I went in for a medical checkup yesterday since I hadn’t had any tests since 2010. Along with the standard regimen of tests, the doctor prescribed a bone-density scan. I’ve only had one, about 15 years ago, and my rank was almost 100% then, but if I am diagnosed with osteoporosis, he will probably suggest the usual treatment: calcium, vitamin D, and drugs like Fosamax (bisphosphonates) and Prolia (denosumab). Bones are constantly being remodeled, with new bone replacing old bone. These drugs work by altering the cycle to slow the breakdown of old bone tissue. Unfortunately, the labels warn of a number of serious side effects, such as osteonecrosis (bone death) of the jaw, spontaneous fractures of the thigh bone, inflammation of the lining of the heart, anemia, and infections. If that isn’t scary enough, they have also been linked to irregular heartbeats, esophageal cancer, and severe musculoskeletal pain.
It hasn’t gone very well with the other part of the protocol either. The British Medical Journal reported in April of 2011, that women who took calcium supplements were at higher risk of atherosclerosis (the buildup of calcium plaque in the arteries), heart attack, and stroke than those who didn’t. For every bone fracture the supplementation prevented, it caused two potentially fatal cardiovascular events.
Luckily, there is a natural way that may insure that your bones and teeth stay strong, one that has a lot of other benefits as well. According to Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, author of Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, vitamin K2, combined with the fat soluble vitamins A and D, is necessary to make sure calcium gets into the bones where it belongs rather than being deposited in the arteries and other soft tissues. Dr. Weston A. Price discovered vitamin K2 in the 1930s. He didn’t know what it was, but he knew it contributed to the vibrant health and the resistance to aging and degenerative diseases among people in indigenous societies around the world. He called it, “Activator X.”
Price, a dentist, observed that people eating their ancestral diets had broad, beautiful faces and perfect teeth, but after they started eating modern food, the first generation of their children had crowded, narrow dental arches full of crooked, overlapping teeth. They also had high rates of cavities, infections, and even behavioral problems. As a result of his research, Dr. Price started treating his dental patients with butter oil in lieu of drilling and filling cavities. He also treated bone fractures that were slow to heal with his nutritional therapy. (Take a look at a yearbook from any American middle or high school; the number of kids wearing braces shows how little progress we have made since Dr. Price published his groundbreaking book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, in 1938.)
So where can we find this elusive nutrient? Vitamin K2 is available from the meat, organs, milk, and eggs of grass-fed animals, but these are not readily available in our modern food supply, and not affordable for many people in our current economy. Certain bacteria also produce K2, and although it is a different kind (MK-7), it is as effective as the animal form (MK-4).
Natto, a strong, fermented soy food from Japan, has the highest level of K2 of all foods at 1,103 mcgs in 3.5 ounces. I’ve seen it in health food stores, but have never been tempted to try it because of its reputed horrible taste and texture. In second place, is goose liver pate with 369 mcg in a 3.5 ounce serving. I would probably like the goose liver, but it’s not likely to become a regular item on my menu, even if I could find it and were willing to pay the price. Third on the list is Gouda cheese, with 75 mcgs per 3.5 ounces. For comparison, pasture egg yolks and butter have 15 mcgs of K2 in the same size portion. (Thanks to Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist, at Healthy Living, December 28, 2011, for the info.)
Gouda cheese is high in K2 because of the bacterial cultures used in making it, even when it is made from the milk of feedlot cows. It is widely available, inexpensive (for a natural cheese), and delicious.
After thinking about it, I decided to skip the bone-density test because I am already doing everything I would do anyway, so I don’t see any reason to expose myself to unnecessary radiation. I’ll continue to eat my daily dose of creamy, Dutch cheese instead. Pass the Gouda! (This is my decision, after weighing the pros and cons, but I am not suggesting that it is right for anyone else. Please discuss it with your doctor and make your own decision.)
“When animals grazed on pasture, vitamin K2 was abundant in our food supply. The most common dietary staples, like butter, eggs, cheese, and meat, even when eaten in small quantities, easily met our…needs. Now we consume large quantities of the mass produced versions of these foods, but we are starving for the nutrients they no longer contain.” ~Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, 2012
(c) 2012, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carwarsblog.com
Important! The information on this blog is not intended to be, and must never be used as, a replacement for the advice from your physician or nutritionist. None of the information here is intended to treat any disease, medical condition, or health concern. If you believe that you have a medical problem, please consult your physician.
