As Nutritional Therapy Practitioners, we were required to study the teachings of Dr. Weston A. Price, who we referred to as the ‘Charles Darwin of nutrition.’ To this day, he still doesn’t receive credit due for his amazing research into the causes of what he termed Nutritional Degeneration. He was Paleo before the phrase was even coined.
In 1945 Dr. Price discovered a “vitamin like activator” that proved to be an essential component in our body’s ability to utilize minerals, prevent tooth decay, and most importantly, protect against cardio vascular disease. He named this compound Activator X. He also noted that it was found in high concentrations in animal fats – specifically, pastured animals that were consuming rapidly growing green grass. He also noted it was found in certain types of seafood such as fish eggs. We have now come to understand that this critical vitamin like activator is none other than vitamin K2. We also know that this essential nutrient is not found in conventionally raised animals due to the fact that they consume only a grain based diet and that K2 is converted from vitamin K1 which is found in higher concentrations in rapidly growing green plants.
Vitamin K2 is critical to good health in that it activates the proteins that are signaled to our cells by vitamins A and D. That is to say that without K2, vitamins A and D are essentially ineffective no matter how much we take.
More importantly, Vitamin K2 regulates the absorption of calcium by the body. Without adequate levels of K2, calcium is absorbed into the soft tissues instead of the bones and the teeth. The implications of this absorption component are huge due to the fact that our arterial walls are made up of soft tissue. Adequate amounts of K2 in the diet can reduce arterial plaque and calcification build up in these arteries. Calcification build up actually begins when we’re quite young, even in healthy individuals, and becomes extremely common once we get into our 60’s.
Vitamin K2 not only works as a preventative measure to significantly reduce this build up, we now know through clinical experience that K2 can actually help remove existing calcification. This could be extremely valuable information for people that have tested in the high ranges for their heart calcium scans.
The Rotterdam Study followed 4807 male subjects over the age of 55 From August 1990 until June 1993. The findings were that the group with the highest intake of K2, or approximately 35 micrograms per day, was associated with a 52% lower risk of aortic calcification. This is an extremely significant reduction in that 35 micrograms is a fairly low dose of K2. This would be the equivalent of consuming one pastured egg per day! With these types of results, think of the implications K2 could have as an alternative to the dangerous side effects of osteoporotic drug intake with its ability to regulate calcium absorption.
So how do we get adequate amounts of K2? This is yet another reason I encourage my clients to consume animal protein from pastured animals only. That is to say, grass eaters. Conventional grocery store bought meat will not have the valuable K2 component. This is also true for dairy products and eggs. Pasteurized milk contains no K2 and eggs from pastured hens have twice the amount of K2 as that of conventional eggs.
Vitamin K2 can also be taken in supplemental form. The difficulty is finding K2 in high enough doses to meet the requirements; however, Thorne makes a very high quality K2 supplement that I highly recommend. What’s more, this K2 formula contains a blend of K2 and vitamin D3, another essential nutrient that most people are extremely deficient in. Thorne’s product packs a wallop with 1 milligram of K2 per 10 drops. That’s 1000 micrograms compared to the 35 micrograms of the egg. This version of K2 comes in liquid form and is quick and easy to take. Thorne typically sells only to practitioners; however you can purchase it on Chris Kresser’s online store here.
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