Vitamin K2 and Bone Health
Concerns about bone health are often discussed in the media, and osteoporosis is a very real threat for many of us as we age. At present, we assume the quality and strength of our bones significantly deteriorates with age and we will become increasingly frail and prone to bone breakages. But what if such degeneration were not a certainty? Recent research is revealing a key relationship between the levels of certain vitamins in our diet and the health of our bones that may reverse the trend we currently battle with.
Vitamin K2 could be the key to maintain healthy bones
Bones are built out of a flexible collagen framework coated with strong calcium. They have a solid, sturdy outer layer and a spongy middle. This is the living part of the bones. Our entire skeleton is replaced every seven years through a process called remodelling. This consists of cells called osteoclasts breaking down old skeletal material in a process called resorption, and cells called osteoblasts building new skeletal material (ossification). The products of the breakdown are released in to the blood system; some utilised and others excreted. The materials required for creation of new skeletal material must come from our diets. Optimally, the bone-building of the osteoblasts will exceed the breakdown processes of the osteoclasts to ensure we are at least maintaining our bone mass (and therefore strength). If the levels of breakdown are greater than the levels of bone-creation, you can see the overall amount of bone tissue will gradually drop. This leads to a loss of bone density and eventually a much weaker skeleton, fragile and prone to breakages.
So, it is clear that we must do what we can to ensure the osteoblasts can work effectively and have all the nutrients they need to continue making new bone tissue for us. We are all aware that we need calcium and vitamin D in our diets, as these are building blocks of our bones. It has been shown recently that vitamin K, particularly vitamin K2, is also vital for bone-building, as it facilitates the action of the osteoblasts.
Osteoblasts produce a protein called osteocalcin. This is the protein that binds to the calcium in our systems and makes it in to bone tissue. Osteocalcin is released around the soft, growing bones where it binds with calcium to add to the layers of bone tissue being made. Osteocalcin only works if it is first ‘turn