Monthly Archives: March 2013

Vitamin K2 Deficiency is COMMON

Vitamin K2 Deficiency is COMMON

References:  Cranenberg 2007 in Thrombosis and Haemostais Beulens in Diabetes Care 2010

We spent the first 60 years of Vitamin K2 thinking it was a subtype of K1 and all about blood clotting.  We also thought it was plentiful in our gut, and that its deficiency was rare.   It wasn’t until the late 1990s that information started to trickle out.  Then, Cranenberg put it all together in 2007.

It had become apparent that two critical proteins involved with calcium metabolism were activated by K2.   Osteocalcin is the protein that grabs calcium and cements it into bone.   The other, Matrix Gla Protein, or MGP for short, is the protein that pulls calcium out of your arteries.  When you have a lack of MGP, your arteries “harden” and become bone-like.  When you lack activated osteocalcin, your bones cannot incorporate calcium and you develop osteoporosis.  Both of these two proteins are activated by K2.   That means K2 is sitting astride two of the major epidemics of our modern era; coronary artery disease and osteoporosis.

What Cranenberg describes in the review article is: “In healthy individuals, substantial fractions of osteocalcin and MGP circulate as incompletely carboxylated species, indicating that the majority of these individuals is subclinically vitamin K-deficient.”  Did you get that?  Most of our MGP and osteocalcin is circulating in our bodies and not activated. And we have substantial risks for the diseases that lack of activation is responsible for.

What begs the question is “What are we waiting for?” and “Is there any toxicity to starting supplementation?” and “How did we get in this mess?”  We’ve now known this in little pieces for the last 5 years.

Our traditional medical model is to insist that you have to have a randomized placebo controlled trial of therapy to see if it addresses an issue.  That model takes many millions to conduct a study.  K2 is not patentable.  There will be no studies.  There is no money in it.  So don’t wait.  All we will find are small, convincing physiology studies showing the mechanisms.

The question then arises, how did we get here?  Easy.  A hundred years ago all our cows moved of the pasture (the source of green grass and K1) and onto the feedlot.  Our diets became K2 deficient.  Other things happened too.  We moved indoors and lost Vit D.  Vit D helps you absorb the calcium you need for your bones, but without K2, you can’t activate the osteocalcin to cement it into your bones.  Hence we have the terrible conundrum: you eat calcium to make your bones denser, and take D to make stronger bones, andyour calcium ends up in your arteries.

WWW.   What will work for me.  We don’t have a measure of K2 as a blood test. We can only measure “uncarboxylated osteocalcin”, and that test is still hard to find.  But you are deficient.  We all are.  It’s widespread.  And K2 is utterly non-toxic. (So far as we know so far.) If you are on coumadin, it may interfere at very high doses, but we aren’t sure of that yet.  More studies to follow.  In the meantime, I’ve got a few more K2 stories to tell you.  Next week.  So, stop by the office, order it on line, but start on K2 – 200 mcg a day of MK7.  Or buy grass raised butter from Denmark at Whole Foods.   If you want a surrogate measure of how K2 deficient you are, get your coronary arteries tested for calcium content with a CT scan.  Or a DEXA scan of your bones to see if you have too little calcium there.  Then you’ll know your risks.

Pop Quiz

1.  Vit K2 deficiency is rare and unusual to find?   T or F

Answer:  False.  That’s what we thought for the last 70 years, but we now know its widespread.

2.  The only way to detect the lack of K2, for the present is to measure the level of “un activated” protein called osteocalcin in our blood.  T or F.

Answer.  True but a trick question.  You can find if you are deficient in sneaky ways such as checking to see if you have calcium in your coronary arteries.  If you do, you get a snapshot that you never activated MGP protein that sucks calcium out of your arteries.  Same logic with osteoporosis.

Who was Weston Price?

Who Was Weston Price? Dentist Extraordinaire!

Reference: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price

Simple.  He is the “Charles Darwin of Nutrition”.  He was a dentist from Cleveland who got tired of putting cavities into kids’ mouths in the 1920s.  He asked the question, “Why do so many kids have cavities in America?”  With his wife and his new technology, a camera, he traveled the world to every society he could find where folks didn’t have access to modern food.  He took pictures of their teeth, faces and bodies and recorded exquisitely detailed notes about their diet.

