Posts Tagged Vitamin K2

Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Dementia Confirmed

via: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola

Vitamin D has been shown to improve a number of brain disorders, including dementia and its most severe form, Alzheimer’s disease,1 the latter of which now affects an estimated 5.2 million Americans.2

The latest mortality statistics places Alzheimer’s in the top three killer diseases in the US, right behind heart disease and cancer.3 Vitamin D deficiency is also rampant. Researchers estimate that half of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

Among seniors, that estimate reaches as high as 95 percent. While certainly not the sole cause of dementia, evidence suggests vitamin D may be a very important factor for successful prevention.

A wide variety of brain tissue contains vitamin D receptors, and when they’re activated by vitamin D, it facilitates nerve growth in your brain. Researchers also believe that optimal vitamin D levels boosts levels of important brain chemicals, and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.

Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on your brain through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which are well established.

‘Most Robust Study of Its Kind’ Confirms Link Between Low Vitamin D and Dementia

The link between low vitamin D and dementia has again been confirmed with the publication of a robust six-year long study4 conducted by an international team of researchers. As reported by Science Daily:5

“[S]tudy participants who were severely vitamin D deficient were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease…

[A]dults in the study who were moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53 percent increased risk of developing dementia of any kind, and the risk increased to 125 percent in those who were severely deficient.

Similar results were recorded for Alzheimer’s disease, with the moderately deficient group 69 percent more likely to develop this type of dementia, jumping to a 122 percent increased risk for those severely deficient.”

The authors concluded that: “Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.”

The findings also suggest there’s a threshold level of circulating vitamin D, below which your risk for dementia increases. This threshold was found to be right around 50 nmol/L, or 20 ng/ml. Higher levels were associated with good brain health.

Based on previous research, I believe 20 ng/ml is still too low, and potentially dangerously so… When it comes to vitamin D, you really want to be in the optimal or clinically relevant range, and as the years have gone by, researchers have progressively moved that target range upward.

At present, based on the evaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, the optimal range for general health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml, or 125-175 nmol/L—a far cry from the threshold suggested in this study.

vitamin d levels
References for target ranges

Sun Exposure Is the Ideal Way to Optimize Your Vitamin D Level

I believe sensible sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D levels. As a general rule, you’ll want to expose large amounts of bare skin to the sun until it turns the lightest shade of pink, if you’re light-skinned.

This typically occurs in about half the time it would normally take you to burn. So if you know you tend to get sunburned after 30 minutes, you’d want to stay in the sun for about 15 minutes.

Those with darker skin may need to pay closer attention to notice when this slight reddening occurs. It’s really impossible to give any firm recommendations for how long you need to stay in the sun to optimize vitamin D production, as it varies greatly depending on a number of factors, such as:

Antioxidant levels and diet in general Age
Skin color and/or current tan level Use of sunscreen
Latitude and altitude (elevation) Cloud cover and pollution
Ozone layer Surface reflection
Season Time of day
Weight Altitude

Other Alternatives: UVB emitting lights or Supplements

Your second-best option would be to use lights that emit UVB.

If your circumstances prevent either of these strategies, then you’re left with taking a vitamin D supplement. GrassrootsHealth has a helpful chart showing the average adult dose required to reach healthy vitamin D levels based upon your measured starting point. Many experts agree that 35 IUs of vitamin D per pound of body weight could be used as an estimate for your ideal dose.

Be sure to take vitamin D3—not synthetic D2—and take vitamin K2 in conjunction with it. The biological role of vitamin K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, and without sufficient amounts, calcium may build up in areas such as your arteries and soft tissues.

This can cause calcification that can lead to hardening of your arteries—a side effect previously thought to be caused by vitamin D toxicity. We now know that inappropriate calcification is actually due more to lack of K2 than simply too much vitamin D.

Magnesium Is Also Important for Vitamin D Activity

Magnesium is another important player—both for the proper function of calcium, and for the activity of vitamin D, as it converts vitamin D into its active form. Magnesium also activates enzyme activity that helps your body use the vitamin D. In fact, all enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium to work. Magnesium also appears to play a role in vitamin D’s immune-boosting effects. As noted by magnesium expert Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND:6

“The effectiveness and benefits of vitamin D are greatly undermined in the absence of adequate levels of magnesium in the body. Magnesium acts with and is essential to the activity of vitamin D, and yet most Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this important mineral.”

