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Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life Paperback – November 7, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Are you taking calcium or vitamin D? This book could save your life!
Learn the secret to avoiding osteoporosis and heart disease.
Millions of people take vitamin D and calcium supplements for bone health. New research shows that this actually increases the risk of heart attack and stroke because the added calcium builds up in arteries—the calcium paradox. The secret to keeping bones strong and arteries clear is vitamin K2, a little-known supernutrient that humans once thrived on and that has been ignored by scientists for almost 70 years.
Inside this book, you'll find:
How consumption of grass-fed animals traditionally provided us with ample quantities of vitamin K2—while grain-based animal feed contributed to the eradication of vitamin K2 in our modern diet
How K2 is the most important anti-aging nutrient for fighting wrinkles, Alzheimer's, heart disease, osteoporosis and more
The health benefits K2 promotes for straight, cavity-free teeth and strong bones in children
Which delicious "sinful" foods are brimming with heart-healthy K2
Ways you can safely get the most benefit from your calcium and vitamin D supplements
Also available as an e-book through online retailers.
About the Author
Naturopathic Doctor Kate Rhéaume-Bleue is an expert in natural health. A sought-after and engaging speaker, Dr. Kate is a frequent guest on radio and television and a leading authority on vitamin K2.
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However, if you go beyond food souces, her advice on supplement choices seems to gloss over, and perhaps even mislead, with some of the facts in regard to her recommendation for the MK-7 version of vitamin K2 instead of the MK-4 version.
Her main criticism of MK-4 is the that it is `synthetic.' That `synthetic' word is a red flag for many, myself included. However, all the supplements are made in a factory/laboratory. The MK-4 is still made with natural occurring ingredients, just like the MK-7.
But even more important, which one is really going to work for you!
My personal experience:
I have yet to hear from anyone that the MK-7 supplements will dissolve the calcified plaque that forms behind the lower front teeth. In 2 days, the Thorne MK-4 supplement completely removed the krud behind my teeth. I was amazed by this. Ever since, I don't need a teeth cleaning at the dentist. I had been taking the Jarrow MK-7 for more than a year without this dramatic effect.
This proves to me that this supplement is taking calcium away from someplace it's not supposed to be and, hopefully, putting it someplace that it IS supposed to be. Which is the major idea presented in this book.
I switched to the MK-4 as an experiment after reading Richard Nikolay's post on Free the Animal blog where he was surprised to notice this same teeth cleaning effect. And I had read about it along time ago in the Track Your Plaque blog of Dr. William Davis.
Why does this author emphasize that MK-7 is better than MK-4?
Please read the studies directly. The abstract googles up easily.
The frequently referenced study that concluded "A high intake of menoquinones, especially MK-7, 8 and 9 . . . could protect against CHD " was a study with data that was "estimated with a food frequency questionnaire." As if it were easy and/or accurate to isolate the effects of either MK-4 versus MK-7 from foods which often contain both.
Is it true that the Rotterdam study mentions that MK-7 seems to be better at preventing/reducing arterial calcification than MK-4? In fact, the Rotterdam study didn't indicate which of the menaquinones was responsible for the association, although supplement manufacturers tried to twist the interpretation into supporting their product after the fact. All the Rotterdam study showed was that a higher K2 intake (all forms) was associated with a lower CHD risk and arterial calcification.
What about the 'half-life' argument?
The reason MK-7 has a longer half-life in the blood is because it has a longer side-chain, is thus more fat-soluble, and thus is located more in the core of the lipoproteins that carry it in the blood then the surface, thus having less interaction with enzymes that would bring it into the cells. MK-4 is therefore more easily absorbed into cells.
But major studies are underway using MK-7?
The large studies currently in progress in Europe that the author is fond of mentioning are simply comparing the MK-7 menaquinone to Vitamin K1. They are not comparing MK-7 to MK-4. For the author to implicate that study as a factor to suggest MK-7 is better than MK-4 supplementation can be misleading.
Read more of this where I got it, without the book author's bias, at the Whole Health Source blog by Stephen Guyenet in a post, "Are the MK-4 and MK-7 Forms of Vitamin K2 Equivalent?"
