A New Approach to Vitamin K2 & D3 Combo Products
A New Approach to Vitamin K2&D3 Combo Products
(The following material reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of NutriStart Vitamin Company.)
This week NutriStart released our new Quick K&D combo, and we chose to create something a little different from what was already on the market. My problem with existing K2/D3 combos is that these products all contain 1,000 IU of vitamin D and 120 mcg of vitamin K2 (MK7) per serving. Which provides enough K2 per serving, but not enough vitamin D3, as I believe 1,000 IU to be insufficient as a daily intake. And for many people this is their only vitamin D product, so they end up getting enough K2 but not enough D3. (Health Canada allows no more than 120 mcg of vitamin K2 per recommended serving, in any product.)
So we designed our product to contain only 60 mcg of K2 per serving, allong with 1,000 IU of vitamin D. This way the consumer can get at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D along with the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of K2 (120 mcg). That being a step in the right direction.
But, considering my recent research on Megadosing with Vitamin D, I would like to examine the possibility of what would occur if we used this new product to take even higher levels of vitamin K2. Namely, would it be dangerous if we ingested higher levels of K2 than the Recommended Dietary Allowance, and just how much K2 could we safely take?
Increasing Vitamin K Intake
Let’s start with looking at the advice I have been giving those who consult with me, for the last decade or so. I suggest that healthy people should get a minimum of 5,000 IU of vitamin D (5 days a week). So, since our new product provides 1,000 IU of vitamin D per four drops, 20 drops will provide 5,000 IU of vitamin D, along with 300 mcg of vitamin K2. Thus, our first question is, is this a safe amount of vitamin K2 to take on a daily basis?
Now, I’ve covered the many, many benefits of vitamin K2 in my newsletters and blogs, and in the product page for Quick K2, so I won’t go over these aspects. Herein, I set out to discover what a therapeutic dose of K2 is compared to the maintenance dose provided by the RDA (120 mcg). This would be the type of dosage used to treat arterial calcification or osteoporosis. And further, to determine what the upper safe level would be before K2 can become dangerous or toxic.
We know that once we get into our 50s and older, we are more prone to cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, the two major diseases in the West, both related to a deficiency in vitamins K and D. And, as we age even more we usually have less sun exposure and often the diet (especially in seniors homes) is often less robust than when we were younger. Both adding to the potential for being deficient in these two essential nutrients.
On the MelioGuide website (specializes in programs for preventing and reversing osteoporosis), physiotherapist Margaret Martin states clearly that “unless you are actively increasing your Vitamin K2 levels through diet or supplementation, you are likely deficient and have inadequate levels for your bone and heart health needs”. She maintains that most recent research indicates we need a minimum of 150 to 180 mcg of K2 daily. (Source) Given that, one should comfortably be able to take 12 drops of our D3/K2 combo, receiving 3,000 IU of vitamin D along with 180 mcg of vitamin K.
Dr. Vermeer (University of Maastricht) led a research team of a “three-year study that demonstrated that a daily dose of 180mcg of vitamin K2 menaquinone-7 increased bone strength and density in 244 post-menopausal women, as well as preventing age-related arterial stiffening”. (Source) He currently recommends that those 50 or older take between 100 and 200 mcg of vitamin K2 daily, the higher dose recommended especially for those who have a history of heart disease or osteoporosis in their family.
But perhaps one is more adventurous than that. Just how far can we ride this train? Consider everything from here on to be conjecture and hypothesis.
Can K2 be Toxic?
Can you take too much vitamin K2 (MK-7)? Well, vitamin K toxicity is extremely rare and in fact, the only reported cases of toxicity in the medical literature comes from the use of menadione, a synthetic compound known as vitamin K3. These cases of toxicity were observed mostly in infants, manifesting with signs of jaundice, hyperbilirubinemia, hemolytic anemia, and kernicterus. This source further states that “vitamin K toxicity is rare but is most common in formula-fed infants”. (Source)
Contraindications: “Vitamin K use requires caution in neonates, patients with hereditary hypoprothrombinemia, renal impairment, cases of over anticoagulation due to heparins, and hypersensitivity to vitamin K.” Source
Looking at Even Higher Doses
According to the respected website Examine.com, “the minimum effective dose for longer chain menaquinones (MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9) is between 90-360mcg”. (Nutristart like most Canadian companies uses the MK-7 form of vitamin K2. This is because Health Canada restricts the dose of vitamin K2 to 120mcg and the other form of K2, MK-4, only works in high milligram amounts: 15 to 45 mg.)
It is worth noting here that, while Canadians are only allowed 120 mcg of vitamin K2/MK7 per daily dose, in the U.S. such products can be sold with doses as high as 600 mcg. (Amazon.com)
Now we are going to examine a detailed analysis on vitamin K2 titled “MK-7 and Its Effects on Bone Quality and Strength”, published in March of 2020.
This review confirms that “MK-7 (180 mcg/day) was demonstrated to inhibit bone loss and helped maintain high bone strength in healthy postmenopausal women”.
It goes on to explain that it does this by increasing collagen production in the bones using osteoblasts. Silica (such as our Bamboo Silica product) also contributes to osteoblast formation and thus to increasing collagen in the bones. (Source)
Collagen, which occupies over half the volume of bones, is what gives bones flexibility and elasticity, allowing them to absorb a shock (such as in a fall) without snapping. Thus as much as we require bone minerals to maintain the skeletal structure, we also very much require a good amount of collagen for high-quality bone formation.
This review found that taking 180 mcg of MK7 daily for over three years showed absolutely no negative effects (i.e. 12 drops of our new product) but even 600 mcg daily for one month “did not affect biochemical parameters in serum and urine in healthy subjects”. (Source)
In Part 2 we will look at the culture with the highest vitamin K2 intake, the Japanese, and determine what the safe upper intake level might be.