Last updated: June 19, 2020

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If you like to stay up-to-date on the world of supplements, you may be familiarised with the debate that surrounds supplementing vitamin D3. Even though this nutrient greatly benefits and contributes to healthy bones and tissue, critics warn that the continued ingestion of vitamin D3 may in fact weaken blood vessels in the short and long term.

However, there’s good news – a vitamin that has been hiding in the shadows: K2 or menaquinone, has actually been shown to enhance the beneficial effects of vitamin D3 while also preventing any potentially harmful side effects from its continued consumption. Think it’s too good to be true? Read on to learn more about the power of these vitamins combined!

Contents

Key Facts

  • Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is a form of vitamin D that is present in certain animal products. This variation of the vitamin is also synthesised in the body from exposure to sunlight.
  • In the past, some studies have linked the overconsumption of ​vitamin D supplements with an excessive amount of calcium ​deposits in blood vessels, which may be harmful to our overall health.
  • Until recently vitamin K2, was only known for being an integral player in blood coagulation and preventing arterial calcification. Today, vitamin K2 is also being acknowledged for its capacity to increase the safety of taking vitamin D3 for a prolonged period of time.

The best vitamin D3 and K2 supplements on the Canadian market

It is understandable that the rise in popularity of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements might make it more difficult to know which product is best for you. In this guide, we’ve selected the best vitamin D3 and K2 supplements of 2019. The ranking below contains the five best supplements available to you, we have ranked them in terms of effectiveness, safety and best value for money.

CanPrev — D3 1000IU and K2 120mcg (soft-gels)

CanPrev, a Canadian based company, has created an easy to take sof-tgel capsule that provides a daily dose of vitamin D3 (the preferred form of Vitamin D) suspended in a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil with added vitamin K2 – Coconut oil is a natural and healthy fatty acid that aids in the absorption of the fat soluble nutrient vitamin D – enhancing it’s release into the bloodstream for fast and effective results.

CanPrev enlists the expertise of healthcare practitioners licensed by Health Canada in the production of all their natural health products. The MK-7 strain of Vitamin K2 within the capsules is much more potent than the more common MK-4 strain, providing longer lasting effects. Consumers love this product because it’s easy to take, shows results and is sold at a reasonable price.

Garden of Life — Mykind Organic Plant Calcium Vitamin D3 + K2 (gluten-free, vegan tablets)

These D3 and K2 supplementation tablets by Garden of Life provide the perfect combination of these vitamins in an all organic, gluten-free and vegan format. The my-kind calcium magnesium formula includes Vegan D3 from lichen and Vitamin K2 MK-7 to aid in bone health and reduce one’s risk of osteoporosis.

This product is certified USDA Organic, non-GMO verified with no synthetic binders or fillers. This supplement is made from over 30 different fruits, vegetables and herbs. Each 300mg tablet is made from easily digestible organic algae. Each tablet is easy to swallow and easy to digest, absorbing into the body effortlessly.

Now Foods — Vitamin D3 and K2 Supplement (capsules)

This Vitamin D3 and K2 Supplement by Now Foods helps in maintaining bone strength by promoting the proper transport and absorption of calcium. Vitamin K2, the active and biologically available form of vitamin K, is critical for the formation of a healthy and strong bone matrix.

Each capsule provides 1,000 IU of D3 and 45 mcg of Vitamin K2. These supplements are vegan, gluten-free and 100% kosher, making them available to an extremely wide range of demographics. Taking just one capsule a day can supply with you with all the critical bone building nutrients your body needs.

CanPrev — D3 and K2 Supplement (drops)

The supplementation drops by CanPrev deliver a powerful combination of vitamins D3 and K2 to help in the development and maintenance of your teeth and bones while also helping prevent vitamin D3 deficiencies. In this formula, the vitamin D gets an extra boost from the vitamin K, increasing its effectiveness. This liquid supplement has an aromatic orange flavour, making it great to drop into water or tea.

There are 450 drops in every bottle, making it a great option for long-term supplementation. CanPrev prides itself on selecting only the highest quality, raw ingredients and reviews their certificate of analysis to ensure they meet the exact specifications for identity, purity and potency. The thorough research of each product made by CanPrev is trusted by healthcare professionals worldwide, who don’t hesitate to recommend their products to patients.

Webber Naturals — Vitamin K1 and Vitamin D3 Supplement (tablets)

Webber Naturals, a Canadian based company, grows, harvests and processes all of their non-GMO organically grown herbs on hundreds of acres of organic farmland in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. An organic, local, and trusted company, Webber Naturals has created this tablet for those who struggle to get their daily dose of greens and sunlight.

The Vitamin K assists in blood clotting, while the Vitamin D and D3 support calcium absorption, metabolism and increased bone mineral density. These easy to take tablets enhance osteoclast activity and prevent Vitamin K deficiency. Each pack contains 90 different tablets that provide 25 mcg of Vitamin D3 and 120 mcg of Vitamin K1.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about the effects of vitamin D3 and K2 when combined

Vitamin D is essential for the maintenance of bone, heart and brain health. Its most potent form, vitamin D3, stimulates the absorption of calcium from the diet. At the same time, vitamin K2 ensures that the absorbed calcium is deposited in the right place (bones and teeth).

