You probably know it’s important to take a calcium supplement, especially if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis.

But remember that study that said taking calcium supplementation could increase the risk of heart attacks? The concern here is that atherosclerotic plaques contain calcium deposits, and perhaps therefore taking calcium in supplement form will contribute to plaque formation. (This refers to non-absorbable forms of calcium taken by themselves, by the way, such as calcium oxide or sulfate, and not to absorbable forms found complexed with other factors for bone deposition or in multivitamins… but the idea that too much calcium can precipitate out onto body tissues is real. Here’s an article from Harvard that goes into this more.)

Why might we have too much calcium in our tissues, though, and not enough in our bones (since osteoporosis is so rampant?) In other words, why do we have to take calcium supplements in the first place? Largely due to our highly acidic diets, in the US which tax our blood buffering systems to the max. (Check out this article for more in-depth coverage of this topic.)

Vitamin K2 and Calcium

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, and its job is to allow the body to take calcium and use it in the clotting cascade. Vitamin K also produces a protein called osteocalcin, which puts calcium into the bones.

So in other words, in order to get those calcium supplements into your bone where you want it, you need Vitamin K.

You can get vitamin K1 from super-healthy veggies (broccoli, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, and spinach), and then it gets converted to the active Vitamin K2 by the good bacteria in your gut. But alas, most of us aren’t eating those veggies, and we also don’t have nearly as much good bacteria in our guts as we ought to (and often we have a lot of bad bacteria instead). Here’s why this is the case.

Result: too little vitamin K —> too much calcium in the tissues (or in the kidneys as kidney stones, rather than in the bones and clotting cascade, where it’s supposed to be.)

The Upshot:

To prevent osteoporosis, your best bet is to make sure you’re eating alkaline (i.e. lots of veggies and fruits, and very little of anything high in processed sugar, sodium, or chemicals).

Once you have osteoporosis, though, you will also need to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to create bone. This includes calcium, of course, but it also includes Vitamin K2.