The synergistic relationship between vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium, as well as the vital role of probiotics should be on your high priority health list for the new year. The majority of Americans approximately 85% (both children and adults) are deficient in vitamin D, K2 and magnesium. Vitamin D and K2 deficiency is associated with numerous diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, osteoporosis, psoriasis, periodontal disease, macular degeneration, mental illness, propensity to fall, and chronic pain. Vitamin D enters your cells and attaches to a vitamin D receptor and once in your cells it enters the nucleus and turns on over 900 genes responsible for multiple functions in the body.
Certain groups of people are more prone to vitamin D deficiency, including: adults 55 years and older, office workers, people with darker skin tones, vegans and vegetarians, people with a body mass index greater than 30, chronic headache sufferers, those on certain prescription medications and patients diagnosed with arthritis, fibromyalgia, IBD or depression.
The best method to obtain vitamin D “sunshine vitamin” is by exposing your skin to direct sunlight. That is great if you live in the south 12 months out of the year but for most of us that is not the case. The farther north you live the more deficient the population is in vitamin D. Even in the summer most people spend the majority of their time indoors without sufficient sun exposure.
Vitamin D is found in a number of foods including fish such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon fish. Other good sources include butter, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and oily fish. Fortified milk also contains some amount of vitamin D.
People that follow a vegan diet often are vitamin D deficient because the vitamin is found mostly in animal-based foods. When you are incapable of getting vitamin D through the natural sources, there are supplements on the market that can offer the same recommended dosages.
During the winter or when sufficient sunlight is unavailable, it is important to supplement with Mega D3 & K2 Mk-7 and Elements Transdermal Magnesium Spay. Magnesium is required for the activation of vitamin D. Without sufficient magnesium, taking a vitamin D supplement will be much less effective. If your magnesium level is too low, the vitamin D will simply get stored in its inactive form, doing you absolutely no good.
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred, active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 the synthetic form (ergocalciferol) is what is commonly prescribed by doctors and found in some lower quality vitamin formulas. D2 is not absorbed well by the body.
When you take high-dose oral vitamin D, you also need to increase your intake of calcium, magnesium and K2 as well, as these four nutrients work together and rely on sufficient amounts of each to work properly. High levels of D with inadequate levels of K2 can cause an over absorption of calcium resulting in calcium deposits in your heart, arteries and kidneys.
Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, author of “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a LittleKnown Vitamin Could Save Your Life,” said:
“For the prevention of everything from wrinkles to cancer, vitamin K2 is the missing nutrient for women’s health. Most women don’t need a calcium supplement, but vitamin K2 will channel dietary calcium to the right places. And everyone is taking vitamin D, but without K2 we’re not getting all the benefits of vitamin D, and even risking harm from it.”
Vitamin D supports the following functions:
Strong and healthy bones
Cell formation and longevity
Healthy metabolic rate
Muscle strength Immune health
Hair and hair follicles
Hearing Sleep patterns
Healthy aging Positive mood
Feelings of well-being
While vitamin D helps strengthen your bones by helping your body absorb calcium, it’s vitamin K2 that helps make sure the calcium ends up in the right place. You want calcium in your skeleton, and not in the linings of your arteries, heart valves, and organs.
Vitamin D plays a large part in overall bone health and bone strength, and optimizing vitamin D status can increase bone strength and help prevent a break. The analysis referenced above was limited to participants aged 65 years and older (17% of all participants, N=1659) since that age group is most likely to experience the effects of bone health. Within this group, 2% experienced a broken bone in the 6 months prior to their first test. Of those who broke a bone, the average number of breaks was one and the most common bones were in the feet and hands. The most common reasons were falling, tripping and running into furniture/wall.
When comparing vitamin D serum levels to the incidence of broken bones:
Those who broke a bone were more likely to have a serum level <40 ng/ml than ≥40 ng/ml. Those with serum levels <20 ng/ml had 3 times the risk of breaking a bone compared to those ≥40 ng/ml.
Note: Calcium, vitamin D, collagen and magnesium are several co-factors that work together to maintain strong and healthy bones. When any or all nutrients are below the optimal level, bone status is impaired at the level of the lowest – the most limited nutrient. Because vitamin D deficiency is so prevalent, it is often the nutrient leading to bone status impairment. However, if one were to focus on optimizing vitamin D, without also optimizing Ca, collagen, Mg, K2 or one of the other important co-factors, no change in bone status would be observed, leading to a false conclusion that vitamin D does not affect bone status.
Vitamin D is important for your brain function. Vitamin D turns on genes that are responsible for the creation and maintenance of brain synapses, directing nerve growth factor, controlling neurotransmitters, and clearing amyloid plaques (a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease).
In fact, people who were severely deficient in vitamin D had a 122 percent increased risk of developing dementia, whereas those who were moderately deficient were at a 53 percent greater risk. For Alzheimer’s disease specifically, being severely vitamin D deficient was linked to a 122 percent increased risk compared to a 69 percent increase for those who were moderately deficient.
