Home Ageless Buzz - Healthy living blog The synergistic benefits of vitamins D3 and K2
by Hannah de Gruchy February 02, 2023
Vitamins D and K are both fat-soluble vitamins that have individual roles within the body, as well as working together to regulate calcium levels – calcium is important for the health and strength of our bones. Therefore, it’s essential that we have a sufficient intake of both vitamins to protect our bone health.
However, it isn’t always possible to get enough of each vitamin, and this has led vitamin manufacturers to develop supplements that contain both vitamin D and vitamin K.
Vitamins D3 and K2: fast facts
- There are two main types of vitamin D and vitamin K – vitamin D2/3 and vitamin K1/2.
- Most vitamin D and K supplements contain vitamins D3 and K2 as they’re considered the most beneficial.
- Both vitamins have individual roles but are both equally important in the health of our bones.
- Vitamin D regulates the level of calcium in the blood and bones.
- Vitamin K helps to store calcium in the bones where it’s beneficial and prevents it building up in the blood vessels where it can be dangerous.
What is vitamin D3 and why do we need it?
Vitamin D is different from most other vitamins in that most of our intake isn’t from our diet. Instead, our body manufactures most of our vitamin D when we expose our skin to UV light from the sun. This explains why it’s often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. There are some food sources of vitamin D, including liver, egg yolks, oily fish, and mushrooms.
Along with vitamins A, E and K, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body requires fats and oils in the diet to absorb it. (Conversely, the B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble vitamins since they require water to be absorbed.)
The primary role of vitamin D is to keep our bones strong. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone deformities in children (a condition called rickets) and bone pain or soft bones (osteomalacia) in adults. We also need vitamin D to maintain healthy teeth and muscles and to support good mental health.
There are two types of vitamin D: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). They perform similar roles, with D2 being found primarily in mushrooms and D3 in animal-based foods such as liver, eggs, and fish.
Most vitamin D supplements contain vitamin D3, as its bioavailability (the amount that can absorbed into the bloodstream and utilised) is higher. Many D3 supplements are made using lanolin, the natural oil derived from sheep’s wool, and are therefore not suitable for vegetarians and vegans. However, there are now D3 supplements that have been made using vegetarian and vegan-friendly algae and lichen.
What is vitamin K2 and why do we need it?
Like vitamin D, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, but it isn’t as well-known as most of the other vitamins. Technically, vitamin K is a group of vitamins, the most common being vitamins K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is found primarily in green, leafy vegetables and K2 (menaquinone) is found mostly in animal-based foods as well as fermented foods, in particular a Japanese fermented soya bean dish called natto.
Vitamin K2 can be further divided into two subtypes called MK-4 (menaquinone-4) and MK-7 (menaquinone-7). Animal-based foods such as liver, cheese and egg yolks tend to contain MK-4, whilst fermented foods like natto, kimchi and sauerkraut contain MK-7. The bacteria in our gut also produce MK-7.
We need vitamin K for normal blood clotting and wound healing. Like vitamin D, it also plays a major role in bone health. There is ongoing research into the similarities and differences between vitamins K1 and K2. Some researchers believe that they should be classified as separate vitamins.
What is known, is that in studies where participants have been given vitamin K supplements, K2 consistently helps to improve bone health, while K1 appears to offer no significant benefit. For this reason, most vitamin K supplements contain vitamin K2.
How do vitamins D3 and K2 work together for bone health?
These two important vitamins work together to protect bone health by continually regulating the level of the mineral calcium that enters and leaves the bones.
Calcium is essential for maintaining bone tissue and strength, and vitamin D helps to support the absorption of the calcium from our diet into our bloodstream to be used in our bones. If we have a plentiful intake of calcium, vitamin D will ensure it is stored in our bones.
However, calcium has many other roles in the body, such as dental health, muscle contraction, heart health, hormone production and nerve signalling. If we don’t consume enough calcium in our diet, the body has no choice but to take it from the largest calcium reserve – our bones. Vitamin D assists in this process, even though if we’re deficient in calcium long term, it could lead to brittle bones, fractures, and osteoporosis.
The role of vitamin D is to make sure we have enough calcium, but it doesn’t solely control where this calcium ends up. Vitamin K does most of this work by activating two proteins that manage calcium reserves – osteocalcin and matrix GLA protein.
