In 2015 the World Health Organisation released its “World Report on Aging” confirming that the number of people over 60 is set to double by 2050. This set in motion a framework from 2016 onwards to pledge further initiative towards assisting age-related illnesses in an effort to help the health and wellbeing of the now quickest growing age bracket in the world.
Out of the top 10 health conditions of most concern, Osteoporosis, a condition largely affecting women came in at number 8 and was the only gender specific condition in the top ten. It has been projected that more than half of all hip fractures in the world, amounting to 3,250 million cases would occur in Asia, mostly China, by the year 2050.
Whilst hormonal and socioeconomic factors can contribute to the increase in the presentation of osteoporosis, nutrient deficiency is generally considered to be the prominent causative factor across the world. Alarmingly a first of its kind study released in 2014 revealed that 97% of the population in Hong Kong consume less than the recommended daily intake of Calcium.
With vital roles in the absorption and utilisation of Calcium for bone health, Vitamin D and Vitamin K status is also becoming an important factor in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
The Way Your Bone is Formed
To understand the role of Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K further, let’s take a look into the way your bone is formed. Osteocalcin, a bone-related protein, is required for the growth and maturation of calcium crystals that hold the bone together. Total circulating levels of osteocalcin have been shown in studies to be sensitive markers of new bone formation.
More relevant to women who are taking Calcium supplements for bone health is that Vitamin K is essential to several bone-related proteins, the main one being the aforementioned osteocalcin. The other growth factors of osteocalcin are also regulated by the active form of vitamin D (calcitriol), and several hormones.
While most people understand the importance of Calcium, we find that Vitamin D and Vitamin K often work together, especially for bone health. It is best to consider all in any supplement program related to osteoporosis.
It’s about Heart Health, Too!
Excessive calcification in your soft tissues can become a disease process. This is where problems can occur if a woman is supplementing calcium without supplementing with the balancing effects of Vitamin K (or magnesium, also balancing to calcium).
There are now several studies of women taking calcium-only supplements. It’s been established that taking a calcium supplement alone (without the Vitamin K) can cause calcification of the blood vessels, leading to at least a 30% increase of heart attacks (1). A German study showed an alarming 86% increase in heart attacks when taking only a calcium supplement (2).
It turns out that there is another protein dependent on Vitamin K called “MGP”. MGP has been found to be involved in the prevention of calcification at various sites, including cartilage, vessel wall, skin elastic fibers, and in the eye and most importantly, the arteries.
For this reason, it is important for those who are taking Calcium supplement to also get an adequate level of Vitamin D and Vitamin K. The good news amongst all of this lies in the small dose of the combination required to have a positive outcome: stronger bones but not harder arteries!
If you are looking for a good Vitamin D and Vitamin K combination, IMI practitioners recommend the Nanocelle D3 + K2 Spray by Medlab. Just 5 sprays daily will offer a more than adequate amount of both nutrients over the course of 12 weeks to both manage any prevailing deficiency and make sure that any Calcium supplement is used optimally.
(1) Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3691
(2) Li K, Kaaks R, Linseisen J, et al Associations of dietary calcium intake and calcium supplementation with myocardial infarction and stroke risk and overall cardiovascular mortality in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC-Heidelberg) Heart 2012;98:920-925.