For over 15 years, I have been warning people about the dangers of not getting enough vitamin D. (Dr Joseph Mercola)
The best way to obtain vitamin D is by exposing your skin to direct sunlight. Of course, receiving vitamin D this way is not always the easiest thing to do, especially in the winter months.
During the winter or when sufficient sunlight is unavailable, you can supplement with vitamin D3.
Direct Sunlight Exposure
Direct sunlight – the best way to obtain vitamin D – may be hard for you to get, especially in winter. However, it’s essential to take vitamin D with another nutrient that is often forgotten… vitamin K2. The two of these nutrients form a powerful synergy that can optimize your health.
Vitamin D – Essential for Complete Wellness
Although being vitamin D deficient does not have many obvious outward signs, I can just about guarantee that if you are lacking in the nutrient and you increase your levels, you will feel noticeably better. Why is this? Because vitamin D (specifically the vitamin D3 form) has a far-reaching and significant impact on many different areas throughout your body.
For instance, this vital nutrient supports the following functions:
Cell formation and longevity*
Healthy aging process*
Positive mood and feelings of well-being*
Strong and healthy bones*
Healthy metabolic rate*
Proper digestion and food absorption*
Hair and hair follicles*
And the list goes on and on…
I’m sure you can now see why I believe this vitamin is essential for optimal health, and why you should have optimal levels!
Becoming Vitamin D Deficient… Easier Than You Think
Unfortunately, especially during the winter months, many people do not receive the sufficient amount of sunlight for their bodies to produce optimal levels of vitamin D3.
This is because during the winter in non-tropical or subtropical locations, the sun’s rays have to penetrate extra layers of the atmosphere that essentially filter out most, if not all, of the UVB rays that cause your body to produce vitamin D. In the months of January and February, the sun is simply not close enough across the entire U.S. for vitamin D synthesis to happen and your body to obtain enough vitamin D. Of course, these are only two months out of the entire year, but there are many months where UVB rays will be hard to obtain, and you could become vitamin D deficient.
But winter isn’t the only time of year that people are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D… in fact, the risk is high year-round, with research suggesting that up to 85 percent of people may be vitamin D deficient. Even in summer, many people do not spend nearly enough time outdoors to get the sun exposure they need. A minimum of 10 to 15 minutes of direct sun exposure on sufficient amounts of exposed skin regularly is required for your body to absorb enough UVB rays to produce vitamin D.
If it’s rainy or cloudy, you may miss sun exposure, or you may just get too busy at home or in the office to spend much time outdoors. It is also important to note that jackets, pants, and other articles of clothing block the sun exposure you need, so often getting the necessary sunlight on your bare skin is a major challenge.
What Other Groups Are at Risk for Deficiency?
Along with the fact that most people receive very limited sun exposure all year, there are specific groups of people at risk of vitamin D deficiency for other reasons…
Pregnant women: Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be common among pregnant women, and regaining optimal levels is critical for you and your baby.
The elderly: As you age, your skin loses the ability to generate vitamin D. Plus, the elderly tend to spend more time indoors.
Dark-skinned people: People with dark skin tones have higher melatonin levels, which blocks UVB radiation and limits the body’s ability to produce vitamin D3.
Overweight people: Individuals who are overweight often have considerably higher needs for vitamin D because the nutrient is oil-soluble and hidden in their fat, depriving the body of benefits.
In addition, vitamin D concentrations in nearly all foods will not provide optimum levels of vitamin D in your blood.
There is a false perception that you can get the vitamin D you need from drinking milk, but this isn’t true. Vitamin D is not naturally occurring in milk, but instead is added into it. You have probably seen milk containers that say they are “fortified with vitamin D.” The problem is that the levels of vitamin D added into the milk are far too low to give you enough of the nutrient. In general, trying to obtain vitamin D from your diet alone will not work.
Take Vitamin D With This Powerhouse Nutrient…
Vitamin K Benefits:
Vitamin K supports vital functions throughout your body including your heart and vascular system*
As I touched on earlier, if you take oral vitamin D it is important to also consume vitamin K2. This is because the two vitamins work synergistically. Without vitamin K2, vitamin D cannot function optimally. Additionally, vitamin K’s benefits are impaired by a lack of vitamin D – so you need both nutrients together.