Osteocalcin promotes the calcification of the bone, in other words, the accumulation of calcium in the bones. Matrix GLA protein prevents the accumulation of calcium in the blood vessels and tubes within the kidneys. This is important because if calcium is allowed to build-up in the blood vessels and kidneys, it can lead to heart and kidney disease.
Therefore, there’s a synergistic relationship between vitamin D and vitamin K involving the regulation of calcium, and where it’s stored, and not stored, in the body. This benefits the health of our bones and helps to protect the health of our blood vessels.
Should I take vitamins D3 and K2 at the same time?
Since vitamins D3 and K2 both play a role in bone health, they’re often found in supplements together and it makes sense to take them at the same time.
Doing so helps to ensure that the calcium in the blood is transported to the bones by vitamin D and isn’t allowed to dangerously build up in the blood vessels, a role played by vitamin K2.
There are no known serious side effects to taking these two vitamins together.
How to supplement with vitamins D3 and K2
It’s recommended that adults take at least 10µg (microgram) of vitamin D per day during the winter months when we’re exposed to less sunlight. It’s entirely safe to take vitamin D all year round, and it’s recommended that we do so if we cover our skin for religious or cultural purposes, or we don’t spend much time outside due to illness, disability, or incarceration. Daily vitamin D supplements are also recommended for those who don’t consume animal products.
Adults require around 1µg of vitamin K per kilo of bodyweight. For example, if we weigh 60kg, we’d need 60µg of vitamin K.
If you’re in doubt about your intake of either vitamin, a supplement that contains enough of both for most adults is a good idea. contain 100µg of vitamin D3 and 200µg of vitamin K2 per capsule. If you prefer a liquid version, we also retail BioBloom's Vitamin D3 and K2 with hemp oil, which provides20µgof vitamin D3 and 75µgof vitamin K2in a 4-drop serving. They’re both suitable for vegetarians and contain no gluten, lactose, or soya.
As with all food supplements, you may need to take them daily for at least three months before you notice any benefits. Supplementing your diet with these vitamins as part of a healthy lifestyle can help to give you peace of mind that you’re doing all you can to support your health and wellbeing.
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Hannah de Gruchy
Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.
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What are the benefits of vitamin D3 and K2 together? ›
Current research shows the important synergistic relationship between Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3. Taking Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 helps to ensure the calcium transported by the Vitamin D is absorbed by your bones where it's needed, rather than accumulating in deposits in your arteries.What is synergistic with vitamin D? ›
Out of a total 12 studies, 11 studies showed that Vitamin D work in synergy with Vitamin K and also has a significant role in improving bone fractures, low BMD, and cardiovascular disorders.Is it OK to take vitamin D3 and K2 together? ›
Vitamin D3 should therefore always be taken in combination with vitamin K2. These two vitamins work together synergistically and ensure that calcium obtained from food is deposited in the bones and not in the arteries.How much vitamin K2 should I take with vitamin D3? ›
How much K2 should I take with D3? Taking a Vitamin D3 supplement without K2 can have disastrous effect, as Vitamin D creates need for Vitamin K2 in the body. As a guide, you should take 45mcg of Vitamin K2 per 1000 IU of Vitamin D3.Can vitamin K2 reverse wrinkles? ›
Adequate dietary vitamin K2 prevents calcification of our skin's elastin, the protein that gives skin the ability to spring back, smoothing out lines and wrinkles.What time of day should I take vitamin D3 and K2? ›
Try taking it alongside breakfast or with a bedtime snack — as long as it doesn't interfere with your sleep. The key is to find what works for you and stick with it to ensure you're meeting your vitamin D needs. Taking vitamin D with a meal can increase its absorption, but studies on specific timing are limited.What is the synergistic effect of vitamin D and K2? ›
Several studies indicate the synergistic effect of vitamin K2 with D3. These studies have shown that this combination enhances the accumulation of osteocalcin in bone cells. Increased bone density can only occur when there is increased osteocalcin formation.What vitamins work synergistically? ›
Vitamin A and E together lead to increased antioxidant capabilities, protect against some forms of cancer, and support a healthier gut. They work synergistically to prevent or support obesity, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, immune response, brain health, hearing loss.
Sellers of vitamin D claim the nutrient can lower your blood pressure. But don't believe the hype. According to cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD, despite claims from the nutrition industry and non-medical personnel about vitamin D's ability to lower blood pressure, no quality scientific study can confirm these benefits.What happens if you take too much vitamin D3 and K2? ›
The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.
