VITAMIN K2 CONTROLS REMOVAL OF CALCIUM FROM ARTERIES
By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
June 5, 2007
...And Deposition of Calcium Into Bones
Detecting calcium deposits in arteries by computer tomography scanning studies has become a valuable clue that an individual has arteriosclerotic heart disease and has significant risk for heart attack and sudden death. Detected calcium arterial deposits thus permit life style changes to be instituted before sudden death or acute myocardial infarction has occurred. This increased risk of calcium deposition into arteries has recently been confirmed to bring increased risk of heart attack and heart disease deaths to blacks, Hispanics and Chinese even though their risks are less than Caucasians.
Western cultures (Europe, Canada, USA,) eat a high protein, high dairy, high phosphorus acidifying diet. This type food causes large amounts of calcium to be wasted in the urine as it is removed from bone tissue to try to preserve an alkaline cellular environment in the face of a very acidic dietary protein intake. To make matters even worse the ratio of calcium to magnesium in milk is 9 to 1 which exaggerates the lack of magnesium found in food grown on magnesium depleted U.S. soil. Low magnesium stores in bone cells prevents magnesium from being of any value in attempts to preserve an alkaline body pH. Naturally the Western diet leads to profound loss of calcium and magnesium from bone thus ensuring osteoporosis and fractured bones in the elderly. The nation of Thailand which eats almost no dairy products and obtains calcium primarily from vegetables has much less osteoporosis than western nations on their high protein high dairy product diets.
Calcification in cellular tissues is a sign of tissue damage, cellular aging and impending cell death. When cells are unable to regulate calcium and keep the calcium content of cells down cellular function degenerates. Calcified arteries, calcium in soft tissues and high levels of calcium within cells are all signs of aging. At age 80 the average calcium content in the aorta is 140 times greater than the levels of aortic calcification noted at age 40. This may relate to a long period of unrecognized Vitamin K2 deficiency.
Vitamin K1 is found in plants and Vitamin K2 is found in animals and bacteria(healthy colon bacteria, Japanese natto, low fat Dutch gouda and edam cheese). Bacteria in the colon are able to produce and store about one month of Vitamin K. Antibiotics kill many of these good intestinal bacteria thus impairing production of Vitamin K. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have similar adverse effects on these valuable bacteria. Vitamin K absorption is improved by dietary fat which stimulates bile secretion.
Studies have shown that subclinical Vitamin K deficiency , is present in most healthy adults. The first symptoms of this deficiency can be heart attack or a fractured osteoporotic bone. In the Framingham study subjects in the highest quartile for Vitamin K intake had a significantly lower risk of hip fracture.
In 1984 scientists reported that patients with osteoporotic fractures had circulating Vitamin K1 levels that were 70% lower than age and sex matched controls. These findings were confirmed and it was noted that low levels of Vitamin K were associated with loss of bone mineral density creating an independent risk factor for bone fracture. Further studies have disclosed that Vitamin K1 was less effective than Vitamin K2 in preventing bone loss.
The absorption of synthetic Vitamin K1 has recently been compared to the absorption of Vitamin K2(menaquinone-7) in healthy subjects. Vitamin K1 has been widely used in food supplements. Recently natural Vitamin K2 has become available for use in supplements. Both Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2 were well absorbed with peak blood levels reached at 4 hours. Unlike Vitamin K1, Vitamin K2 was found to have a very long half life which results in stable blood levels. During prolonged intake the long half life permits accumulation Of K2 to levels 7-8 fold higher than that seen after one dose. Vitamin K2(MK-7) is 6 times more potent than Vitamin K1.
Use Of Vitamin K2(Menaquinone-7) To Prevent Calcium Plaques From Appearing In Arteries
The commonly used anticoagulant drug coumadin interferes with the metabolism and function of Vitamin K by inhibiting the enzymes needed to produce Vitamin K This drug can produce excessive bleeding and does produce progressive widespread calcification of arteries and the aorta.