While much is known about vitamin D, the research on vitamin K is still in its early stages, with much to be discovered.
As more research and studies are done on both vitamin K2 alone and vitamins D and K2 together, I know that even more exciting insight will be revealed. Of what has been discovered so far about vitamin K, your potential benefits from this extraordinary nutrient are pretty much off the chart…
For example, vitamin K:
Supports your healthy heart*
Helps support your vascular (arteries and veins) system*
Helps you maintain strong bones and keep them healthy*
Supports your memory function*
Supports muscle and nerve health*
Plus, vitamin K has no known toxicity. Even though it is a fat-soluble vitamin, there has never been any reported case in the literature of a vitamin K overdose. The difficult part is making sure that you are taking the right form of this essential vitamin. There are three main types of vitamin K: K1, K2, and K3.
You can eliminate vitamin K3 from your list as it is a synthetic variant of the vitamin that I don’t recommend for anyone. In fact, this is the one that you and your family should avoid at all costs.
In contrast, vitamin K1 is the form you will most find in your healthy diet, with many green leafy vegetables containing high amounts of the nutrient, including kale, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. The problem is that the absorption of vitamin K1 from green leafy vegetables is not very efficient, with researching showing that only a mere 10 to 15 percent gets absorbed. With that being said, the last type of vitamin K, K2, found in many fermented foods, is the one I recommend. Vitamin K2 has many different varieties including MK-4, MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9. However, the best form is MK-7, which is found in fermented products such as natto, or fermented soybeans or chickpeas, since it is the easiest for your body to absorb.
Unfortunately, many people do not eat or enjoy many fermented foods, which could lead to vitamin K deficiency without a high-quality supplement.
The Amazing Benefits of Fermented Chickpea
When looking for a top-quality vitamin K2 supplement, you will notice many brands don’t use MK-7, and if they do, it comes from fermented soy. While fermented soy is a legitimate source of vitamin K2 from MK-7, the problem is potential allergens, which may cause mild to severe physical symptoms in some people. Fermented chickpea is also completely bioavailable, stable, and proven to be one of the most beneficial varieties of vitamin K2.
In general, chickpeas are very beneficial and contain many nutrients, including a high amount of folate, manganese, fiber and zinc. But the real magic happens during the fermentation process.
You can ferment chickpeas using a starter culture that contains a type of healthy bacteria called bacillus subtilus. The fermented chickpeas then become natto—as mentioned earlier, the most potent natural source of vitamin K2. In fact, vitamin K2 concentration after the consumption of natto has been shown to be about 10 times higher than that of vitamin K1 after eating spinach.
Other benefits of fermented chickpea (natto) include:
Helps support healthy circulation*
Promotes a healthy cardiovascular system*
Controls proper utilization of calcium*
Promotes healthy bones*
Unfortunately, most people do not eat or enjoy natto due to its slippery texture and strong flavor.
Vitamins K2 and D3 Working Together for Your Healthy Heart*
As just discussed, MK-7 is the most beneficial form of vitamin K2:
Supports the development of healthy, flexible arteries for cardiovascular health*
Supports optimum calcium absorption and utilization*
Promotes normal blood clotting*
Vitamins D3 and K2 Combo Benefits
Vitamins D3 and K2 together support healthy arteries for cardiovascular health*
In fact, in a new “breakthrough” study on the impact of vitamin K2 as MenaQ7®, results showed substantial heart health benefits.* MenaQ7® was studied in a group of healthy women over the course of three years, helping to maintain “vascular elasticity” – keeping blood vessels healthy.* But both vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 together are essential for optimal heart health.*
This is because vitamin D3 is needed for the creation of something called Matrix-Gla Protein (MGP), which plays a large role in preventing calcium from building up in your arterial walls (which signifies poor cardiovascular health).
Whereas MGP is dependent on vitamin D3 to do its job, it also needs vitamin K2 to activate it. When you have sufficient amounts of both of these nutrients, your body can work to maintain healthy arteries and blood vessels.*
In another recent study, one group of participants were given oral administration of both vitamin K2 (MenaQ7®) and vitamin D, while another group was just given vitamin D alone. Over the course of six months, the group with vitamins D3 and K2 maintained their cardiovascular health.*
See Dr Mercola’s website for more on Vitamin D3 and K2