How Calcium is Absorbed and Incorporated

For the longest time, conventional wisdom suggested that whenever consuming calcium, Vitamin D3 is essential. This is certainly true because Vitamin D3 aids in absorbing calcium from the digestive tract into the arteries, but in light of recent research and studies, we now realize that this is only half the story.20 Vitamin K2 has been shown to be equally important in preventing calcium build up in arteries and transporting into bones instead.20

Vitamin K2 acts within many different organs in the body to maintain proper functions of vital proteins that depend on Vitamin K for its activation. Within your bones, a Vitamin K2 activated protein called Osteocalcin functions to incorporate calcium hydroxyapatite into bones to build them up and keep them strong.3,10,15 Vitamin K2 also functions in your blood vessels by interacting with Matrix Gla Protein to keep calcium from accumulating in your arteries.3,10,15,19

Even now we can see that just about every product having to do with calcium is supplemented with Vitamin D3 (i.e. dairy products, supplements, etc.) but the same cannot be said about Vitamin K2. Because of ample amounts of Vitamin D3 and Calcium in your diet but lack of Vitamin K2, calcium is successfully absorbed into your bloodstream, but isn’t incorporated into your bones. As a result, calcium plaques begin to form and harden along the sides of arteries, while simultaneously your bones begin to weaken due to lack of calcium.

Vitamin K2 (MK-7) helps keep calcium from hardening and blocking arteries while redirecting calcium to maintain bone strength at the same time.4,8,10,14

Condition Intervention Outcome
Postmenopausal Osteoporosis 45 mg/day K2 Inhibited decrease in BMD
45 mg/day K2; 1 mcg/day D3 Increased BMD
45 mg/day K2; 0.75 mcg/day D3 Increased BMD
Postmenopausal Osteoporosis with Bisphosphonates 45 mg/day K2 Increased effectiveness of bisphosphonates
Parkinson’s Disease 45 mg/day K2 Decreased fracture rate; increased BMD
Bone Loss from Leuprolide 45 mg/day K2 Slowed decrease in BMD
Bone loss from Prednisone 15 mg K2 three times/day Slowed rate of bone loss
45 mg/day K2; 0.5 mcg/day D3 Inhibited decrease in BMD
2 mg/kg/day K2; 0.03 mcg/kg/day D3 (Child Dose) Increased lumbarBMD
Bone Loss in Biliary Cirrhosis 45 mg/day K2 Maintained BMD
Osteopenia from Stroke 45 mg/day K2 Increased BMD
Skeletal Unloading in a Bedridden Child 2 mg/kg/day K2; 0.05 mcg/kg/day D3 Increased BMD and Osteocalcin
Osteoporosis of Anorexia 45 mg/day K2 Slowed rate of bone loss
Plaza, et al 2005