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Paper Suggests Best Practices for Bone and Heart Health

Research has found a strong association between decreased bone mineral density and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent paper addresses the best ways to optimize bone strength in order to reduce risk of fracture while also reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The authors of this paper conducted a systematic review of the literature in order to determine the best dietary strategies and nutritional supplements for long-term bone and cardiovascular health. They found four main takeaways:

    1. It is important to increase the intake of vitamin K1 and K2-rich foods;

    1. It is best to get calcium from dietary sources, rather than supplements;

    1. Increasing potassium while reducing sodium at the same time is important;

    1. And that people should maintain vitamin D levels in the normal range.

The researchers particularly emphasized the importance of vitamin K, including the fact that vitamin K2 is a particularly effective mechanism for improving bone health. They also noted that vitamin K2 intake is associated with lower arterial calcium deposits and increased elasticity of the arteries.

Researchers from Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, Center for Functional Medicine, and Lund University in Sweden wrote the study. It was published on March 22, 2016, in Open Heart.

Previous studies have linked vitamin K to bone health, cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Vitamin K comes in two main forms: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones). Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and makes up about 90% of the vitamin K consumption in a western diet.

Vitamin K2 is harder to come by and therefore makes up only 10% of consumption. It is most common in fermented foods like cheese but can also be found in meat and soybeans. Both vitamin K1 and K2 are also available in supplement form.

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