Does vitamin K2 lower cholesterol? ›
Accordingly, subjects in the Rotterdam Study with the highest vitamin K2 intake consumed more total and saturated fats and also had lower total cholesterol values and higher levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol.What happens if you take vitamin D3 without K2? ›
In the absence of vitamin K2, calcium circulating in the body that has been absorbed from food by vitamin D is also deposited in the soft tissues of the body and in the arteries, leading to arterosclerosis. Vitamin D3 should therefore always be taken in combination with vitamin K2.Do I need to take calcium with K2 and d3? ›
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium. If you take calcium with vitamin D, you will absorb more of the calcium. That might seem like a good thing, but if you don't have enough vitamin K2 on hand, the calcium will end up where you don't want it.Does K2 thicken blood? ›
It is responsible for making blood coagulate or thicken, to form a clot.What does vitamin K2 do for skin? ›
Improves Skin Elasticity – As we age, it is common to have skin conditions like dark spots, stretch marks, scars and varicose veins. Vitamin K2 could help combat such ailments by assisting with cell repair. The skincare industry has caught onto this and has started to synthesise vitamin K for topical applications.Is vitamin K2 good for seniors? ›
K2 reduces the risk of bone fracture, while reducing cardiovascular risk—important for longevity and quality of life for 60+ consumers.Does vitamin K2 make you look younger? ›
Vitamin K2 may prevent wrinkles and reverse aging
Collagen and elastin are two of the components of skin that give it firmness and elasticity. As skin ages, it loses both collagen and elastin, and its youthful appearance along with them.
Vitamin K helps in the regeneration of hair strands, which can not only help hair grow faster and thus thicker, but also naturally reverse balding. Vitamin K2, to be specific, is crucial to preventing scalp calcification, which is when calcium builds on the scalp and prevents hair growth.Who should not take K2 supplements? ›
Vitamin K2 Contraindications
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to any single vitamin or multivitamin. Do not use this medicine if you are under 18 years old.
Since vitamin D is fat soluble, it's best not to take it on an empty stomach. For maximum absorption, take it with a substantial meal, and preferably one that includes fat-containing foods like nuts, seeds, and eggs.
How long should you take vitamin K2? ›
When taken by mouth: The two forms of vitamin K (vitamin K1 and vitamin K2) are likely safe when taken appropriately. Vitamin K1 10 mg daily and vitamin K2 45 mg daily have been safely used for up to 2 years. It's usually well-tolerated, but some people may have an upset stomach or diarrhea.Does D3 and K2 compete for absorption? ›
Better Together: Vitamin D3 and K2 Maximise Absorption
While vitamin D3 improves your calcium absorption , vitamin K2 allocates where that calcium can be used. When you aren't getting enough calcium from your diet or supplementation, vitamin D may get the calcium it needs from your bones .
Vitamin K can have a serious and potentially dangerous interaction with anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®), as well as phenprocoumon, acenocoumarol, and tioclomarol, which are commonly used in some European countries [7,8].Can you take magnesium with D3 and K2? ›
Interactions between your drugs
No interactions were found between K2 Plus D3 and magnesium oxide.
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of different substances that can act as antioxidants. The most familiar ones are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other related carotenoids, along with the minerals selenium and manganese.What vitamin is good for joints and cartilage? ›
Vitamins D and K are both important for bone strength, and vitamin K is involved in cartilage structure. Supplementing these two nutrients may be helpful if you're deficient in them.Can Vitamin D3 raise BP? ›
Conclusion: Oral vitamin D 3 has no significant effect on blood pressure in people with vitamin D deficiency. It reduces systolic blood pressure in people with vitamin D deficiency that was older than 50 years old or obese.Can Vitamin D3 cause high BP? ›
However, we may conclude that vitamin D supplementation will not affect blood pressure short-term.Does vitamin K2 lower heart rate? ›
100 Intake of vitamin K2 has been associated with increased cardiac output, stroke volume and heart rate, and decreased blood lactate.Which two vitamins pose the greatest risk of toxicity? ›
The fat-soluble vitamins A and D are the most likely to cause toxicity symptoms if you consume them in high amounts.
What are the symptoms of too much vitamin K2? ›
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- fast or irregular breathing.
- lightheadedness or fainting.
- skin rash, hives and/or itching.
