(WellnessNova.com) - Vitamin D is a rare nutrient in food unless you consume a lot of unhealthy foods, like cow’s milk, cheese, and other dairy products. If you’re health savvy, you’re probably taking vitamin D supplements everyday. This could actually be dangerous if you’re not also getting adequate levels of vitamin K. Here’s why:
The Importance of Vitamin D to Your Overall Health
Vitamin D is important to your health because it boosts your immunity, helps lower inflammation, and helps prevent cancer. Some studies found that not having enough vitamin D can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular conditions by about 60 percent.
Vitamin D can also help alleviate depression and help you lose weight. Vitamin D may also help protect you from diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
But vitamin D’s main role is helping your body absorb calcium and keeping your blood calcium levels optimal. It boosts calcium absorption from food in your digestive system. But vitamin D also takes calcium from your bones if you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet and your blood calcium concentration falls too low. Despite vitamin D’s anti-bone fortifying properties, a deficiency in vitamin D has also been linked with bone loss.
Why Vitamin K Matters When You Supplement With Vitamin D
Vitamin K also plays a role in your body’s calcium management. Vitamin K is one of the major compounds responsible for taking calcium from your blood and storing them in your bones. If you’re getting lots of calcium, then vitamin K helps make sure you have stronger bones.
Why does vitamin K do this? Because too much calcium circulating in your blood can cause calcification of your blood vessels. Blood vessel calcification (BVC) can cause cardiovascular conditions. Too much circulating calcium can also cause calcium buildup in soft tissues, like your kidneys – which can lead to kidney stones.
Vitamin K is also important for blood clotting.
What Happens When You Get Too Much or Too Little Vitamin K or Vitamin D?
Having too much vitamin D or vitamin K can also be dangerous. If you overdose on vitamin D supplements, your body may put too much calcium into your bloodstream, which can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia, which causes BVC and may lead to heart disease. Experts have linked high vitamin D concentrations with hypercalcemia.
Too little vitamin K can also lead to BVC because there’s not much to stop too much calcium from building up in your bloodstream. Without vitamin K’s ability to put calcium from your blood into your bones, calcium will just continue to build up in your bloodstream until you develop hypercalcemia.
But researchers found that rats given high doses of vitamin K experienced protective effects against BVC. High vitamin K intake studies on humans have shown that taking 500 micrograms everyday can lower risk of BVC by six percent.
Why You Should Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin K When Taking Vitamin D Supplements
Currently experts haven’t determined a solid link between vitamin D supplementation and the need to take vitamin K. But from all of this, the takeaway seems to be that it’s safer if you make sure you’re getting ample vitamin K if you’re supplementing with vitamin D daily. Taking vitamin D supplements may give you somewhat high levels of vitamin D, which may cause your body to take too much calcium from your bones and elevating your blood calcium levels. Without an ample supply of vitamin K to counteract elevated levels of vitamin D, there’s not much that will put the excess calcium back in your bones.
Do You Need to Take Vitamin K Supplements If You’re Taking Vitamin D Supplements?
The good news is that vitamin K is not rare in healthy foods. Leafy green veggies are filled with vitamin K. You can get the 500 micrograms of vitamin K (the dosage the researchers used) by eating 50 grams of boiled kale (only half a cup of boiled kale) or 100 grams of spinach.
You don’t need to take vitamin K supplements at all – just eat your recommended amount of daily greens.
Also, vitamins D and K are fat-soluble. If you’re sourcing them from food, your gut will absorb more of them if you eat healthy fats (like omega-3-filled nuts and seeds) with them.
Vitamins D and K are both important for your overall calcium management. You need both to keep your bones healthy and to keep excess calcium away from your soft tissues and blood vessels. If you’re supplementing with vitamin D everyday, it’s safer if you also get about 500 micrograms of vitamin K from veggies.