The strength of our bones isn’t something we think about a lot when we’re younger, but as we get older it DEFINITELY needs to be on our minds. For women especially, because of menopause and the decrease in our hormones (estrogen) that keeps our bones strong , 1 in 4 women will have osteoporosis by the time they are 60.
I’m sure you’ve heard about calcium supplementation and “getting plenty of milk”. But there’s MUCH more that can be done from a diet and lifestyle perspective to prevent hip and leg fractures.
It pains me deeply whenever I see an older female patient who has broken her hip due to falling on her weak bones. What if I could have helped her develop strong bones and muscles when she was younger to prevent this?
When we are young we often times take for granted our health. Our youth is able to keep our health in check (for the most part) and it isn’t until we age a bit when we start wishing we would have done something sooner.
My preventive medicine plan for ALL patients (young and old, women and men) includes:
- Exercise (both resistance and aerobic training)
- Nutrition (a lot of plants, lean protein, and healthy fats)
- Sleep and stress management
- Cutting out bad behaviors like smoking and a lot of sitting
This plan pretty much takes care of most preventable diseases, however sometimes it just isn’t enough.
Back when I was in medical school, all the rave was about how everyone is deficient in vitamin D and that we must check a vitamin D level on all of our patients and then replenish them if low (pretty much everyone is low unless they supplement). If we didn’t replenish them we learned we would be potentially causing all sorts of health problems (falls, weak bones/muscles, autoimmune diseases, etc). Seemed pretty serious!
We would get patients in who swore they got outside (sunlight increases vitamin D production in the body) and ate the right foods. Despite this, they were still all deficient! After a while I just started recommending everyone take 2000 iu of vitamin D as this is a safe amount and usually is able to replenish levels if taken every day.
And so here I was thinking I was a life saving hero getting everyone’s vitamin D levels up until I learned about potential artery calcification from supplementing with too much vitamin D (I still don’t think it is an issue with 2000 iu daily).
That’s when I started learning about the importance of vitamin K2. If you haven’t heard of vitamin K2, you’re not alone.
These benefits are especially true in post menopausal women. The only problem is that it’s REALLY tough to get enough from your diet to make a difference. Bummer.
So then I was sitting there thinking… why don’t they combine vitamin D3 (best form of vitamin D) and vitamin K2 into one small pill? Well a couple companies had already done it but they seemed expensive and the formulas weren’t the best.
To make a long story short I decided to formulate one with my brother (an endocrinologist) so that I could get it to my patients at a reasonable cost with known good quality.
I want to make it clear that this supplement is not a miracle worker. It seems to have good evidence though at improving bone strength and potentially preventing artery calcification with minimal harm/risk. The basic components of a healthy lifestyle stuff are ALWAYS priority #1 – supplements are just a way to get a little bit extra protection.