A final comment from the above blog post by Chris Masterjohn, who is cited within this book for his article titled, "On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved"(highly recommended) which you can search for and read directly on the Weston A Price Foundation website:
"I think it makes more sense to go for MK-4 given the choice between the two . . . . The plasma half-life reason is utterly absurd, considering the reduction in plasma half-life is due to the MK-4 being delivered to the tissues where it carries out its functions! It's also much easier to get MK-7 from the diet in amounts comparable to the supplements, since fermented foods can be quite high in it and the supplements are quite low in it.
"MK-4 is cheaper than MK-7! All of the MK-7 being sold comes in much lower doses. I think Thorne is the most cost-effective source of MK-4, especially with my suspicion that it has much higher bioavailability than solid capsules loaded with binders and fillers"
This may confuse you a little at first. The science hasn't answered all our questions yet. Until then, some of what this book has avoided telling you may help you make better decisions in your choice of K2 supplements.
That said, my criticism is a little nit-picky thing. Beyond that, this book is loaded with enlightening material that you will want to share with everyone you know. I really hope you will read it.
It is the best of the current crop of books popularizing K2. The only problem with her work is that she is Canadian so has limited experience with MK-4 in her practice (due to nanny-state potency restrictions there). It is absolutely not correct that MK-4 and MK-7 have the same effect and that dosage is the only difference. Pretty much all independent researchers acknowledge that if you could only take one, MK-4 is superior in most respects.
The primary people who advocate MK-7 exclusively over MK-4 are the Dutch researchers on the payroll, directly or indirectly via sponsored research, of the big MK-7 producers and then the main benefit they point out is the longer half-life (not really a benefit if you know what serum half-life means). Even the Japanese prefer MK-4 for high-dose therapeutic uses. All you have to do is go to PubMed and start reading some of the abstracts or do a web search on mk4 vs mk7 to get a broader and more informed perspective.
The MK-7 manufacturer sponsored research seems always careful to not directly compare with MK-4 (no non-inferiority trials). If they did we would discover that MK-7 is not found in the brain or the saliva, MK-4 is and it is neuroprotective. MK-7 does not cross the placenta and is not at significant amounts in breast milk. MK-4 is carried by HDL (which accounts for its more rapid clearing), whereas MK-7 is carried by VLDL (which causes it to linger in the blood instead of being picked up by the tissues). MK-4 is the body's preferred form from the time of the origin of the human species. Natto with MK-7 has only been a significant part of anyone's diet for maybe a millennium. If it needs to, the human body will transform available K1 into MK-4 (granted, not very effectively) not MK-7.
You wouldn't guess it by the way it is marketed, but even the fermented derived form of MK-7 is about as far from natto as you can get. One of the leading manufacturers, NattoPharma, doesn't even use the same bacteria as is used in natto (bacillus subtilis natto) and they claim there is zero soy in their product. The medium is chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour and dextrin and you can look up on Wikipedia the bacillus licheniformis they use for a culture bacteria. I suppose it does not really matter the source as long as the end product provides the stated potency.
Even more interesting is the fact that their newest product is actually synthetic MK-7 which is much cheaper to produce. Nothing wrong with that. It is a purer product than their naturally derived one. They even named it MenaQ7 PURE. Both of their products strip out the naturally occurring cis-isomer form of MK-7. Nothing wrong with that, either. The isolated trans-isomer form is what is wanted anyway.
The point to take away is that people get a warm fuzzy when they see the word natural associated with MK-7. Commercial naturally derived MK-7 (specifically MenaQ7) is far removed from nature and has nothing to do with natto. The company even says their synthetic version is bio-equivalent and nature-identical to their fermented version (i.e., you can't tell the difference). Soon, if not already, most all MK-7 on the market will be synthetic because it is purer and cheaper to make. [...] (I suspect Amazon will zap this link so I will also put it in the comments.)
Even the lovely Kate couldn't resist the financial lure of becoming a paid spokesperson for an MK-7 marketer (the vitamin company she works for). That only slightly detracts from her excellent book and she would have had to become a smuggler to become personally familiar with MK-4 in her practice anyway. But as always, when it comes to the validity of advice, always follow the money. There are good things to be said for MK-7 (I take it myself) but it is disingenuous to suggest it is somehow superior overall on its own to MK-4. The evidence does not support that view. They both have related and differing effects. It probably does make sense to take both.
The real problem is that well-heeled marketing and patent collection oriented companies that manufacture MK-7 use research funds as a means of marketing their specific products via carefully structured and relentless research programs. The end user requires much diligence to wade through it all and discern actual value. And as always, follow the money...