Vitamin D, cognition, and dementia A systematic review and meta-analysis Cynthia Balion, Lauren E. Griffith, Lisa Strifler, Matthew Henderson, Christopher Patterson, George Heckman, David J. Llewellyn, Parminder Raina Objective: To examine the association between cognitive function and dementia with vitamin D concentration in adults. Results: Thirty-seven studies were included; 8 contained data allowing mean Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores to be compared between participants with vitamin D <50 nmol/L to those with values ≥50 nmol/L. There was significant heterogeneity among the studies that compared the WMD for MMSE but an overall positive effect for the higher vitamin D group (1.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.5 to 1.9; I2 = 0.65; p= 0.002). The small positive effect persisted despite several sensitivity analyses. Six studies presented data comparing Alzheimer disease (AD) to controls but 2 utilized a method withdrawn from commercial use. For the remaining 4 studies the AD group had a lower vitamin D concentration compared to the control group (WMD = −6.2 nmol/L, 95% CI −10.6 to −1.8) with no heterogeneity (I2 < 0.01; p = 0.53). Conclusion: These results suggest that lower vitamin D concentrations are associated with poorer cognitive function and a higher risk of AD. Further studies are required to determine the significance and potential public health benefit of this association.
A study published in 2017 evaluated the role of vitamin D status in cognition among 369 individuals. The researchers found that those who were vitamin D deficient experienced a faster rate of cognitive decline. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a nearly 3-fold increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (HR: 2.85
Associations of lower vitamin D concentrations with cognitive decline and long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults
Hypovitaminosis D has been associated with several chronic conditions; yet, its association with cognitive decline and the risk
of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been inconsistent.
The study population consisted of 916 participants from the Three-City Bordeaux cohort aged 65+, nondemented at baseline,
with assessment of vitamin D status and who were followed for up to 12 years.
In multivariate analysis, compared with individuals with 25(OH)D sufficiency (n = 151), participants with 25(OH)D deficiency
(n = 218) exhibited a faster cognitive decline. A total of 177 dementia cases (124 AD) occurred: 25(OH)D deficiency was
associated with a nearly three-fold increased risk of AD (hazard ratio = 2.85, 95% confidence interval 1.37–5.97).
This large prospective study of French older adults suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D status in older age could
contribute to slow down cognitive decline and to delay or prevent the onset of dementia, especially of AD etiology.
Colds and Flu
33% of D*action participants experienced a cold and 10% experienced the flu during the 6 months before their most recent test. Participants with vitamin D levels greater than 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) reported 41% fewer cases of the flu and 15% fewer colds than participants with levels <20 ng/ml.
Vitamin D significantly reduces oxidative stress in your vascular system, which can prevent the development of heart disease. When you take high doses of oral vitamin D3, you must also get more vitamin K2, either from good food sources or a high-quality supplement. If you fail to get enough K2, you can raise your risk of arterial calcification – and your vascular age. And that can have serious effects on your health and your longevity.
If you consume large quantities of D3 without K2 you can create symptoms of vitamin D toxicity including calcification of arteries and soft tissues that can lead to hardening of the arteries.
Researchers have discovered that calcification is an active process that involves a protein called matrix Gla protein (MGP). MGP prevents calcium from building up and calcifying your arteries. But to do this, it must have adequate supplies of vitamin K. If you have too little vitamin K, MGP can’t perform its artery-protecting functions and stop calcifications from developing in your arteries.
Healthy arterial tissues may contain up to 100 times more vitamin K than calcified arteries. And when you restore supplies of vitamin K, you can potentially help reverse the buildup of calcium caused by a vitamin K deficiency!*
The Rotterdam Study from 2004 helped bring K2 into the spotlight. It was the first study to show the important benefits of vitamin K2.This monumental 10-year study followed 4,807 initially healthy people, age 55 years and older.
The results? Daily consumption of more than 32 mcg of dietary vitamin K2 from mostly fermented foods led to a:
50 percent reduction of arterial calcification* 50 percent reduction of cardiovascular risk* 25 percent reduction of all-cause mortality*
And those who consumed 45 mcg of K2 from foods lived 7 years longer than those getting only 12 mcg per day!
Research shows most cancers occur in people with a vitamin D blood level between 10 and 40 ng/mL, and the optimal level for cancer protection has been identified as being between 60 and 80 ng/mL. Vitamin D also increases your chances of surviving cancer if you do get it,5,6,7,8 and evidence suggests adding vitamin D to the conventional treatment for cancer can boost the effectiveness of the treatment.9
A group of researchers studied 658 Norwegian patients diagnosed between 1984 and 2004 with either breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer or lymphoma. Blood levels of vitamin D (25OHD) were determined within 90 days of diagnosis, and subjects were followed until 2008. Researchers monitored for death. The analysis divided patients into four vitamin D groupings of roughly equal size and plotted survival over time for each of the different groups. Notice the highest survival rate is achieved by the group with the highest vitamin D level, over 33 ng/ml (81 nmol/L).
bbas et al. studied 2,759 post-menopausal women in Germany, aged 50-74 years old at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany using participants in the MARIE population study. 1,395 cases of women with breast cancer were matched with 1,365 controls. Researchers found a distinct correlation between vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk. Figure 1 from their paper is above. Notice it is strikingly similar to the cancer chart from 2016 a GrassrootsHealth paper, reporting a 71% reduction in all cancer risk for post-menopausal women in the range of 20-40 ng/ml (50-100 nmol/L).
