Vitamin D3 is produced in our skin in response to sunlight, and low levels are present in foods like butter, mushrooms, salmon, and liver. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that is structured like a hormone, and indeed it behaves like a hormone, carrying signals to tissues throughout your body. Vitamin D3 deficiency is extremely common since we don’t get as much sun on our skin as our ancestors did.
Vitamin K2 is less well-known, but is equally important, since it’s a cofactor that helps D3 do it’s job. It’s a highly bioactive vitamin that plays a role in many of the processes where vitamin D3 is also used. While we don’t produce it in our skin, we do get small amounts from the same food sources as D3.
So what can this tag-team do, and why is it important to take them together?
Calcium regulation is essential in the dance of bone loss and regrowth. Destruction of bone tissue is a natural and normal metabolic process, and it happens every day of our lives. Healthy bones are seen in people who are able to redeposit bone tissue at least as fast as it is destroyed. Bone loss occurs when your body can’t create new bone tissue as fast as it gets broken down.
Calcium is a structural component of bone, but you need more than just calcium to create bone tissue. Vitamin D3 binds to calcium so it can be absorbed into tissues. This binding reaction also draws in phosphorus which is another mineral needed for bone formation.
Studies suggest that increasing vitamin D3 and calcium intake elevates the amount of calcium in the blood but doesn’t dramatically decrease risk of osteoporosis. Worse, taking only calcium and vitamin D can increase cardiovascular risk. The missing piece to eliminate that additional cardiovascular risk and decrease risk of osteoporosis is vitamin K2. This cofactor ensures that the nutrients needed for healthy bones actually make it into the bone, instead of lodging in artery walls and causing damage.
As mentioned above, vitamin K2 helps pull vitamin D3 and calcium out of arteries and into bone tissue. This is important to note for anyone who is concerned with cardiovascular health. Arterial calcification makes arteries stiff, so they respond poorly when the heart pumps blood. In addition, calcifications narrow the diameter of arteries so less oxygen-rich blood can be pumped through the body.
Healthy levels of D3 have also been shown to aid in the repair of damage caused from diabetes and elevated insulin, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure. This is one of the reasons vitamin K2 is needed in small amounts as a cofactor and vitamin D3 is needed in larger amounts, because it plays such a big role in keeping us healthy.
Decades ago we all believed that vitamin C was the secret to a strong immune system. Today we know that vitamin C has many important roles, but immune health isn’t where it shines. Instead, vitamin D takes that spotlight.
Better research has yielded data that shows vitamin 3D speeds wound healing and maintains the pool of immune cells. People who have higher levels of vitamin D3 experience illnesses less frequently than those who have lower levels, and that goes for both bacterial and viral infections.
Vitamin K2 joins with D3 for great immune health in helping those immune cells to find and attack cancer cells. That’s right, K2 is important in the fight against cancer, and can specifically help your body to mount an immune response against liver, lung, and prostate cancer, as well as leukemia.
If you aren’t already taking a combination D3 and K2 vitamin, now is a great time to start. With winter approaching, you can get your dose of these critical vitamins even without getting out in the sun. Check out our D3+K2 wellness supplement to ensure you're getting plenty of these critical nutrients so you can feel your best every day.