Hi guys, this is Kiran Krishnan, research microbiologist and your friendly neighborhood science guy. I'm here with more information for you today, and this time we're going to be talking about vitamin D.
Diminished Sun = Lack of Vitamin D
Everybody knows about vitamin D. Virtually every doctor recommends taking vitamin D...and this time of year (it's wintertime now) a lot of people are getting diminished amounts of time in the sun. We're not making as much vitamin D in our body naturally, so a lot of people will start taking high doses of Vitamin D.
High Doses of Vitamin D + Vitamin D Toxicity
Taking Vitamin D is okay, but there's a significant danger to taking really high doses of vitamin D. Vitamin D at really high levels can be toxic.
It's well documented. There's studies around this. In fact, a really great study out of Nepal: A population there was given very high doses of vitamin D by a group of doctors to overcome some of their vitamin D deficiency issues, but then they started seeing a whole bunch of other health issues that arise out of giving them too much vitamin D.
High Doses of Vitamin D Creates Imbalance
The reason for it is a lack of balance. Everything in the body, everything in nature is about balance. It's about symmetry, it's about balance, and when you're giving really high doses of taking really high doses of vitamin D, you're throwing the balance of something else off.
Vitamin K2-7 Restores Balance
What that is is vitamin K2. Vitamin D works in many ways by up-regulating proteins that are actually vitamin K2 dependent.
An example of is osteocalcin. That's the protein that actually takes calcium and sticks it on your bone. Osteocalcin is up-regulated by the presence of vitamin D. In fact, that's how vitamin D can help with osteoporosis - it up- regulates the vitamin that has to take calcium and stick it on the bone.
Here's the problem. That protein, when it's secreted by osteoblastic cells (these are your bone-building cells from the stimulation from vitamin D), it's secreted in an inactive form. In order for it to become active, you need vitamin K2, especially K2-7, to come in, cleave it, and activate it. And once it activates it, then it can do its job of sticking calcium to the bone...and NOT to the heart or other places in the body where it can cause plaque build-up, calcification of arteries, and so on.
So, if you're taking a whole lot of vitamin D and you're releasing a lot of these proteins that are vitamin K dependent, you're going to use up your body store vitamin K. And that will lead to a severe vitamin K deficiency.
What does vitamin K deficiency look like? As, as a matter of fact, when you look at all of the symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency, it looks exactly the same as all the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. It's hyper-calcification of soft tissue, formation of calcified lesions, formation of things like kidney stones and so on. All of the things associated with vitamin K deficiency are exactly the same thing as vitamin D toxicity.
That's the same thing that occurs in the heart. There's a protein called MGP that removes calcium from the arteries. MGP is a vitamin K2 dependent protein. So if your vitamin K2 is depleted, you're not going to have that really important basic function of removing calcium from your arteries where it tends to settle in, because calcium on its own doesn't know how to get to the bone. You need those special proteins.
The Perfect Couple: Vitamin D and Vitamin K2-7
So vitamin D toxicity can be a real problem, but it's only a problem if you're not taking adequate amounts of vitamin K2-7 along with it.
As you're up-regulating your intake of vitamin D, whether you're trying to battle the cold and flu season or because you're getting less sunlight or because your doctor or someone else told you to, make sure you're getting adequate amounts of vitamin K2-7 as well, so you don't end up with this significant imbalance which can cause more problems than benefit.