One of the major findings was 25(OH)D levels greater than or equal to 30 ng/ml had an almost 70% reduced risk of post-menopausal breast cancer compared to those with levels less than 12 ng/ml.
In April 2016 GrassrootsHealth published a paper on vitamin D levels and all non-skin cancers. This paper used data from two different groups – one from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and one from a subset of our Daction and Breast Cancer Prevention projects. A summary of this paper is here.
This combined data set, with 2,304 women aged over 55 years and older, was relatively balanced between the two groups – 1,135 from Daction and 1,169 from the RCT. The median vitamin D levels, however, were not similar. The Daction group had a median level of 48 ng/ml (within our recommended range!) and the RCT group had a median of 30 ng/ml (which is higher than the US average of 25 ng/ml).
Also different was the number of lung cancer cases, although it was not statistically significant (p = 0.11). The Daction group had zero lung cancer cases and the RCT group had seven. This seems to be consistent with the hypothesis that vitamin D levels in recommended ranges (40-60 ng/ml) will reduce lung cancer incidence and that the higher the vitamin D level, the less likely you will be to get lung cancer.
Vitamin K2 also plays a role in supporting healthy immune function and suppressing genes that promote cancer.
Mamograms are part of a strategy to detect breast cancer but certainly not effective at preventing it. There are a number of studies supporting the protective power of vitamin D against breast cancer. As a matter of fact women with vitamin D levels above 60 ng/mL have an 83 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those below 20 ng/mL.
Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study Sharon L. McDonnell, Carole Baggerly, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Cedric F. Garland, Edward D. Gorham, Joan M. Lappe, Robert P. Heaney
Higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations have been associated with a lower risk of multiple cancer types across a range of 25(OH)D concentrations.
The objective of this analysis was to investigate whether the previously reported inverse association between 25(OH)D and cancer risk could be replicated, and if a 25(OH)D response region could be identified among women aged 55 years and older across a broad range of 25(OH)D concentrations. This paper concludes that 25(OH)D concentrations 40 ng/ml were associated with substantial reduction in risk of all invasive cancers combined.
Full article: https://grassrootshealth.net/document/cancer-risk/
Incidence Rate of Type 2 Diabetes is >50% Lower in GrassrootsHealth Cohort with Median Serum 25–hydroxyvitamin D of 41 ng/ml than in NHANES Cohort with Median of 22 ng/ml
Sharon L. McDonnell, Leo L. Baggerly, Christine B. French, Robert P. Heaney, Edward D. Gorham, Michael F. Holick, Robert Scragg, Cedric F. Garland
Higher serum 25–hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations have been associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. This study compared incidence rates of type 2 diabetes among participants aged ≥20 years in two U.S. cohorts with markedly different median 25(OH)D concentrations. The median 25(OH)D concentration in the GrassrootsHealth (GRH) cohort was 41 ng/ml (N = 4933) while in the 2005–6 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) it was 22 ng/ml (N = 4078) (P < 0.0001). The adjusted annual incidence rate of type 2 diabetes was 3.7 per 1000 population (95% confidence interval = 1.9, 6.6) in the GRH cohort, compared to 9.3 per 1000 population (95% confidence interval = 6.7, 12.6) in NHANES. In the NHANES cohort, the lowest 25(OH)D tertiles (<17, 17–24 ng/ml) had higher odds of developing diabetes than the highest tertile (OR: 4.9, P = 0.02 and 4.8, P = 0.01 respectively), adjusting for covariates. Differences in demographics and methods may have limited comparability. Raising serum 25(OH)D may be a useful tool for reducing risk of diabetes in the population.
Preterm Birth Rate
According to GrassrootsHealth, achieving a vitamin D level of 40 to 60 ng/mL during pregnancy can lead to:8
60 percent lower risk of premature birth in twins
Virtually eliminated risk of pre-eclampsia
Reduced risk of gestational diabetes and postpartum depression
Eliminated racial disparity of premature birth rates among African-American women and white women
There are benefits to babies, as well, including:
70 percent lower prevalence of common cold
66 percent lower prevalence of ear infections
62 percent lower prevalence of lung infection
Improved language development
Reduction in type 1 diabetes as an adult
WellvilleSpa Mega D3 & K2 MK-7:
Supplies 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3, the optimal level providing an effective daily dose
Provides 180 mcg of vitamin K2 MK-7 – the optimal level of K2 in the only patented, clinically supported form on the market today to promote healthy, flexible arteries and overall heart health, as well as bone health*