A clinical study from Rotterdam, Holland revealed a correlation between long term adequate Vitamin K2 intake and a lower incidence of calcification of the wall of the aorta. Arteries with no plaques have a 20 to 50 fold increase in Vitamin K2 concentration when compared to arteries with arterial plaques. The high K2(menaquinone-7) content arteries were noted to be more flexible and elastic than arteries lacking K2.
Lack of Vitamin K2 causes calcium to fail to be deposited in bones where it belongs and to be deposited instead in arteries, aorta, soft tissues including muscle, breast, kidneys and in heel spurs.
A protein called osteocalcin transports calcium to bone. Vitamin K2(menaquinone-7) is used to solidify this calcium into the bone matrix. When Vitamin K2 is lacking the calcium remains in the blood and ends up getting deposited in the walls of arteries and other sites which is very undesirable. Thus Vitamin K2 becomes a critical nutrient for both bone and arteries.
Dr. Leon Schurgers and Dr. Cees Vermeer of Maastricht University in Holland studied 4800 elderly Dutch men and women to ascertain whether Vitamin K2 could help prevent artery calcium deposits. They learned that persons with the highest dietary intake of K2 (primarily originating in low fat Dutch cheeses Gouda and Edam) had the least evidence of calcification of the aorta when compared to persons with low Vitamin K2 intakes. The higher the intake of these cheeses the lower the mortality from cardiovascular disease.
The fermented soy Japanese food natto contains Vitamin K2 in large amounts but Americans are likely to find it’s taste and smell objectionable unless it is covered by sauces. All of the Vitamin K2 produced in making the enzyme nattokinase has now become available to be sold for use in food supplements.
The drug coumadin is widely used by conventional medicine in cardiovascular disease to prevent clotting. Numerous natural health experts have been concerned for years that coumadin was not effective in preventing vascular deaths but also has problems with occasional serious internal bleeding episodes. German researchers found out in 2005 that long term use of coumadin produced increased calcium in the aortic valve and coronary arteries when compared to patients not taking coumadin. Dr. Gary Gordon states that “every patient on coumadin is increasing the calcium content of all vascular tissues. The calcium content of arteries is now proven to be more dangerous than diabetes, elevated cholesterol or hypertension, we must now try to educate patients.” Patients taking coumadin can be easily moved to safer anticoagulant therapy.
This information proves that Vitamin K2 is a critical nutrient for patients with arteriosclerosis as it has the potential to prevent and remove calcium from arteriosclerotic plaques thus making plaques easier to dissolve and less dangerous..
How To Safely Stop Coumadin Therapy
Persons taking coumadin therapy who have become alerted to the danger of this therapy can be easily withdrawn from this drug. Since coumadin is clearly inadequate to fully protect against clotting disorders, causes bleeding problems and accelerates arteriosclerosis many persons will choose to take other therapies. There are several safe natural substances that have value in replacing coumadin.
Dr. Robert Jay Rowen relates that using EDD, nattokinase or lumbrokinase(one twice daily), gingko, and Unique E(1200IU) to treat several hundred patients with thrombophlebitis has never been complicated by pulmonary embolism.
Dr. Gary Gordon has frequently stated that patients following his recommendations for healing arteriosclerosis with wobenzyme or boluoke(lumbrokinase), which appears to be the most effective enzyme as it resembles the effects of very expensive Tissue Plasminogen Activator, and high doses of Essential Daily Defense do not develop heart attack or strokes..
High doses of Vitamin K2(45 mcg to 90 mcg. daily) were used to successfully to treat osteoporosis in Japan. These doses are 1000 times the RDA dosage. No side effects were seen. This therapy for osteoporosis should work well and using Synergy K is simpler than other therapies for osteoporosis. The addition of Vitamin D-3, calcium, magnesium, boron, strontium and silica(horsetail) will supply additional key nutrients needed to construct bone.
Approximately 25 percent of individuals appear to have genetic risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease as they carry the E4 form of the lipoprotein apoE. These persons all have low levels of Vitamin K. Calcification of arteries to the brain is felt to be a component of Alzheimer’s Disease. Lack of the antioxidant benefits of K2 and exaggerated brain arterial calcification from lack of K2 might be contributing factors leading to Alzheimer’s Disease. Therapy with Vitamin K2 might turn out to prevent Alzheimer’s Disease or slow it’s progression.
