Use Nature's "Glue" for Stronger Bones

In spite of what you hear on TV, calcium supplements have little to do with the strength of your bones.

Taking calcium supplements will give you a short-term boost in bone density, but that’s it. Over time, your hormones will work against the extra calcium and actually leave your bones more brittle than before.

Consider this: The U.S. has the highest intake of calcium, yet our rates of osteoporosis are the highest in the world. Countries with lower intakes of calcium have lower rates of hip fracture and osteoporosis.1

A lack of calcium isn’t why your bones become weak.

Osteoporosis is caused by a number of factors. If you’re a regular reader, you know I’ve written to you about vitamin D3 and PACE-style exercise. Both are critical for strong bones and a steel-like frame.

But here’s something I bet your doctor never told you: There’s a commonly overlooked vitamin that acts as a “glue” to build strong, healthy, impact-resistant bones.

One Japanese study found this “glue” to be just as effective as drugs used to prevent bone fractures.

In the study, women taking a 45mg dose of this “glue” only had a fracture rate of 8%. Those taking the drug Didronel had a fracture rate of 8.7%. And get this…

The fracture rate in the placebo group was almost three times as high (a whopping 21%).2

Did Your Doctor Tell You About This?

Most doctors and the media still insist you pop calcium pills and drink plenty of milk.

But here’s what they usually miss:

It doesn’t matter how much calcium you consume. If your body isn’t metabolizing that calcium properly, it’s not doing your bones any good.

A major key in preventing osteoporosis – and even reversing it – is to simply make sure your body regulates calcium properly.

Fortunately, the solution is simple.

I’m talking about vitamin K2.

Vitamin K naturally comes in two forms.

The first is vitamin K1. This is the type normally found in green, leafy vegetables and helps mainly with blood clotting.

Vitamin K2, on the other hand, is responsible for regulating calcium.

It’s in charge of telling your body when to fuse the calcium into your bones to make them stronger and denser.

Chances Are You’re Not Getting Enough

Your bone is a complex structure. It’s composed of mineral crystals and cells that are bound together by matrix proteins.

The most important of these is the calcium-regulating protein osteocalcin. It’s under vitamin K2’s control.

It tells the osteocalcin proteins to go through a process called carboxylation. Once carboxylated, they can create new bone tissue.

The trouble starts when you don’t get enough K2.

When levels of this critical vitamin are low, osteocalcin can’t undergo carboxylation.

The end result?

It can’t glue itself to the bone and create new bone tissue. Over time, the bone becomes porous and weak, making it prone to fracture.

The scary part is that it’s all too easy to be K2-deficient. That’s because it occurs in very small quantities in the diet compared to K1.

Because of this, most people get 10 times more K1 in their diets than K2. The good news is, there are a few K2-rich sources of food that are accessible and cheap. I’ll share those with you in just a moment.

But first, you should know that frail bones aren’t the only reason you want to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of K2…

Osteoporosis Means Bad News for Your Heart

The connection isn’t obvious… but your bone health and heart health are linked.

A team of scientists from California studied plaque tissue from arteries. Inside they found several key components that are critical to bone formation.3

Why is this important?

Osteoporosis doesn’t just mean weak bones. It’s a risk factor for heart disease.

See, K2 also controls another important bone-building protein known as matrix GLA-protein.

Without K2, matrix GLA-protein can’t undergo the same carboxylation process that osteocalcin undergoes. New research is showing this plays a role in calcification of the arteries.

For example, researchers bred mice to lack the matrix GLA-protein. The mice died within a few weeks after birth due to the unrestrained calcium deposits in their arteries.4

In humans, the effects of a lack of vitamin K2 are similar.

One study followed a group of people taking the popular blood-thinning drug Coumadin (warfarin), which blocks vitamin K1 and K2. They were compared against a group not taking the drug.

The findings were astonishing.

Not only did those taking Coumadin suffer more bone fractures, they had two times as many calcium deposits in their heart valves and arteries.5

This Overlooked Nutrient Could Save Your Life

The evidence is overwhelming. Vitamin K2 not only protects your bones, but it’s also a potent heart-defender.

This became clear in the Rotterdam Heart Study. Dutch researchers followed 4,800 participants over the course of seven years.

Those with the highest levels of vitamin K2 had a 57% reduced death rate from heart disease than those who had the lowest levels. This relationship did not hold true with vitamin K1.6

What’s more, this same study found that getting enough K2 in your diet can reduce severe aortic calcification by 52% and overall mortality by 26%.

With findings like these, it’s surprising vitamin K2 hasn’t gotten much press.

6 Easy Ways to Get More of Nature’s “Glue”

You don’t need much vitamin K2 to reap the benefits. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting enough to keep your bones strong and your heart healthy:

1. Egg Yolks – I’ve been telling my patients for years to eat them. Eggs are not the enemy. So eat them without fear. Not only will you get a good dose of K2, but you’ll also get plenty of vitamins and nutrients. Whenever possible, choose cage-free, vegetarian-fed eggs.

2. Organ Meats – If you’ve got a taste for it, liver is an excellent choice. Personally, I love liver and onions. Make sure you get your organ meats from grass-fed, free-range cattle.

3. Natto – This ancient Japanese dish contains, by far, the highest concentrations of K2. Natto is made of soybeans that have been fermented with the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. In Japan, it’s a popular breakfast food. Some grocery stores usually carry it. But you can also check local Asian markets in your area. I must warn you though, Natto is an acquired taste.

4. Organic or Raw Whole Milk – Make sure you go organic. And if it’s possible, I would even recommend raw milk. Many states have co-ops that will sell it to you. Make sure you check your city and state laws though, as some states have made it illegal to purchase raw milk.

5. Traditionally Fermented Cheese – Two cheeses in particular have moderately high amounts of K2. Swiss Emmental and Norwegian Jarlsberg.

6. Menaquinone (MK-7) – Supplementing is always a good option. Make sure it’s the MK-7 form of vitamin K2. This is usually made out of a Natto extract. Be sure to choose a supplement that’s been extracted from non-genetically modified (non-GMO) soybeans. You can find MK-7 at your local health-food store. I recommend 45 to 90 mcg per day.

  1. Willett W. Calcium: too much of a good thing? Report from the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable.
  2. Iwamoto J, Takeda T, Ichimura S. Combined treatment with vitamin K2 and bisphosphonate in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Yonsei Med J. 2003 Oct 30;44(5):751-6.
  3. Bostrom K, Watson KE, Horn S, et al. Bone morphogenetic protein expression in human atherosclerotic lesions. J Clin Invest. 1993 Apr;91(4):1800-9.
  4. Luo G, Ducy P, McKee MD, et al. Spontaneous calcification of arteries and cartilage in mice lacking matrix GLA protein. Nature. 1997 Mar 6;386(6620):78-81.
  5. Gage BF, Birman-Deych E, Radford MJ, Nilasena DS, Binder EF. Risk of osteoporotic fracture in elderly patients taking warfarin: results from the National Registry of Atrial Fibrillation 2. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jan 23;166(2):241-6.
  6. Geleijnse JM, Vermeer C, Grobbee DE, et al. Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study. J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3100-5.