butter and egg yolks you will have access to sufficient K2 to prevent problems.

Who would have though it the very vitamin which has been shown to reduce the incidence of heart problems is to be found in butter and cheese... very careful who you listen to when it comes to your diet – those who advocate a fat free life have once again been found wanting in their understanding of what we really need from our food.

So the answer is...

Now is the time to take a vitamin D supplement, and the most effective in recent trails was a mouth spray rather than a capsule] then eat a rounded diet which includes butter and cheese to get all the vitamin K2 you need. 

I will be doing much more research into vitamin K2 and will let you know if I find out anything interesting as a result.

Yours, as always



(1)Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health; Office of Dietary Supplements. Accessed on 07/01/15






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