Cheese is one of my ultimate fave not just because of its taste but also of the benefits I get from it.
bought the Gouda and enjoyed as before dinner snack. thanks for the info. Look forward to reading your newest book.
Hi Diana. Thanks for leaving a comment. As I said before, I am not qualified to give medical advice. It is very, very important for you to get professional help, especially now. You may need more than food to correct an exising problem, (perhaps supplements or exercise theapy). That said, I don't see how eating Gouda would have any risks and it might be helpful. (I don't think it is possible overdose on vitamin K2.)Good luck!
Hi Judy, just wan to ask several questions if this is good enough for pregnant woman like me who's struggling with osteopenia at the same time I think I have a zinc deficiency symptoms too as I read that article from Dr. Mercola? Can you give me specific advice regarding on my situation?
Fantastic, informative article. Thank you, Judy!
That is wonderful news, Choice City – thanks for sharing.
Choice City Highlights:
That is great news! Thanks for sharing.
I had a bone density test a few years back and it showed bone loss. Last April, after about 15 months of a low carb primal-ish diet and including vitamin D and vitamin K2 in my daily regimen, my bone density scan was well within normal range. Yay!
Hi Dotti. Thanks for the comment. I probably should remind everyone that I am not qualified to give medical advice. My decision to skip the test was my choice and time will tell if it was the right one or not. There are, no doubt, cases where people might benefit from supplements or other interventions that they might not know they needed if they didn't get the scan. Do check with your doctor and see if he/she agrees that adding Gouda to your diet might be helpful.
Great post Judy! I never knew this before! Good info!
I'm so glad that I came across your post via Facebook. As it turns out, the Vitamin D formula my husband and I take is Vitamin D with K (Isotonix form) along with Calcium. My husband is not much of a cheese or dairy eater, and veggies are out too, so I depend on supplements to make sure he gets what's needed. Thanks again for this informative post on bone health!
THANK YOU! Having been diagnosed with osteopenia and menopause arount the age of 47, I was put on a regiment of a bisphosphonate and vitamin C. Fosamax was terrible for me, but I switched to Actonel and did fairly well for a few years, before once again being switched, this time to Boniva. I have suffered terrible hearburn and was taking antacid all thru the day, and I had pain in my upper leg/thigh area to the point of not being able to put weight on my legs. I finally decided the side effects were not worth the potential risk, and I took myself off(against dr's advice) both the boniva and Vit. C. I feel SO much better now, not only physically, but because I believe I am doing the best thing for my health and well being. The above info reinforces my belief that I was doing myself harm by taking those medications & supplements. Thank you!
Yet another great reason to love cheese as much as I do! That's gouda news!
Thanks to all of you for the comments.
Anonymous: I noticed Kerry Gold butter at Costco for the first time yesterday. I think it is cheaper at Trader Joe's and you don't have to buy such a large amount. It's great stuff. I use it all the time (and I put it in my coffee!).I use regular organic butter for cooking and save the primo stuff for eating as is.
Turns out my local Costco has grass feed butter in the fancy cheese section I think it's called Irish cream or something
This is really great info, Judy! Thanks for sharing.
Excellent post, Judy!
Excellent post, Judy! Exactly what I would say, and much better written!
Read the same book (Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox), but I also did some additional research. She advocates K2-MK7, mainly because in Canada they do not allow the sale of ANY type of vitamin K beyond beyond 100 mcg doses. Many people do tend to have problems with K2-MK7 in higher doses, as it seems to build up and can even become toxic when too much is taken.
However, it is K2-MK4, the same kind that you get from pastured eggs/meat/dairy, that has been shown (in double blind studies) to be able to rapidly reverse osteoporosis. The Japanese did a landmark double blind study back in 1995 where they gave nursing home residents 15mg x 3 of K2-MK4, + D3, A, & magnesium. The group getting it had 81% less fractures than the control group did during that first year. The Japaneses then developed a “medicine” called GLAKAY, which is basically 15mg doses of K2-MK4 in MCT oil with D3 & A vitamins. BTW, there is no known upper limit dosage to K2-MK4. There are no known toxic side effects from taking GLAKAY or K2-MK4.
I’ve actually been using it (15mg x 2) to clean out any calcium build up in my arteries to help prevent CVD. I also discovered in my research that taking it will also increase one’s testosterone (fixes “Low T”), yet it lowers your chances of getting prostate cancer (unlike the big pharma crud). It also has been shown in clinical trials to greatly lower the chances of getting liver cancer in people with hepatitis and/or cirrhosis of the liver.