What he observed was groundbreaking.  Again in again, in virtually every “primitive” society, he found that the people knew the value of important foods to prevent disease.  Without brushing teeth, he found perfect dental arches and full mouths of teeth without cavities.  This correlated with eating milk from grass raised animals, particularly early spring grass.  He found that tuberculosis couldn’t take hold until folks started eating western food.  He found that the “Indians” knew how to prevent scurvy by carefully cutting out the adrenal glands from animals and sharing them with all the members of a family. (Adrenals have very high levels of C in them).

Then he acted on what he found.  He came back to America and started to collect milk from farmers in Ohio in the spring when the grass was greenest.  He would mix the butter from that early green grass with cod liver oil and called it Activator X.  He started giving the Activator X to his patients with cavities.  And he cured them.  He also gave Activator X to mothers who were pregnant, resulting in children having better teeth.  See the two sisters in the attached picture.  The second girl was born five years later and has perfect x-rays and well aligned teeth. She got Activator X.You can see her teeth on the right.  Nice and straight!  See the x-rays.  Activator X was given to her and her mother while her mother while her mother was pregnant. Activator X is basically Vitamins K2, D, A and omega fatty acids. (Spring butter with cod liver oil.)  Sounds like the argument can be made the first thing to go wrong in development and nutrition is bad, misaligned teeth.v

WWW. What will work for me.  Vitamin K2 seems to be a remarkably potent and ubiquitous vitamin directing calcium metabolism.  Weston Price’s genius was that he found that, just by being curious, relentlessly detailed and following his gut.  Just like Charles Darwin.  Having grown up with cavities, and having had both my wisdom teeth pulled, and now having lost a crown, I’m tired of dental problems.  I’m starting myself on K2.  I found MK-7, the most active and long lasting form.  200 mcg a day.  You should too.  And please, please, tell every pregnant mother you know!  Or have her call me, and I’ll give her the whole spiel.

Sugar Isn’t Just Bad, It’s Poison

Sugar Isn’t Just Bad, It’s Poison

Reference:  PLOS On Line, Feb 27th, 2013 Basu, Yoff, Hills and Lustig.

Of course, of course.  Avoid sugar.  It’s not good for you.  Grandma knew that.  You know it.  But we say it with a slight wistfulness because we love the taste.  And we hope it’s not true.   Worse.  It’s not only true, it’s worse than true.   This paper says it’s poison.  Taking it causes a severe and dangerous illness.  That’s a poison.

Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco.   He has long been anxious about sugar and it’s dangerous side effects.  If you would like a scholarly, medical school lecture on the dangers of sugar, listen to his You Tube talk on the topic called The Bitter Truth.    That talk has gone viral and been downloaded over 3 million times.   In that talk he details exactly how fructose is as dangerous for your as alcohol in terms of damaging your body through bad fats. With that talk, he has gained international repute and credibility.

Now, he has gone a step further.  This is a very significant study.  Looking at food intake for 175 nations, and measuring their consumption of sugar, he and his team were able to demonstrate that for every 150 calories of sugar extra per day that a population consumes, the diabetes rate rises at 1.1%.   (Statistical significance of < 0.001)  They controlled for age, socioeconomic status, weight, income, urbanization.  No other food showed the same effect.

This is an unbelievably important paper.  We are proving that sugar is not only bad, but dangerous.  Diabetes is the disease of our day.  It is the precursor for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke and probably plays a part in osteoporosis and just about every other degenerative illness we suffer from.  Sugar is front and center.  Our taste buds tell us to eat it when we find it, because once upon a time the flavor sweet meant valuable, rare nutrition in the form of fruit that came along with lots of fiber and plenty of other minerals and nutrients.   Now, sugar comes in a hollow shell.  Instead of the 6% of fructose in an apple or a pear, we get 50% fructose in table sugar and 55% in high fructose corn syrup.

This same sort of data is the cascade that started our fear about smoking.  It took us 20 years to find the intentional efforts of the tobacco industry to promote their addictive product to children.   Now, the food industry promotes this addictive product to children, and to us all over.

The question is what to do!   The first step of change is knowledge based on good facts and good research.  This is good research.  Read the paper for yourself.  Listen to his lecture.  Your life will be changed.   There is enough of a libertarian streak in our society that imposing barriers never goes over easy when talking about regulations and laws.  But when it comes to you…you can make your own choice.

WWW. What will work for me.  My first step was to stop drinking any sugared sodas.  Then I let go of orange juice and apple juice.   But I would grieve deeply if I had to stop chocolate French silk pie.  I’m obviously not as pure as science says I should be.  With my tendency to being diabetic, I’m going to have to let this soak in a bit.  It’s bitter truth.