- swelling of eyelids, face, or lips.
- tightness in chest.
- troubled breathing and/or wheezing.
“D3 is safer and more effective with K2 to balance calcium in the body. Any formulation that includes D3 can be improved by K2,” says Jörg Büttinghaus, Vice President Kappa Sales and Marketing.What vitamin removes plaque from arteries? ›
Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is the best agent known to raise blood levels of HDL, which helps remove cholesterol deposits from the artery walls.Does vitamin K2 unclog arteries? ›
Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in May 2022. Written by: Jennifer Ming. In a new study, scientists have presented powerful evidence that vitamin K2 can reduce the progression of atherosclerosis, the “blockage” of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.How long does it take K2 to clear arteries? ›
In the groups receiving high-dose vitamin K1 or K2 (MK-4), not only was there no further arterial calcium accumulation, there was a 37% reduction of previously accumulated arterial calcification after six weeks. After 12 weeks, there was a 53% reduction in accumulated arterial calcium deposits.Can vitamin K2 cause blood clots? ›
Since the primary deficiency disease associated with vitamin K is bleeding due to impaired blood clotting, it is often thought that high intake of vitamin K may increase thrombosis risk. This is evidently not true.Can vitamin D3 cause calcification of arteries? ›
While a large number of studies suggest that vitamin D excess (i.e., hypervitaminosis D) is associated with extensive calcification, others report that deficiency also promotes calcification, with long-term supplementation providing protective effects.Do I need to take calcium if I take vitamin K2? ›
Thus, calcium in tandem with vitamin K2 may well be the solution for bringing necessary bone benefits while circumventing an increased risk for heart disease.Does vitamin K2 reverse osteoporosis? ›
One Japanese study found that a daily intake of low-dose vitamin K2 significantly improved vertebral BMD in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, but there were no significant changes in BMD among postmenopausal women without osteoporosis.What does vitamin K2 do to your blood? ›
Vitamin K2 helps turn on processes outside of the liver, like in our bones or our blood vessels. In blood vessels, it activates a protein called Matrix Gla-protein (MGP) which removes calcium from the lining of blood vessels.
Does K2 reduce inflammation? ›
There is evidence that vitamin K2 supplementation reduces inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis by reducing CRP levels . Vitamin K2 may induce apoptosis in rheumatoid arthritis synovial cells.Is K2 anti inflammatory? ›
This investigation found that vitamin K2, in the form of menaquinone-4, was a more potent anti-inflammatory compound than vitamin K1 in this primary cell system.Does vitamin K2 help varicose veins? ›
Vitamin K is also commonly recommended for healthy veins. But while vitamin K plays an essential role in your vascular health and overall well-being, it cannot eliminate bulging varicose veins or clusters of spider veins. There is no quick cure, at-home or herbal, for vein disease.What does vitamin K do for under eyes? ›
The blood vessels around the eye are also extremely fragile and can be easily broken. With the amazing anticoagulation benefits of Vitamin K, it is effective in treating this area and minimizing the appearance of dark circles and puffy eyes.What are the benefits of Vitamin D3 and K2 together? ›
Current research shows the important synergistic relationship between Vitamin K2 and Vitamin D3. Taking Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 helps to ensure the calcium transported by the Vitamin D is absorbed by your bones where it's needed, rather than accumulating in deposits in your arteries.Is vitamin K good for your eyes? ›
New research on vitamin K suggests that it may promote eye health, thanks to the vitamin's link to active matrix Gla protein, or MGP, an inhibitor of calcification in large arteries.What are the side effects of Vitamin D3 K2? ›
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds.
- Stomach cramps.
Optimal Vitamin K2 intake is crucial to avoid the calcium plaque buildup of atherosclerosis, thus keeping the risk and rate of calcification as low as possible. Matrix GLA protein (MGP)—found in the tissues of the heart, kidneys, and lungs—plays a dominant role in vascular calcium metabolism.Should seniors take K2? ›
K2 reduces the risk of bone fracture, while reducing cardiovascular risk—important for longevity and quality of life for 60+ consumers.What happens when you start taking vitamin K2? ›
When you take Vitamin K2, it helps your body to produce more of the protein needed for blood clotting. It also helps to keep your bones healthy by keeping calcium in your bones and out of your arteries. Vitamin K2 is also essential for heart health because it helps prevent the arteries from hardening.