As with vitamin D and K2, magnesium deficiency is also common, and if you’re lacking in magnesium and take supplemental calcium, you may exacerbate the situation. Vitamin K2, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D all work in tandem with each other, which is why it’s important to pay attention to their ratios. Vitamin A, zinc, and boron are other important cofactors that interact with vitamin D, and indeed, zinc deficiency has also been identified as a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s disease.

When taking supplements, it can be easy to create lopsided ratios, so getting these nutrients from an organic whole food diet and sensible sun exposure is generally your best bet. Dietary sources of magnesium include sea vegetables, such as kelp, dulse, and nori. Vegetables can also be a good source. As for supplements, magnesium citrate and magnesium threonate are among the best.

Continue Reading At: DrMercola.com

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In Praise of the Lowly Cucumber

via: GreenMedInfo
by: Sayer Ji
August 4, 2012

On sweltering August days, no one wants to spend time at the stove, and sometimes the grill is even too much to bear.  Some days your best kitchen tool is a blender and your most refreshing ingredient is a cooling cucumber.

Although it will never be mistaken for a superfood, the common cucumber has been around for a long time and is probably here to stay.  Originating in India over 3,000 years ago, it’s believed that cucumbers were brought to America by Christopher Columbus.

They don’t get much respect as vegetables go and most people write them off as harmless water logs used to satisfy a dieter’s need for crunching. But besides their refreshing crunch, cucumbers make a respectable contribution to your nutritional needs.

A one-half cup serving of cucumber slices supplies 2% of your daily magnesium and potassium requirements and 11% of your daily vitamin K needs.  All for only 8 calories.

What exactly is vitamin K and why do you need it?

Vitamin K comes in two forms.  Vitamin K1 is an anti-oxidant, and is important in allowing blood to clot normally. It also may be helpful in relieving bruising, heavy menstrual flow, and nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.  It is abundant in leafy green vegetables.

In our intestines, bacteria convert vitamin K1 to K2 which has additional health benefits, including building bones and preventing osteoporosis.  Supplementing with vitamins K1 and K2 has been shown to reduce fracture rates in post-menopausal women.

Continue Reading At: GreenMedInfo.com

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Using probiotic enriched foods can optimize your health

via: NaturalNews
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
By: Dr. David Jockers

(NaturalNews) Our ancestors’ utilized probiotic enriched foods on a regular basis. This was necessary as a means of food preservation without the advent of refrigeration. Many ancient medicine men and physicians began utilizing them to treat certain ailments. Probiotic enriched foods are one of the most important attributes of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

In the early 20th century, Nobel Prize winning scientist Ilya Ilyich Mechinikov attributed the remarkable health of a group of Bulgarian people to their daily consumption of probiotic enriched foods. He named the unique bacterial species that made up much of their fermented products Lactobacillus bulgaricus. He theorized that probiotic bacteria could have a much greater impact on human health than the much feared pathogenic strains of bacteria.

Every culture around the world had their own unique fermented foods. The Europeans used cabbage, beets and cucumbers to make foods like sauerkraut, kvass and pickles. The Koreans made a spiced, fermented cabbage they called kimchi. The Asians fermented soy to form products such as tempeh, miso and natto. They also created a fermented drink called Kombucha. Many different cultures also made their own fermented sourdough style breads.

Traditional fermented foods

Sauerkraut is made by fermenting cabbage often times in vinegar. Raw cabbage naturally has probiotics and enzymes that are exponentially multiplied during the fermentation period. Fresh (not canned) sauerkraut is a fantastic source of living enzymes and active lactobacillus and pediococcus strains of probiotics.

Kimchi is most commonly made with Chinese cabbages. There are many other variations of kimchi using cucumbers, eggplants, leeks, radishes, & other seasonal veggies. Often times these are prepared with a combination of fermented veggies that give it unique antioxidants, live enzymes and the special organism lactobacillus kimchi among others.

Fermented soy comes in three major forms: miso, tempeh and natto. Miso and tempeh often incorporate brown rice and barley fermentation with two unique probiotic yeast species. These yeasts enhance the bioavailability of the amino acids and produce high amounts of B vitamins. The bacillus subtilis bacterium is used to produce natto which is rich in proteolytic enzymes and vitamin K2.

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

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