The second highest concentration of Vitamin K in the human body is found in the pancreas. Japanese researchers have learned that inducing Vitamin K deficiency in animals produces Type II diabetes. This raises the possibility that taking Vitamin K2 therapy may improve blood sugar control in known diabetics as well as possibly preventing the development of diabetes in other persons.
Anti-oxidant Properties of Vitamin K
Vitamin K has anti-oxidant properties comparable to CoQ 10 and Vitamin E. This provides another good reason to consider taking Vitamin K2.
Preventing Liver Cancer(Hepatoma) With Vitamin K2 Therapy
Japanese researchers used this same dosage of Vitamin K2(45 mcg) to safely prevent women with viral hepatitis from developing liver cancer (hepatoma). The use of Vitamin K2 reduced the incidence of hepatoma to 20% of that appearing in a control group of patients with viral hepatitis who were not taking Vitamin K2.
When the supply of Vitamin K2(menaquinone-7 is lacking in the body calcium deposits in arteries, aorta, muscle tissue, breast tissue and tendon sheaths causing bone spurs instead of in the bones where it belongs. This process of deposition of calcium in abnormal sites is known as metastatic calcification. Sites where these deposits may occur include muscles, breasts, kidneys and heel tendons. Provision of ample supplies of Vitamin K2 from one capsule of Synergy K should reverse this process by removing the deposits of abnormal calcium from soft tissues and placing them in bone where they belong.
Patients with advanced uremia often have disordered calcium metabolism with extensive deposits of calcium in soft tissues. This recent information about Vitamin K2 suggests that 45 to 90 mcg. of Vitamin K2 might be helpful in reversing these large areas of calcification seen in some uremics. Knowing that uremic patients have often been eating poorly for long periods of time might convert a person with undiagnosed Vitamin K deficiency eating a protein restricted diet into a patient who has very extensive calcium deposition..
Painful Calcaneal (heel) Spurs
Heel spurs are a common clinical problem which has no satisfactory therapy. Surgical procedures do not solve the problem probably because they are unable to resolve Vitamin K2 deficiency. Injections of Xylocaine like drugs and cortisone compounds into the painful bone deposits also fail to prove rewarding. Also non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(Motrin, Clinoril, etc.) can produce gastric irritation, internal bleeding and intestinal dysbiosis by killing healthy intestinal bacteria without resolving Vitamin K2 lack. Restoration of Vitamin K2 stores could lead to resolution of heel spurs.
Calcium Deposits In Breasts
Non traumatic calcifications in breast tissue cause lots of mental anguish because of fear of cancer. Some of these depositions, possibly all, may be due to lack of Vitamin K2. Therefore several months of Synergy K could prove worthwhile if the deposits start to resolve.
Most healthy adults in the USA have undiagnosed Vitamin K deficiency. This has important health ramifications as it is a prime contributing cause for arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis with vertebral and other fractures(hip.wrist). The recent availability of Vitamin K2 as a food supplement can produce important health benefits. This nutrient can heal osteoporosis in a simple safe manner. This should result in many fewer hip, vertebral and wrist fractures.
Regular intake of Vitamin K2 from supplements, natto, Edam and Gouda cheeses should prevent the development of arteriosclerotic plaques and thus be able to prevent disability and deaths from arteriosclerosis. Taking a slice of these cheeses daily is a pleasant good health habit.
Use of Vitamin K2 now permits reversal of calcifications in arteries and the aorta which should lead to significant drops in cardiovascular mortality if intake of Vitamin K2 becomes adopted by many citizens.
Other possible valuable uses for Vitamin K2 include decreasing the incidence of hepatoma following viral hepatitis, resolution of abnormal calcification(heel spurs, breast and kidney deposits), improving blood sugar control in diabetics and prevention of diabetes and possible protection against Alzheimer’s Disease.
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