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Bone Health

Calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 in relation to bone health

It is estimated that one in three women, and one in twelve men, aged higher than 55 will experience osteoporosis in their lifetime. The skeleton requires optimum development and maintenance of its integrity to prevent fractures. There are several studies demonstrating the effect of calcium supplementation to reduce bone loss.

Recent studies demonstrate that the western population exhibits extensive lack of Vitamin D3. New literature focuses on the importance of vitamin K2 in addition to Vitamin D3 and calcium. It is well known that Vitamin K2 is a cofactor for activating the bone building protein osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the most important protein that ties calcium to the extracellular hydroxyapatite matrix of the bone. Osteocalcin needs to be activated to fulfill this task and vitamin K is the only activator. Thus calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 are equally important, and they work together to improve bone health: Calcium is needed as the bone building brick, vitamin D3 is needed to increase absorption of calcium from the intestine as well as production of bone-building cells and vitamin K2 is needed for incorporating calcium to the bone structures.

Combating the “calcium paradox”

Both men and women are losing calcium when they become older. From the age of 35 we are losing bone mass and height as the illustrations shows (fig. 1 and 2). Especially when women enter menopause, they simultaneously lose calcium from bone and increase its deposition in arteries – a negative “double whammy” called the “calcium paradox” which greatly increases the risk of both osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. The drop in oestrogen causes both problems, but vitamin K2 can help rectify them.

Among postmenopausal women not using oestrogen replacement therapy, low levels of vitamin K2 or high levels of undercarboxylated (vitamin K-dependent) osteocalcin are associated with low spine BMD, but a 3-year study of 325 postmenopausal women, receiving either K2 or placebo, shows that supplementation with K2 can prevent bone loss associated with oestrogen decline. In the women given K2, bone mineral content increased, and hip and bone strength remained unchanged, whereas in the placebo group, bone mineral content and bone strength decreased significantly.


Vitamin K-dependent MGP that inhibits vascular calcification also helps maintain the elasticity of postmenopausal women’s blood vessels.





“...Prevention of fractures with Calcium and Vitamin D3 is not enough...combining Vitamin K2, Vitamin D3 and Calcium seems ideal...” British Medical Journal (BMJ 2005)


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