What You Should Know About Vitamin K2 with Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue talks about what you should know about vitamin K2 – an often overlooked nutrient and common nutrient deficiency.

Dr. Kate is a renowned expert in the field of naturopathic medicine. She is THE leading authority on vitamin K2 and author of the book “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.

Main Questions Asked:

  • Can calcium be harmful for us?
  • What is the Calcium Paradox?
  • What does K2 do in the body?
  • If vitamin K2 is so important how was it overlooked for so long?
  • Is your book only for people who take calcium supplements?
  • What are the symptoms of K2 deficiency?
  • Do we have to worry about getting too much K2?
  • Is there a test to measure our K2 levels?
  • What health conditions can K2 help?
  • What should listeners look for in vitamin K2 supplements?
  • Can K2 help brain health?
  • Can K2 help kidney disease?
  • Can K2 help fertility?

Key Points made by Dr. Kate:

  • The calcium paradox is even though calcium is good for us it’s not good if the calcium ends up in your kidneys or in your arteries or other soft tissues where it shouldn’t be.
  • Vitamin K2 helps direct calcium to where it’s supposed to go, and even helps remove calcium for where it shouldn’t be.
  • We need calcium but we need it in the right places.
  • K2 activates certain proteins to help guide calcium into your bones and teeth, and help bind calcium and remove it from tissues where it shouldn’t be.
  • K2 also helps with cancer prevention and protection, and helps insulin sensitivity in diabetics.
  • Vitamin K1 is not the same as K2.
  • K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and affects our blood clotting.
  • K2 is not found in green leafy vegetables and does not affect blood clotting. It’s very often overlooked and mistaken with K1.
  • Deficiencies of K2 are very common.
  • K2 is a fat soluble vitamin and best found in grass fed animal products – grass fed egg yolk, grass fed meat and butter.
  • K2 can be found in certain fermented foods because of the bacteria, like Gouda and Brie cheese.
  • Vegans and vegetarians can get their K2 from natto – a Japanese fermented soybean food.
  • The job of vitamin D is to help calcium get absorbed into your bloodstream from the foods you eat, and the job of K2 is to direct the calcium from your blood and into your teeth and bones.
  • Studies show that people who take calcium supplements have a far greater risk of heart attacks and strokes because the calcium builds up in the arteries.
  • If you take calcium and/or vitamin D supplements you should also take K2 supplements.
  • Symptoms of K2 deficiency don’t usually manifest until it’s very advanced, like osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.
  • Other signs of K2 deficiency you may notice include excess tartar build up on your teeth; facial wrinkling; and varicose veins.
  • Studies show that K2 deficiency is quite widespread.
  • K2 is quite non-toxic and will not build up in the body like other fat soluble vitamins can.
  • There is no test outside of the research setting for K2, but because K2 deficiency is so widespread and K2 is non-toxic you’re safe to increase your dietary intake or take a supplement.
  • K2 can help kidney stones, osteoporosis, osteopenia, atherosclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer (especially prostate and lung cancer).
  • When it comes to buying supplements make sure you’re getting K2 and NOT K1 – look at the fine print on the ingredients label.
  • There are 2 different types of K2 – MK4 and MK7. They both work but they need to be taken at very different dosages. If the label does not indicate the specific form of K2 then don’t buy it.
  • MK7 dosage is 120-180 mcg (this is the one usually available in Canada).
  • MK4 dosage is 1,500-3,000 mcg.
  • K2 can be very helpful for brain health. It seems to prevent the damage associated with loss of blood flow, like from a stroke or ultramini-strokes.
  • K2 can help for overall kidney health and for patients on dialysis. It can also help prevent kidney stones.
  • K2 can help fertility and can boost testosterone levels in men.

Resources Mentioned:
Dr. Kate’s book – Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life
Dr. Kate’s website

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