Low vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 levels
Low vitamin D3 levels
Within the last decade, in addition to its protective attributes for bones, vitamin D3 has also been recognized as a key protector against heart disease. A study from 2004 showed that men with low vitamin D3 levels were twice as likely as men with normal levels to suffer heart attacks. Vitamin D3 aids vascular health in many different ways, one of the most important of which is its reduction of the chronic inflammatory reactions associated with atherosclerosis.
Getting enough vitamin D3 is also one of the easiest deficiencies to address, since our bodies can usually produce it on their own if we get the minimum sunlight every day. However, as we age, we lose the ability to adequately convert sunlight to vitamin D3, and too much sunlight may predispose us to skin cancers, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. It is not so with vitamin D3 supplements, however. It is recommended to either take 2,000-6,000 IU of vitamin D3 every day, depending on your vitamin D3 lab test, or getting the equivalent in sunshine, which would be about fifteen to twenty minutes of sunshine a day if cleared by your doctor. A vitamin D3 level below 32 ng/ml is considered low; however, try to get vitamin D3 level in the optimal range, which is 50-100 ng/ml.
Low vitamin K2 levels
The “K” in vitamin K2 is derived from the German word koagulation, because of the vitamin’s importance in blood clotting in case of an injury. However, a secondary benefit of vitamin K2 is that it regulates proteins in the bloodstream that guide calcium to deposit into the bones rather than in artery walls. Thus it is an important compound for preventing arterial calcification, chronic inflammation, and in lowering the risk of heart attacks.
Being deficient in vitamin K1 is not common for a number of reasons. One reason is that it is widespread in ordinary foods such as green, leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 is present in egg yolks, dairy products, and organ meats, all of which raise cholesterol levels and is therefore commonly deficient in many Americans at risk for heart disease. In areas of Japan, a dish called natto, which is fermented soybeans, is usually eaten a few times a week. It is high in vitamin K2 and especially the MK-7 type of vitamin K2. According the 2004 Rotterdam Heart Study that followed 4,800 subjects for seven years, the subjects that are the most vitamin K2 in their diet had a 57 percent reduction in death from cardiovascular disease. This study suggested that vitamin K2 gives cardiovascular benefits by inhibiting arterial calcification.
Those most at risk for vitamin K deficiency are those taking anticoagulant drugs (such as Coumadin), who are unable to take vitamin K or foods containing vitamin K, or individuals who have liver damage or disease. Research has also shown that people who have fat malabsorption disorders may also be at risk of low vitamin K levels.
The importance of vitamin D in calcium metabolism and bone health is well recognized but more recently, its role in cardiovascular health, immune function, glucose metabolism, and cell differentiation and proliferation have been defined. It is well established that vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in developing children but more current research has also linked vitamin D deficiency with osteoporosis, osteomalacia, impaired muscle function, infection, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and some cancers in adults. Vitamin D is unique among other vitamins in that very little is obtained through a normal diet.