New Treatments for Osteoporosis: The Role of Vitamins D3, K2 and Calcium

New Treatments for Osteoporosis

New Treatments for Osteoporosis

Did you know that, based on new research, physicians are now recommending new treatments for osteoporosis and osteoporosis prevention? New research has proven that you still need Calcium for bone health, but Vitamins D3 and K2 are very important supplements. They work synergistically to reduce your risk of fractures as you age. Calcium supplements at high dosages can actually be harmful to your health.

How Has New Research Led to the Recommendations for New Treatments for Osteoporosis

Calcium:

In 1992 and 1994 a study on 3,800 women with an average age of 84 was published. All of the women had a low Calcium intake, low vitamin D levels and low bone density. The study participants who were given 1,200 mg of Calcium and 800 IUs of vitamin D supplements daily for three years had a 23% lower risk of hip fracture and a 17% lower risk of fractures than the group of women who were given placebos. Most experts point to this study as the basis for recommendations of 1,200 mg of Calcium for most adults.(5)

In 2015 a study published in The British Medical Journal (4) stated that there is no evidence that Calcium supplements alone prevent fractures. The study concluded that most people get enough calcium from their diet and do not need supplements unless their diet is deficient in Calcium. People should, however, increase their intake of Vitamin D. This does not mean that people do not need Calcium for bone health, but Calcium alone does not prevent fractures. Vitamin D works with Vitamin K to prevent fractures.

The problem with too much Calcium is that if you take more Calcium than your body needs, the excess Calcium does not go to your bones. It goes, instead, to your vessels where it builds up and causes blockages in your vessels and some organs. This can lead to a risk of  heart attacks, strokes, kidney stones and gastrointestinal problems.

Studies have also proven that it is the addition of calcium supplements themselves to your diet that increases the risk of disease. There is no evidence that a Calcium rich diet alone causes an increase in disease. (2) You should make every effort to get the Calcium you need from foods as opposed to supplements.

In 2015, the British Medical Journal published an article in 2015 that stated that studies have proven that Calcium does not ( by itself) prevent fractures. They stated that you still need Calcium for bone health, but it is Vitamin D that prevents fractures. Most of us with osteopenia add osteoperosis have been advised to take 1,200 mg of Calcium per day in combination with Vitamin D3 to prevent fractures. We always thought Calcium helped prevent fractures so this was a surprise.

Vitamin D:

No one is questioning the value of vitamin D. You need vitamin D to facilitate your body’s absorption of Calcium and you need vitamin D to build bones, reduce inflammation and even help reduce your risk of cancer. In addition to facillatating the intestinal absorption of calcium, vitamin D activates the synthesis of osteocalcin (6) and works synergistically with Vitamin K to prevent fractures.

Vitamin D is one of the most frequent vitamin deficiencies found in the US. This is due to the fact that most of you do not spend enough time in the sun. Sunshine provides your body with a natural source of vitamin D. The amount of natural vitamin D you get depends on how much time you are able to spend outdoors, what climate you live in and what season of the year it is. Most people need to take a D3 supplement in order to provide their body with adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 is considered the most effective type of vitamin D to use as a supplement because it is an active form of vitamin D.

Vitamin K

In 2001 NIH published an abstract that stated that “there is a consistent line of evidence in epidemiologic and intervention studies that clearly demonstrates that vitamin K can improve bone health.” (7)

Adding Vitamin K2  to Calcium and D3, can reduce your risk of fractures by 25%. Vitamin K activates osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to you bones and increases your bone mineral density.  It also protects your blood vessels from calcifying when you have a excess of calcium in your system.

Vitamin K2 is obtained from food or as a supplement if you do not get enough K2 from your diet.

FYI: Vitamin K1 comes from fruits and vegetables you eat and is absorbed into your liver. This is the form of vitamin K that protects you from getting a bleeding disorder. Vitamin K2 goes straight to your vessel walls, bones and tissues.

All of this science has led to new treatments for osteoporosis.

What Is the Current Advice from Experts About the New Treatments for Osteoporosis and Osteoporosis Prevention?

Scientific studies all recommend a combination of Calcium, vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2

Calcium:

You should make every effort to get calcium from your diet. Studies have shown that your body can tolerate even an excess of calcium from your diet without risking calcium buildup in your vessels. Excessive calcium from supplementation does, however, put you at risk for heart disease, kidney stones and gastrointestinal disease. (1)

The UK recommends 700-800 mg of dietary calcium per day. No supplements are recommended.

The best natural sources of Calcium include: dairy, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, some cereals and almond milk.

Most people in the US get enough Calcium from their diet and do not need supplementation. You should consult your doctor before taking Calcium supplements. Harvard Medical School states in their publications that you can safely take 500-600 mg per day of a supplement if your doctor recommends a supplement,  but you should not take more that that in supplement form. (5)

Vitamin D3

There is no disagreement about taking Vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 is the active form of vitamin and is the recommended vitamin to use as a supplement

It is always best to get your vitamin D from a safe exposure to natural sunlight, but, when that is not possible, you should take a supplement.

Dosage: Harvard Medical School recommends 600-800 IU per day. Functional Medicine physicians recommend 2,000 IU per day for optimal health. It is wise have your vitamin D blood level tested. Your blood level of Vitamin D should be 100-600 nmol/L.

Dietary sources of Vitamin D include: Cod Liver Oil. cooked wild salmon, cooked mackerel, sardines canned in oil, whole eggs.

Vitamin K2

As mentioned above, Vitamin K2 works synergistically with Vitamin D3 to help protect you from fractures. It is extremely important to include Vitamin K2 as a supplement if you are taking Vitamin D3 because it is needed to activate osteocalcin. Undercarboxylated osteocalcin increases the risk of hip fractures. (6)

Dr Mercola recommends Vitamin K2 in the form of MK7 as the best Vitamin K to take. (The Institute of Medicine has recently set the daily dietary dosage of  K2 supplement at 90 microg per day for women and 120 microg per day for men. (7) the final dosage recommendation is still under discussion.

Good Food sources of vitamin K include: green leafy vegetables, fermented foods, milk and cheese.

The bottom line is that scientists  have now proven that your body needs adequate Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K to protect you from getting Osteoporosis. These three vitamins are even more important if you already have  Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

In summary, the new treatments for Osteoporosis are:

Daily dosages 7oo mg of Dietary Calcium + 600-2,000 IU of Vitamin D3  + 90-120 mcg of Vitamin K

(Please check with your doctor to determine the dosages of these supplements that are best for you)

To Your Good Health and Happiness,

Saundra

 

References

  1. https://www.consumerreports.org/vitamins-supplements/the-truth-about-calcium-and-vitamin-d/
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161011182621.htm
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/calcium-and-heart-disease-what-is-the-connection
  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11900171/Calcium-supplements-dont-work-say-experts.html
  5. How well does calcium intake really protect your bones?

  6. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/509074_4
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11684396

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