Vitamin D and Vitamin K are fat-soluble nutrients that in their active form are known as pleiotropic agents because of their mechanism and their clinical extent that conceals their classic vitamin effects. This review was published in the alternative Medicine Journal.
Vitamin D in bone health and fracture prevention
Bone health is based on the achievement of high bone mass and the mineralization of bone to adulthood. Maximum bone mass is usually achieved at the age of 18-25 years. After the age of 40, the balance between bone removal and replacement (bone remodeling) tends to shift towards bone removal.
The bone loses its density, with the risk of osteoporosis increasing and an increased risk of bone fractures. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are necessary to mobilize sufficient calcium in the bones. If vitamin D levels are sufficient, 30-40% of dietary calcium is absorbed, while in Vitamin D deficiency the maximum absorption capacity is 10-15%.
Vitamin D helps on preventing falls by supporting the skeletal system. Myopathy (skeletal muscle weakness) is a result of vitamin D deficiency and is likely to cause gait instability as well as other lesions even before adverse effects on the bones occur.
Vitamin D supplementation and regulation of adequate levels appeared to improve attitudinal and dynamic balance in a population sample, leading to vulnerability to falls, while in a double-blind, randomized study, supplementation with vitamin D resulted in increased muscle strength and equilibrium and reduce the risk of falls.
Vitamin D is essential for cardiovascular health
Vitamin D is critical to cardiovascular health at all stages of life. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with neonatal heart failure, childhood cardiomyopathy and heart failure as well as in adults, while generally low levels of vitamin D are associated with higher mortality from cardiovascular and stroke.
Deficiency of vitamin D has also been associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Data from epidemiological studies suggest that elevated levels of vitamin D serum (25Dserum) are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular death.
Vitamin K in bone health and fracture prevention
The results of research on the relationship between vitamin K and bone health are equivocal; however, studies have shown less risk of fractures in people taking vitamin K without however showing any significant change in bone mass. An intervention group that received vitamin D3, calcium and K1 showed a significant change in bone mass density and bone health.
Menaquinone (K2) has been shown to be effective in improving bone quality and has been extensively investigated for its action in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. It delays bone loss, promotes bone formation, and has more potent action in bone health than phylloquinone.
Vitamin K and cardiovascular health
Vitamin K2 is very important in supporting cardiovascular health, particularly in the integrity of blood vessel walls. A study of 16,000 post-menopausal women who reported their daily dietary intake and were followed up for 8 years showed that increased uptake of K2 (menaquinone) and not K1 (phylloquinone) is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Also, research with men and women over the age of 55 examined their vitamin K levels. Increased levels of vitamin K showed a significantly reduced risk of mortality, cardiovascular episode and cardiovascular mortality.
Vitamin K and vitamin D synergistic action
Research with 126 postmenopausal women with osteopenia and osteoporosis randomly distributed the sample to 4 intervention categories for two years: 1) diet only 2) 45 mg / d menaquinone (K2) 3) D3 vitamin 4) Combination K2 and D3.
After two years bone density decreased in the control group, and increased in the group that received K2 + D3 combined more than these vitamins alone (group 2&3). This study shows that the synergistic effect of the two vitamins is clearly much stronger than each vitamin alone.
The two vitamins interact on bone level, calcium homeostasis and inflammation, regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and biomarkers and also at the cellular level.
Kidd, P. M. (2010). Vitamins D and K as pleiotropic nutrients: clinical importance to the skeletal and cardiovascular systems and preliminary evidence for synergy. altern Med Rev, 15(3), 199-222.
: Complete D3, K2 & Co factors