Fact Checked By Lindsay Delk, RDN
August 5, 2021
Research estimates that up to 41% of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency and 31% have a vitamin K deficiency. But why does this matter? Let’s take a look (1), (2).
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for many important functions.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it dissolves in fat and can be stored in the body longer than water-soluble vitamins.
It’s found in a few foods naturally, is added to some fortified foods, and can be taken as a supplement.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it can be synthesized in the skin with UV rays from the sun.
Vitamin D has two main forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).
While D2 and D3 are both well-absorbed in the gut, vitamin D3 raises vitamin D levels in the blood higher and keeps them there longer than vitamin D2 (3).
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays many roles and provides many benefits in the body.
Ongoing research is continuing to show new benefits of this vital vitamin. Vitamin D is strongly linked to bone health, immunity, and depression.
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Ways to Get Vitamin D
There are three ways to get vitamin D: from the sun, from foods, or from a supplement.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is also a fat-soluble vitamin, and it is important for blood clotting, healthy bones, and healthy arteries.
The vitamin K family includes hydroquinone (vitamin K1) and several menaquinones (vitamin K2). Vitamin K1 is more important for blood clotting, and vitamin K2 is more important for bone health and preventing the calcification of arteries (10), (11).
Calcification of arteries means the buildup of calcium in the walls of the arteries which can lead to heart disease.
Benefits of vitamin K
Ways to Get Vitamin K
Vitamin K is found naturally in many foods, such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, lettuce), broccoli, blueberries, eggs, meat, cheese, eggs, soybeans, and vegetable oils.
However, up to 31% of adults have insufficient levels of vitamin K, so a vitamin K supplement may be necessary (17).
Vitamin K can interact with the blood thinner, warfarin. If you take warfarin, make sure you get about the same amount of vitamin K every day, whether from foods or a supplement.
Should You Take Vitamins D3 & K2 Together?
Many vitamins and other nutrients don’t work alone in your body and depend on each other.
Having a good intake of vitamin D and calcium can be dangerous if you don’t also get enough vitamin K.
Vitamin K helps get calcium into the bones.
If you are low in vitamin K, the calcium gets into your arteries instead of your bones, which contributes to heart disease. This leads to weak bones and hardened arteries.
If you and your doctor decide that you need to take a vitamin D supplement, make sure it also contains vitamin K2.
Because vitamin D and vitamin K are both fat-soluble, your supplement should be taken with a meal or snack that has some fat.
The fat in the food will help your body absorb the vitamins.
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