Staying Healthy with the Seasons, and Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Before the time of supplements, fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2 were obtained during the summer and fall months from grass-fed dairy, meats, and the abundant colorful fruits and vegetables of the harvests. Once the discovery of synthetic vitamins was made, these were given to the herds, bringing about the unhealthy practices of keeping them indoors, since sun and grass were no longer crucial for the life of the animal.
Little did we know that in this process, we would be losing out on a very important vitamin that had not even been discovered yet, the fat-soluble vitamin K2 that we would otherwise have continued to receive from the traditional food-raising practices. This, along with other industrial food processing, and especially the advent and encouragement toward processed vegetable oils, has led to heart disease being the number one cause of mortality in the United States. Too much sugar, salt, and vegetable oils all lead to an inflamed state of the arterial linings, which in turn leads to the natural mechanism of the body piling cholesterol there to soothe and smooth. The last ingredient in this formation of arterial plaque is calcium. There are a few contributing factors to this, such as high blood glucose, high cholesterol, high body-fat percentage, smoking, and a decline in estrogen, but also, a deficiency of vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 was discovered in the 1990’s as a separate vitamin in the K family which functions entirely differently from its water-soluble cousin, vitamin K1, which is obtained from leafy greens, and is even made endogenously by some of our friendly flora to some extent, and is important for healthy blood coagulation. There have been many scientific studies proving the importance of this vitamin for human health. However, as of yet, there has not been an established recommended daily allowance for this crucial nutrient, although it is not an uncommon topic in health media and more health professionals and nutrient marketing companies are becoming savvy to the importance of vitamin K2, and recommending it based upon sound scientific reasoning. (Rhéaume-Bleue, K., 2012)
Adequate K2 can be obtained from an ancestral style of diet including grass-fed dairy, meats, organ meats, and eggs from pastured chickens. That gold color of the butter and egg yolks which we find in these pasture-raised foods signifies a higher quantity of vitamin A, which works with K2 to get calcium into the bones and out of the soft tissues. All of the fat-soluble vitamins, D, A, K2 and E are important for not only cardiovascular health, but also for bone health (including teeth) as well. If an ancestral type of diet is not regularly accessible, or if there are health conditions such as diagnosed atherosclerosis, heart disease, osteoporosis, or if we simply want to be proactive during times of stress or natural life stages such as menopause, then we can choose to take the amount recommended by experts which is from 90 to 120 micrograms of K2 daily. It is common to see products combining vitamins D and K2. This is because of how synergistically these vitamins function in the body. Vitamin D functions to increase the amount of calcium that is absorbed from the small intestine into the blood stream. But with only that, we run the risk of that calcium not going to the right places. Without vitamin K2 (and A) to get the calcium into the bones, the extra calcium deposits into soft tissue where it doesn’t belong.
Fall is the time of year when our bodies typically have plenty of vitamin A due to the plentiful colorful fruits and vegetables available. It’s been found, that this is also the time of year when our bodies are excreting excess calcium, and not from bone! This was from one of the studies exemplifying the important role of vitamin A in keeping our arteries healthy. Conversely, winter is the time of year when we typically have less abundance of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, and less of the beta-carotene that the body can convert to some extent into preformed (fat-soluble) vitamin A. Not coincidentally, this has been found to be the time of highest incidence of heart attack, and also of the most bone loss. (Robertson et al., 1974)
It is natural for the body to be more acidic in winter, more alkaline in summer, and this combined with less vitamin D can contribute to leaching of calcium from bones to some extent. Also, traditionally, the stored grains and pulses were the foods which were plentiful at this time of year, but grains and beans contain phytates which block the absorption of these crucial minerals, which is one of the reasons why souring and fermenting of grains became such a common practice, as this neutralizes some of the phytates. Warm nourishing stews, with plenty of alkalizing minerals from bone and/or root vegetable stock, have always been a beloved wintertime food. It’s offering balance to the body. Regarding minerals, it’s important to note, that if you do decide to supplement with vitamin D, it is important to be up on your magnesium, because vitamin D increases the use of and need for magnesium.
It’s ironic to consider, that in the case of fat-soluble vitamins, we did not need vitamin supplements until vitamin supplements were invented! But, as always, time goes on, and we continue to grow and learn, refine, and also age, that part is undeniable. It’s my joy and honor to be in the position to help people navigate through what health means to them, and share information, tools, and therapies that can be incorporated along the journey. I hope this information has been helpful for you!
If you have questions, or would like to schedule a consultation to address your nutrition and health goals, feel free to call (530) 648-4192, email Abi@DoubleLotusAcu.com, or schedule an appointment online at https://doublelotusacu.janeapp.com
References: Rhéaume-Bleue, K., 2012. Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. John Wiley & Sons Book
Robertson, W., Gallagher, J., Marshall, D., Peacock, M., & Nordin, B. (1974). Seasonal Variations in Urinary Excretion of Calcium. BMJ, 4(5942), 436-437.