Approximately one out of every three women and one out of every five men over 50 will develop osteoporosis. The condition causes bones to become fragile, significantly increasing the risk of severe fractures due to falls and everyday activities.
Bone health supplements have been shown to lower the likelihood of osteoporosis. Calcium is the best-known supplement for supporting bone health, but maintaining vitamin D levels through supplements is also important. So why is vitamin D essential for bone health? Read on to discover the answer and find out why experts generally recommend a vitamin D and vitamin K combination for bone health.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins your body needs to perform key functions. Because it assists with calcium absorption, vitamin D is one of the critical vitamins for bone health. In addition, vitamin D benefits the muscles, nervous system, and immune system.
Vitamin D & Bone Health
So just how does vitamin D support bone health? The answer lies in how bone is produced. Your skeleton is in a constant state of renewal. Your body breaks down existing bone and replaces it with new bone to maintain strong bones. As the critical building block for bone, calcium is required to drive the process.
With age, the pace of bone breakdown is often faster than bone production, leading to a reduction in bone density. Increasing calcium intake can support new bone formation to address this problem. To properly absorb calcium from food or supplements, your body needs vitamin D. Thus, the vitamin is essential for bone health.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Your body can produce some vitamin D in response to UV exposure. However, many people don't get enough sunlight to support an adequate supply of vitamin D. People with milk allergies, lactose intolerance, older adults, kidney problems, and digestive disorders are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include:
- Bone pain
- Mood swings
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Body aches
It is possible to have low vitamin D levels without developing symptoms. Mild vitamin D deficiency is unlikely to produce any physical signs and is usually only diagnosed with blood work. Even if you don't have any deficiency symptoms, low vitamin D levels can still negatively impact your body's ability to utilize calcium to maintain strong bones as you age. A vitamin D supplement benefits people with low levels of the vitamin, as it can supplement the body's supply of the nutrient to address the deficiency.
What Is Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 is a form of vitamin D supplement also known as cholecalciferol. Studies indicate that vitamin D3 benefits the body more than other forms because it can raise levels of free vitamin D in the bloodstream more efficiently. As a result, doctors frequently recommend D3 supplements for those who need to reap the health benefits of vitamin D.
Can Vitamin D Cause High Calcium Levels?
Some reports state that vitamin D supplements can lead to dangerously high calcium levels. So far, science has not been able to verify these claims conclusively. Still, there is a mounting body of evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplements could increase the risk of calcium buildup outside of the bones. If your body absorbs more calcium due to a vitamin D supplement, it may shuttle the mineral to your blood vessels, where it can cause dangerous blockages that can contribute to heart attacks and stroke.
Should You Take Vitamin K with Vitamin D?
More and more doctors recommend that vitamin K be taken with vitamin D to support bone health. So why do you need vitamin K with vitamin D? The answer is vitamin K's role in the body. Vitamin K is another essential vitamin. Your body needs it for healthy blood clotting following an injury. Still, its role in bone health is more important when discussing vitamin D. Vitamin K is necessary for calcium distribution. Its presence helps to trigger the reaction that turns calcium into bone cells. People taking vitamin D with vitamin K may be less at risk for calcium buildup in other areas of the body.
What Is Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is the form of vitamin K primarily responsible for controlling calcium distribution in the body. For bone health, doctors may suggest taking vitamin K2 and D3 together. One of the simplest ways to enjoy vitamin D3 and K2 benefits for bone health is to take a combination supplement like Body Kitchen Vitamin D + K2. In general, look for vitamin D3 K2 supplements made from natural foods that your body can absorb and use easily. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor before adding any new bone health supplements to your diet.