We’ve all heard that calcium builds strong bones.
But here’s what you may not know…
There’s a “forgotten” vitamin many people don’t know about that’s far more effective at helping you build strong, healthy, impact-resistant bones.
Before I tell you what this “forgotten” vitamin is, let’s look at why calcium is NOT the answer when it comes to bone health.
First, let me set the record straight – some amount of calcium absolutely IS necessary for healthy bones. The problem is that – no matter how much calcium you take – if it isn’t metabolised and used by your bones, then it doesn’t do you one bit of good.
Consider this: A report from the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable found that Australia has one of the highest rates of calcium consumption in the world. Despite this, Australians suffer more bone fractures than people in countries who get a LOT LESS calcium. 1
Another study published this year, was conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden. They tracked over 60,000 women for 19 years and looked at the link between calcium intake and bone fractures.2
It turns out that the Australian recommended doses for calcium are WAY too high. Eva Warensjo, the study’s lead author stated:
“… yes, the Australian recommendations [for calcium] might be set too high… we would say that based on these results of this study, it’s probably not necessary to go that high in order to have an adequate intake of calcium to prevent osteoporotic fractures.”
The issue isn’t getting enough calcium. It’s making sure that enough actually gets used by your bones. That’s why this “forgotten” vitamin is so important. It’s what helps your bones “get” and use the calcium to make themselves stronger.
What is this “forgotten” vitamin? I’m talking about Vitamin K2.
Vitamin K comes in two forms… K1 which is found in abundance in green leafy veggies like spinach and kale. This is the form of vitamin K that helps with blood clotting. Then there’s vitamin K2… this form of vitamin K is only found in very specific foods.
Here’s what you need to know about it: it’s crucial to your bone health because it helps your bones metabolise calcium.
It’s so powerful, that one Japanese study found that vitamin K2 is just as powerful as drugs regularly prescribed to help prevent bone fractures.3
For the study, Japanese researchers divided women with osteoporosis into three groups. The first group took just 45 mg of vitamin K2.
The second group took the drug Dridonel, commonly prescribed to prevent fractures. The third group was the placebo group. So what happened?
Those taking the drug had a fracture rate of 8.7%. Those taking K2 had an even lower fracture rate of 8%. The placebo? Their fracture rate was a whopping 21%!
Vitamin K2 is a MUST if you want strong, healthy bones. The bad news is that it’s all too easy to be deficient in vitamin K2, since it’s only in a limited number of foods.
That said, here are a few ways to get enough of this “forgotten” vitamin to make sure your bones are strong and stay that way for a lifetime:
1. Natto. This is a popular Japanese dish. Some grocery stores carry it, especially local Asian markets. It has the highest natural concentration of K2. It’s fermented soybeans and is definitely an acquired taste, so watch out.
2. Egg Yolks. You may already know that egg yolks are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats… they’re also a good source of vitamin K2!
3. Menaquinone (MK-7). This is the supplement form of vitamin K2. You can find it at your local health food store. It’s probably the easiest way to make sure you’re getting enough K2 for the bone-health benefits.
- Willett W. Calcium: too much of a good thing? Report from the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable.
- Warensjo, E, et al. “Dietary calcium intake and risk of fracture and osteoporosis: prospective longitudinal cohort study” BMJ 2011; 342:d1473
- Iwamoto J, et al “Combined treatment with vitamin K2 and bisphosphonate in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. “Yonsei Med J. 2003 Oct 30;44(5):751-6.