Its all about the synergy. A strong immune system, strong bones, healthy gene expression are all dependent upon the interaction of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, and these are also dependant upon good levels of zinc and magnesium plus good levels of good old saturated fats in the diet. Sometimes I feel rather like a stuck record, but I guess I’m working hard against a tide of indoctrinated anti-fat, brain befuddled nitwits.
But first a little about vitamin K2. The better known vitamin is vitamin K1 – the K stands for the German word ‘koagulation’, meaning blood clotting. It is found in leafy greens – especially dark green leafy things – and helps blood clotting. Now vitamin K2 helps send calcium into our bones and teeth rather than into our soft tissues. K2 is found in fermented foods and egg yolks, butter (hooray), cheeses, meats, a little in full fat milk, but bugger all in semi-skimmed milk. K2 is not found in vegetables – unless they have been fermented.
Here are six points summarising this vital synergy. 1
- The vitamins A, D and K2 work together to support immune health, good growth, strong teeth and bones and protect soft tissues from calcification. After all, we want our calcium in our bones and teeth and not hardening our arteries.
- Magnesium activates the enzyme that makes copies of DNA and the enzymes involved in gene expression. Vitamins A and D carry out most of their functions by regulating gene expression, so need good magnesium levels to facilitate this. 2
- Vitamins A and D support the absorption of zinc and zinc supports the absorption of all the fat-soluble vitamins.
- Many of the proteins involved in vitamin A metabolism and the receptors for both vitamins A and D only function correctly in the presence of zinc.
- Dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. And we are not talking some ghastly spread here: ‘I can believe its not olive oil!’. For instance, vitamin A, as beta-carotene, has 11-17 per cent better absorption when eaten with beef fat than with sunflower oil. 3
- Vitamin K² activates certain proteins by adding carbon dioxide to them. 4
The upshot of all this is that in order to be healthy, we need a fully balanced diet, highly nutritious diet, with plenty of meat protein, saturated fats plus a large variety of vegetables. Since both zinc and magnesium are in short supply in our diets these days 5 adding high grade supplements is becoming a necessity. We really cannot afford to get our precious calories from poor grade foods such as shop bought pizza or dodgy frozen lasagne.
- The points are taken from the Wise Traditions Journal of Winter 2012. The author of the piece is Dr Chris Masterjohn. [↩]
- Gene expression was the shortest, simplest way I could express this. One of the many things our cells do is make proteins, and our DNA instructs the RNA how to make the proteins out of the basic amino acids. Going back a little further: when we eat protein, we need to break it down into its component parts, called amino acids. Then we re-combine those amino acids in multiple ways to make proteins. And these proteins are used in the body to make 1) collagen, part of skin and bone; 2) for catalysis – enzymes; 3) some proteins produce movement since they form a large part of muscle fibre; 4) for transport, for example hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen in the blood; 5) protein makes up our hormones; 6) protection: antibodies are proteins; 7) storage, for example iron is stored as ferritin; 8) regulation – help mediate cell responses. [↩]
- It is not really known why animal fats promote better absorption than the omega 6 oils such as sunflower oil. It may be due to the polyunsaturated fats promoting oxidative destruction of the fat soluble vitamins in our guts before we have time to absorb them. [↩]
- Why does adding CO2 to a protein matter? Well, this makes the protein now carry a negative charge. Calcium has a positive charge, so will now interact with the proteins. Calcium goes into a muscle, for example, and the muscle contracts. One of the best ways of increasing carbon dioxide levels is exercise. Even standing up produces more than sitting down. [↩]
- I even heard in the Archers, always a good source of information, that one way farmers are combating TB in badgers is to provide them with mineral licks! This will increase the amount of such minerals as zinc and magnesium in their diet, thereby making them healthier and more TB resistant. Even the badgers are short of the stuff. [↩]