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The Calcium Paradox
Many Canadians are plagued by a lack of calcium in their bones, leading to osteoporosis and yet many of us suffer from excess calcium in our arteries, leading to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The co-occurrence of these seemingly contradictory conditions is known as the “calcium paradox”.1 Medical research has established the connection between bone calcium loss and atherosclerosis in individuals with osteoporosis, those with kidney disease and in the general population.1 In fact, it has been shown that for every 1.5% decrease in bone density the mortality risk from cardiovascular disease increases by 30%.2 More and more research is showing that vitamin K plays an essential role in the prevention of the calcium paradox, helping to ensure that calcium gets to the right place in the body!3
The Role of Vitamin K2
Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins long known for their role in blood clotting and for the reduction of heavy bleeding during menstruation, bruising and nosebleeds. However scientists now recognize that vitamin K, and specifically vitamin K2 not K1, plays a critical role in bone and heart health as an essential regulator of normal calcium metabolism.3
Clinical studies show that vitamin K deficiency in bone and in blood vessels exists in many healthy adults, and a deficiency in vitamin K2 has been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures and also to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.4 Supplementation with vitamin K2 has been shown to reduce fracture risk and increase bone strength in women with osteoporosis.5
Vitamin K2 is essential to building strong bones and it helps to promote heart health. Vitamin K2 works by regulating the body’s metabolism of calcium, helping to guide calcium towards the areas of the body where it is needed, such as your skeleton and bones, and away from areas where it could have a negative effect, such as the arteries and cardiovascular system. There are two main forms of Vitamin K2, MK-4 and MK-7, and while both forms are effective for improving bone health, MK-7 is the natural form of vitamin K2 used by the body. MK-7 is also more easily absorbed, and stays in the body longer.6 This means that it is effective at a much lower dose than MK-4.
Green leafy vegetables usually supply the vitamin K for the majority of Canadians. However, many foods considered rich in vitamin K have proven to have much less than originally thought. Preferred Nutrition’s Vitamin K2 contains an optimal dose of Vitamin K2 in the easily absorbed MK-7 form to support healthy bones and a health cardiovascular system.
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