Bone Health Q & A: Vitamin K2 Supplements

“I’m thinking about re-starting vitamin K2 supplements, and wondered which form you recommend (MK4 or 7 or both)? I have trouble with the MK7 causing heart palpitations, so I was only able to take a low dose every couple of days (used the LEF K complex) and that was a bit too strong. The other problem was the cost of it and it’s short half-life. I know that many studies show the importance of K2 but I was never able to determine if both should be taken and how to avoid the heart problems I have.”

- Pam F. via email

First, let’s quickly recap why vitamin K, and specifically vitamin K2, is recognized as an essential bone health supplement nutrient today:For bone health, more than 109 mg a day of Vitamin K is associated with improved bone density and lower risks of fracture - even in people with already low bone density.

Vitamin K2 helps improve the structure and strength of boneIt helps lock calcium to bone collagenIt does this by activating two proteins - osteocalcin and osteopontin – which hold calcium crystals together. If these proteins can be strengthened, there is potential for overall strengthening of bone. Many people are looking to vitamin K2 to change the course of osteoporosis therapy.

This can be supplemented with MK-4 or MK-7, both forms of vitamin K2.

MK-7 is more stable, more easily absorbed, and lasts longer. And less is needed per day in supplements. MK7 in an appropriate amount can be taken just once a day, which makes it very convenient. There is also some evidence that MK-7 may be better for vascular health too.

The alternative would be to take lots of MK-4, several times a day. Even when MK-4 is absorbed, it is gone in a few hours. And MK4 has not been approved by the FDA to prevent osteoporosis or as an osteoporosis treatment in the U.S.

The "K" in vitamin K is derived from the German word "koagulation" or coagulation- the process of blood clot formation. Vitamin K is essential for the functioning of several proteins involved in blood clotting.

Having poor nutrition will prevent coagulation from processing at a normal pace, but the process can’t be outsmarted by taking massive amount of vitamin K. That’s because there is a “rate limiting step” that can only go so fast. When you have more K, it’s just wasted as far as coagulation is concerned.

The same principle may also be true for bone formation: it can only go so fast. There is a limit to human performance after all. Massive amounts only create problems without improving the results, and an unbalanced approach is actually detrimental because it avoids the total picture.

All that MK-4 in the gut may be what’s causing your heart palpitations.

The most important studies in the literature show that combining vitamin D and calcium plus 100 mcg (micrograms) vitamin K as MK-7 increases bone strength,more so than just calcium and vitamin D. Based on this evidence, Silical System (our combination bone health supplement) contains precisely 100 mcg MK-7.

And because bone health nutrients work better together, Silical System also has modest amounts of other essentials like boron, which interacts with magnesium and calcium. And silicon, which interacts with calcium. Inositol helps facilitate movement of calcium across cell walls of osteoblasts so that the calcium is more available for bone formation. And another ingredients called Arginine helps microvascular circulation carry  nutrients to bone.

When healthy nutrition is taken care of, our next piece of advice would be to get serious about your exercise program. Strength training goes a long way to promote bone health, and overall health. And of course evaluate other unhealthy habits you may have like a high sodium, or smoking.

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2 thoughts on “Bone Health Q & A: Vitamin K2 Supplements”

  • Pam Flores

    Thanks for the wonderful explanation on MK4 and MK7 for bone health. I'm sure many will add this supplement to their arsenal of bone-healthy supplements.

  • nutritionalhealthstore
    nutritionalhealthstore November 27, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I wonder if Vitamin MK 4 and vitamin MK 7 would help control the calcium issues?

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