With much of the world under lockdown due to coronavirus, many of us are finding ourselves stuck inside a lot more than we’re normally used to.
It’s probably obvious that most of us aren’t getting enough Vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin — while we’re stuck inside all day.
But did you also know that adequate Vitamin K levels are also crucially important for healthy Vitamin D absorption? Specifically, Vitamin D3 and K2 work closely together to keep our bodies in good health.
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Why do you need Vitamin D and Vitamin K?
Vitamin D is essential for:
- Regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus
- Facilitating healthy immune system function
- Normal growth and development of bones and teeth
- Improved resistance against certain diseases, including MS, heart disease, and the flu
Vitamin K is essential for:
- Producing prothrombin, a clotting factor necessary for blood clotting and healthy bone metabolism
- Supporting maintenance of strong bones
- Preventing mineralization, a process where minerals build up in the arteries
Both Vitamin D and Vitamin K are umbrella terms for several different nutrients.
The most common members of the Vitamin D family are D2 and D3. While both types help to raise Vitamin D levels in your body, research has shown that Vitamin D3 is more effective than D2 at raising blood levels of Vitamin D.
As for the Vitamin K family, the most prevalent forms found in the human diet are K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is a very important nutrient itself, but it’s Vitamin K2 that actually matters most when we’re talking about healthy activation and absorption of Vitamin D.
This is why it’s crucial to make sure you’re getting enough K2 in conjunction with D3 — not just because it helps Vitamin D become more effective, but also because without Vitamin K2, all that Vitamin D can actually be harmful in the long run.
Warning: The dangers of Vitamin D3 if you don’t have enough Vitamin K2
As most of us are stuck inside a lot more than usual these days, it’s even more important to get an extra dose of Vitamin D. If you have a yard or balcony to get some sunshine time in each day, that’s great — but many city-dwellers in particular are finding themselves stuck inside with little to no access to direct sunlight.
As a result, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re not becoming Vitamin D deficient.
If you take a Vitamin D supplement regularly, it is critical to also consider Vitamin K2 supplementation as well.
This is because Vitamin D3 and K2 work closely together to maintain control over calcium levels in the body. While D3 controls the absorption of calcium into the bloodstream, K2 controls where that calcium winds up in the body.
Taking Vitamin D3 without enough K2 can lead to problems of excess calcium buildup in arteries, which can actually lead to cardiovascular disease. With healthy levels of K2, however, that calcium will get sent to where it belongs — your bones.
That’s why it’s essential to ensure the Vitamin D supplements you take also include K2 — and if they don’t, consider switching to a supplement that does, or adding a separate K2 supplement to your regiment.
Here at hundred, our Vitamin D3 supplement includes K2 to maximize health benefits while minimizing any potential risks of artery calcification.
Signs of a Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common, though most people are unaware they are lacking in the sunshine vitamin. In fact, it’s estimated that around 1 billion people globally suffer from low levels of Vitamin D.
Symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency may include:
- Getting sick often
- Excessive fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and back pain
- Poor wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
How to get enough Vitamin D3 and K2, even when you’re stuck inside
If you’re able to get outside, it’s best to get a free dose of Vitamin D through sun exposure around midday, when the sun is at its strongest. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure, at least 3 times a week — depending on where you live, and your skin color. Darker skinned people need longer time in the sun to get adequate levels of Vitamin D.
But there are other ways to ensure you’re getting enough D3 even if you’re unable to soak up some rays right now.
Not many foods naturally contain Vitamin D, but a few do, including:
- Egg yolk
You can also find some foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as certain brands of milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice.
It is similarly difficult to find foods naturally rich in Vitamin K2, though it can be found in:
- Natto (fermented soy)
- Cheese made from grass-fed animals
- Butter made from grass-fed animals
- Goose liver
- Egg yolks
- Dark chicken meat
The truth is, you don’t accidentally eat Vitamin K2 very often. And if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it’s especially important to be aware of your D3 and K2 levels, as you are probably not consuming much through diet alone.
That’s why one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a healthy dose of D3 and K2 is through supplementation. Just make sure you know what’s going into your D3 / K2 supplement — many Vitamin D products are sourced from animal byproducts such as sheep’s wool.
Our Vitamin D3, however, comes from 100% plant-based wild-crafted lichen and includes 54 mcg of pure K2 added to each supplement.
The bottom line
Times are tough right now as many of us are stuck indoors, but it doesn’t mean your Vitamin D3 and K2 levels need to suffer. If you can, make it a point to soak up some rays a few times a week at least — or if your situation doesn’t allow that luxury, you may want to consider supplementation during this time.
Take our 5-minute quiz to discover whether our Vitamin D3 is right for you and we’ll pair you with a Nutrition Expert you can consult with any time for free.