THE MEDICINE KIT: K2
How Menaquinone creates strong bones and teeth with less diabetes, dementia, depression, stroke and cancer.
music by Bones & Tones – Song for the Old Ones
music by Bones & Tones – Song for the Old Ones
Vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium. Of course lots of us take supplemental calcium and vitamin D to support strong bone health.
But that’s just a good first step. There’s an important second step … and a crucial third.
If calcium is the “concrete” in our bones, magnesium is the “rebar.” Good magnesium intake is crucial if we want to have strong teeth and bones: it serves as an atomic latticework around which calcium atoms gather and cement themselves.1,2 That’s the crucial second step for anyone taking calcium to strengthen their bones. (Please avoid magnesium oxide-containing products, especially if you’re older. They’re not absorbed well and much of the magnesium is wasted. Try chelates.)
There’s a third extremely crucial step for anyone taking supplemental calcium. If calcium is “concrete” and magnesium “rebar” … K2 (menaquinone) is the mason. It makes sure that the calcium we consume, absorbed with vitamin D’s help, goes where we need it.
Even more crucially … adequate K2 intake ensures calcium doesn’t go where we don’t need it. Where it can become dangerous. K2 makes sure calcium goes into our teeth3 rather becoming embedded in our arteries.4,5 K2 makes sure calcium goes to build strong bones6,7 rather than sparking diabetes8,9 or inappropriate cell division.10,11,12
It’s a poorly-kept secret that when radiologists read mammograms, looking for breast tumors, one of the things they look for is calcium deposits. Where you’ve got excess calcium … you’ve often got tumors.13
How K2 Works
(nb: K2 is in the same family, but has an entirely different effect on the body than K1, which is well known for increasing clotting activity. Anyone one blood thinners needs to be cautious w/K1 … K2 has no effect on clotting at all and can be taken safely by those requiring monitoring)
Every cell in our bodies pumps sodium ions out and pulls potassium ions in.
Since potassium and sodium carry an identical electrical charge … and since three atoms of sodium are pumped out for every two of potassium sucked in … this creates electrical currents that are used to power cell functions.
Cells also move calcium ions out of their cell bodies by pulling three sodium ions back in. This matters because if too much calcium builds up inside our cells bad things start to happen. This can include:
- accumulating in, say muscle cells, creating muscular contraction
- including the muscles around our arteries, raising blood pressure.
- setting the stage for insulin resistance
- raising the odds that cells can start dividing and growing out of control.
Now think about this for a second: you’re carrying a bundle of fresh socks from the dryer to your drawer. Is it easier to put socks into an empty drawer? Or one that’s already stuffed full of socks?
No contest, right? Well … it’s the same story with ions. If there’s already too many calcium ions swimming around outside the cells, it’s more work for the sodium-potassium pump to keeping pushing all that tight, over-stimulating, insulin-resistance-creating calcium out.
That’s where K2 comes in handy. Take adequate K2 and calcium doesn’t tend to stay in the body fluids so much … it goes into the teeth and bones where it belongs.
And the extra energy our cells have left over (after not having to work so hard to keep calcium in its place) can be used for other things.
Excess calcium in circulation also figures into chronic fatigue and pain syndromes. This gets a tad biogeeky because it involves something called nitric oxide (yes, Viagra fans, THAT nitric oxide.) Here … we’re concerned with the way excess nitric oxide becomes an extremely corrosive molecule (a pro-oxidant free radical) called peroxynitrite under the right (or wrong) conditions.
Peroxynitrite attacks the delicate wet wiggly machinery inside our cells’ powerplants: the mitochondria. Think of a car engine running way out of tune, missing and throwing off clouds of black smoke.
K2 helps keep all that under control.
K2: Mood Stabilizer, Cognition Enhancer
From a mental health perspective, that matters because when chronic low-grade inflammation inflames the brain, we can see a wide range of behaviors ranging from anxiety spectrum disorders14 and depression15 to bipolar, schizophrenia and more … all reminiscent of the kinds of mental states humans can experience when their immunity is fighting off an infection or an allergen. This is a state known as sickness behavior.16,17
“Sickness behavior” refers to the kinds of things we do, and the state of mind we’re in, when we’re coming down with a flu. We get grumpy. We self-isolate and rest.
These behaviors are highly adaptive when the immune challenge is short lived (especially when viewed from the point of view of the rest of us.)
But when these behaviors are stimulated as a result of the chronic low-grade immune stimulation set in motion by disconnects between our genetics and the modern environment,18 a vicious cycle can set in. The anxiety itself can create more of the inflammation19 that, from a neuro-endocrine perspective, underlies and contributes to a broad spectrum of mental health challenges.20
It’s this positive feedback loop, locking in a state of neuroendocrine alarm, that vitamin K2, along with sufficient support from other kinds of mental health and nutrient interventions, can help address.
This is where the plot thickens.
The best natural sources of K2 are healthy bacteria in the microbiome, the population of crucial, friendly bacteria living throughout our bodies, but most notably in our guts. Hard cheese (a fermented food) comes in a close second.21
Natural K2 (menaquinone) is created by a metabolic chain of reactions called the shikimate pathway.22 This is the very metabolic pathway that the makers of Roundup® have cited as the reason for the herbicide’s supposed safety: mammals have no shikimate pathways.
But the bacteria in our guts do.
And that’s how some make the claim that Roundup® has no effect on human health: by ignoring its effect on a friendly bacteria living our guts that produces a nutrient essential for our mental and physical health.
Typical corporate distract and deflect tactic. Focus attention on something plausible, distract from the big picture. In this case … our most prolific source of K2.
This, as we’ve seen, sets the stage for cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and dental problems. Often … the first sign is neurological and/or behavioral:23,24 increased anxiety,25 and/or depression.26,27 It appears these states of being can be transmitted intergenerationally to one’s offspring in mammals when embryos are exposed in the womb.28,29
Thus … again … its presence in my personal regime. Adequate K2 is getting way upstream of a lot of serious chronic diseases … and setting things in order.
This is even more true for anyone exposed to non-organic food on a regular basis.
Roundup®, recall, is used on GMO corn and to dry out all sorts of other crops before harvest and processing. Corn is often used to make corn syrup. Corn syrup is the cheapest form of sugar.
So anything highly industrialized that’s sweet … is very possibly setting all this in motion.
Taking K2 on a daily basis is one of the best available workarounds for this issue.
So K2 has the potential to help us have:
- stronger bones
- stronger teeth
- looser muscles
- lower blood pressure
- less cancer
- more protection from Roundup®
- more energy.
That’s why I keep K2 in my own personal nutrient regime. My dosage is 100 mcg/day.
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21. Vermeer C, Raes J, et al. “Menaquinone Content of Cheese.” Nutrients. 2018 Apr 4;10(4).
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