I think people, and doctors, forget that your bones are not just a support structure for your body, but also part of your endocrine system. Namely it produces your blood cells, and is part of your immune system. BTW, I rarely get sick anymore…
I think K2-MK7 may be useful in preventing osteoporosis and such, but I don’t think that it is nearly as bio-available as the MK-4 version is. But it’s better than nothing…
I don’t think calcium intake has that much to do with osteoporosis, but K2, D3, & magnesium intake (or lack there of) probably have much more to do with it. Keep in mind that the Japaneses living on their east cost (where they tend to eat natto) have one of the lowest rates of CVD and osteoporosis of just about anywhere. BUT most Asians are lactose intolerant, so they ain’t drinking milk or eating cheese to get calcium (i.e., they have a relatively calcium poor diet compared to our SAD).
And don’t forget, K2 is a fat soluble vitamin, so take it with plenty of healthy fat.
Sorry for the long rambling rant..
Thanks for the great comment, John Smith! That’s a lot of good info. If MK-4 comes from pastured eggs, meat, and dairy, is it also found in Gouda and other natual cheeses? I recently found out that statins block vitamin K and have been giving it as a supplent to a family member who refuses to ignore his doctor’s advice to take a statin. I’ll check to see what kind of K2 it contains.
Sorry, I didn’t see your response in my email.
Statins are used by MD’s to try to tweak cholesterol levels, and they do work a little bit (very little), but they DO NOT fix the underlying problem(s) causing CVD or heart disease in general. Look up a chap named Ivor Cummins on youtube.com or his web site thefatemperor.com. He is an engineer, turned bio-chemical engineer, who explains in exquisite detail how our lipid system works, and the real underlying causes of CVD, diabetes, and such (it’s CARBS people). He also debunks the statin/cholesterol myth in one or more of his many lectures.
My oldest brother was on a statin, even though his cholesterol wasn’t that bad (Dr.’s use statins prophylactically now), and he has always been skinny as a rail and healthy. After taking Lipitor for one year he is now a diabetic, as the Lipitor blew out his pancreas. The sad thing is that statins are prescribed to help your heart & cholesterol, but they can actually be the cause of elevated bad LDL and trigs (by blowing out your pancreas, making you a diabetic), and depleting your heart muscles of CoQ10 (if you feel lethargic and weak with muscle aches on statins, that is why). They also cause something called “statin brain”, which is like medically induced Alzheimers.
Show your family member Ivor’s videos, and try to convince him/her to get the heck off of those statins. The possible negative side effects far outweigh the negligible benefits IMO. A healthy low carb high fat (LCHF) diet will do much more in the way of fixing his/her cholesterol levels, while actually FIXING the underlying problems.
BTW, I’m living proof! After 11 months now, I’ve lost 75 pounds, the horrendous edema I used to have in my legs is virtually gone now (I can stand more than an hour now, and without TED socks), my BP went from 160/96 down to 123/73, the occasional chest pains disappeared, my sleep apnea is gone, my trigs are down, my HDL is up, etc, etc, etc….
The vitamin K2-MK4 supplement I talked about before can only be found online at any decent dosage & price. There are a few health food stores that might carry it, but usually much lower dosage (5mg), and at an outrageous price. I get mine on Amazon for about $0.30 per 15mg pill. Other things a person should really be taking are D3 (5000+ IU) & magnesium citraite. Most people that are not living at the equator, are D3 deficient. And most people do not get near enough magnesium in their diet, so that should be taken too. Those two fat soluble vitamins, and water soluble magnesium work together in concert along with calcium and vitamin A. FYI, fat soluble vitamins need to be taken with a fatty meal, and water soluble vitamins/minerals should be taken with water only an hour before, or 3 hours after a meal. Oh, and don’t forget to get some quality fish oil/krill supplements, and maybe some quality CoQ10, to repair some of the damage the statins may have done to the brain and heart.
Oh, and in high enough doses (5000 IU or more) D3 seems to make me impervious to most airborne infections (i.e. the common cold, the flu, etc). Ivor has a video about why that happens too. I don’t get colds, and I haven’t had the flu in years.
I hope this helps you out, and that your family member sees the light and is able to turn his/her health around.
Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food — Hippocrates
John Smith: I sing the same song about the dangers of statins! Zoe Harcomb posted a long but terrific article about how statins work. I thought it was on my facebook page, but need to look for it again. I think you would enjoy seeing it.