Modern Understanding of the Physiological Function and Interdependence of Vitamins D & K

Sponsored by Quicksilver Scientific

By Christopher Shade, PhD

Vitamin D3 and K2 are two essential, fat-soluble vitamins that together have a broad and intertwined impact on health.1-3 We all know that vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is light transformed and that it is technically not a vitamin because the skin synthesizes it on exposure to UV light. Vitamin D3 is the precursor to a class of D3-related hormones that have many functions in the body beyond calcium homeostasis. Receptors for this vitamin are ubiquitous throughout the body as they are found in more than 36 cell types.4 Recent research has shown the action of vitamin D helps regulate Th1 and Th2 immune responses, even in utero.5 In 2012, extraordinary sequencing work revealed that the human genome literally has thousands of binding sites for vitamin D, an affirmation of how fundamental this vitamin is for immune function, as well as cellular growth and differentiation.6

And now we come to a quandary. Given the abundant evidence for widespread vitamin D deficiency—as many as a billion people worldwide according to a 2017 review—supplementation is extremely important and common.7 Yet a close look at scientific research, particularly regarding bone health and vascular calcification, shows that coadministration of vitamin K with vitamin D is equally as important.8-10 Well-known for its role in coagulation, vitamin K also plays an important role in arterial health and in helping vitamin D carry out many of its functions. Vitamin K plays a role in directing calcium deposition to the bone matrix, via activation of osteocalcin, and insufficiency may be associated with soft tissue calcification and lower bone mineral density.11,12 Some forms of vitamin K are more active in the body than others. Menaquinone-7, or MK-7, is a highly bioactive form of vitamin K2.13

A number of the proteins produced by the body in response to vitamin D are activated by vitamin K. These include osteocalcin and matrix Gla protein (MGP), which bind calcium into the bone matrix and inhibit the deposition of calcium into other soft tissues, like arteries, kidneys, and joint cartilage.14-16 Vascular calcification is regulated by a number of vitamin K dependent proteins.17,18 High artery calcium scores are correlated with adverse cardiovascular events, and can be linked to low vitamin K status.19 By supplementing vitamin D with vitamin K, arterial stiffness, which is associated with cardiovascular risk, morbidity, and mortality, can be reduced.20

Thus, vitamin D and vitamin K move in lockstep and ideally should be prescribed together in their active forms.

Of course, in all instances of supplementation, absorption is key, and liposomal technology can facilitate maximal absorption of these fat-soluble vitamins. Liposomal vesicle structure is dominated by phospholipids, the primary components of cell membranes. When liposomal bubbles reach the cell, the liposome phospholipids blend into the lipid membrane of the cell, facilitating maximal cellular delivery of the nutrients. This allows cellular nutrient levels to reach and even exceed those which, until recently, only intravenous therapies were capable of.22-23

The multi-targeted choreography of paired Vitamin D and K, delivered in liposomal format, is one more significant way that we can optimize our patient’s health.

About the Author

Christopher Shade, PhD, obtained bachelor of science and masters of science degrees from Lehigh University in environmental and aqueous chemistry, and a PhD from the University of Illinois where he studied metal-ligand interactions in the environment and specialized in the analytical chemistries of mercury. During his PhD work, Shade patented analytical technology for mercury speciation analysis and later founded Quicksilver Scientific, LLC, to commercialize this technology. Shortly after starting Quicksilver Scientific, Shade turned his focus to the human aspects of mercury toxicity and the functioning of the human detoxification system. He has since researched and developed superior liposomal delivery systems for the nutraceutical and wellness markets and also specific clinical analytical techniques for measuring human mercury exposure. He used his understanding of mercury and glutathione chemistry to design a unique system of products for detoxification that repairs and then maximizes the natural detoxification system.

References

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