Can Calcium Supplements Kill? The Safe Way to Protect Your Bones and Heart
By Sarah Axtell, ND • November 3, 2015
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2011, women who supplement with calcium to prevent osteoporosis are at a higher risk of atherosclerosis (formation of calcium plaques in the arteries), heart attack and stroke than those who don’t supplement with calcium. Based on this research, for every bone fracture calcium supplementation prevents, it can lead to two potentially fatal heart disease events.
We still need to protect our bones with calcium, but taking it alone can contribute to deadly calcification of the arteries, causing heart disease. Two of the most costly and significant health problems in the modern world are osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. The commonality with these two diseases is the process of calcium leaving the bone and being deposited in the arteries. So how do we guide calcium safely into the bones and keep it away from our arteries? The answer is Vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 propels calcium into bones and simultaneously inhibits, and in some cases removes, calcium deposition in the arteries. Vitamin D has gotten a lot of press in the recent pass for its bone-building properties, as it can help keep calcium in the bone. But you don’t want calcium to build up in your arteries. This is where this important, but often overlooked, vitamin K2 comes in.
Vitamin K1 vs. K2
Vitamin K1 encourages blood clotting. It is found mainly in green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 is a different form of the vitamin and is responsible for appropriate calcification (promoting bone strength and decreasing plaque accumulation in the arteries). Many of us get plenty of vitamin K1 as the body keeps the K1 levels pretty tightly regulated, but K2 has gone missing from our diets.
Sources of K2
Vitamin K2 is found in grass-fed animal fats, such as egg yolks, certain cheeses, and butter. It is also found in a traditional Japanese food made from soy, called Natto. Vitamin K’s most abundant natural source is chlorophyll, which is the green pigment found in grass. Modern ranchers however are feeding their cows corn rather than grass. Eating grain-fed dairy, eggs and meat has resulted in a widespread deficiency of this important nutrient.
Supplementing-It’s a Team Based Approach
To promote bone health and a reduced risk of heart disease, it is important to supplement not only with calcium, but with vitamin K2 (to guide calcium into the bones and inhibit calcium deposition in the arteries) and vitamin D3 (to keep calcium in the bone). After all, it is a team based approach. Talk with your Naturopathic Doctor regarding appropriate forms and dosages of the nutrients.
For food sources of Vitamin K2, see this post on “Grass Fed” here.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.