Girl in the beach with facial cream

Sunscreen a crucial step in protecting the skin from sun radiation and consequential ageing. However, too much sunscreen can prevent the synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin. (Source: Maridav:19808581/123rf.com)

What is vitamin D3 exactly?

A vitamin is a molecule that essential for the well-being of the body. Most vitamins are needed only in small amounts and cannot be synthesised by the body on its own. Because of this, most vitamins and minerals need to be ingested through a well-balanced diet. Its name originates from the combination of two Latin words: vita (life) and amina (organic compound).

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble molecule (dissolved in fats). Although there are up to five different variations of this vitamin, the human body is only able to recognise and utilise two of them: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The latter is more powerful compared to ergocalciferol.

Vitamin D2 can be found in plant based foods and some fungi, while the intake of animal products will most effectively increase vitamin D3 reserves. Sun exposure, surprisingly, also promotes the production of cholecalciferol, which is why vitamin D3 is also known as the “sunshine vitamin”.

Why is vitamin D3 considered superior to vitamin D2?

Both cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol are inactive forms of vitamin D. Before they can perform their beneficial functions, both substances must be metabolised by the liver and the kidneys to give rise to the active form of this vitamin: calcitriol. However, what mainly differentiates vitamins D3 and D2 is their origin:

  • Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol is mainly found in some plant foods. Certain fungi are capable of producing it after exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is abundant in numerous animal products such as oily fish, eggs and dairy products. It is also synthesised in the skin after exposure to solar UVB radiation.

However, numerous studies have shown that vitamin D3 produces has a higher conversion to calcitriol (the bio available form) compared to its analogue, vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 comprises 60% of what our bodies need in order to keep vitamin D labels stable. It is for this reason that cholecalciferol is the preferred form of vitamin D supplements recommended by most Canadian nutrition experts.

Unfortunately, vitamin D3 supplements will have some kind of animal ingredient in most cases (usually fish oil). This makes it very important for vegans and vegetarians to be exposed to the sun half an hour a day if they want to increase their vitamin D3 reserves naturally.

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Did you know that the body is able to synthesise vitamin D3 after exposure to the sun? This is why some experts actually consider this substance a hormone rather than a vitamin.

What is the function of vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 obtained by ingestion or sun exposure will be passed into the bloodstream by way of the digestive system or synthesis in the body. Upon absorption, it will be metabolised by the liver and the kidneys into its active form (calcitriol) making it ready for use by the body whenever it is needed. Its most important functions are summarised in the following list:

  • Increased intestinal ​absorption of calcium
  • Regulation of levels of phosphorus and calcium in the kidneys
  • Creation of new bone
  • Teeth strengthening
  • Replacing of damaged ​bone tissue
  • Capability of muscle contraction
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Regulation of inflammations
  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • Protection of neuronal tissue against ageing
  • Mood ​regulation
  • Regulation of hormone production (oestrogen and testosterone)
  • Appetite regulation

We should note that 99% of the vitamin D stored in the body will be used to regulate the levels of calcium in tissues. The remaining 1% will act as an essential cofactor for the proper functioning of different processes essential for the well-being of the body, such as weight regulation or the development of strong muscles.

Bread with veal and rabbit pate with butter on a textile background. Top view.

Bread with veal and rabbit pate with butter on a textile background. Top view.

What is vitamin K2 exactly?

Vitamin K, like vitamin D, is a fat-soluble substance whose absorption is improved if ingested in the presence of fat. In 1935, the Danish doctor Henrik Dam found that this molecule is key in blood coagulation processes and named it “vitamin K” in accordance to this function (from the German word koagulation).

Currently, there are five variants of this vitamin. Its two natural derivatives are vitamin K1 or phylloquinone (abundant in green, leafy vegetables) and vitamin K2 or menaquinone (present in animal products and fermented products such as cheese or nattō, a soybean derivative).

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Did you know that a lack of vitamin K can cause dangerous bleeding in newborns and it is for this reason it is recommended that a preventive injection of vitamin K be given to children immediately after birth?

What is the difference between vitamin K2 and vitamin K1?

Until a few years ago, it was believed that the only difference between vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 was their source of origin, since the body is able to transform phylloquinone into menaquinone quite easily. However, some experts have started distinguishing these substances as two distinct and separate nutrients.

Although both vitamins are essential components for the activation of the proteins that regulate blood coagulation and other equally important metabolic processes of the body, vitamin K2 is associated with a decrease in calcium deposits in blood vessels, which leads to improving vascular health. This is an important distinction because vitamin K1 lacks this property.

Several studies have found that older individuals (especially women) who maintain elevated vitamin K2 levels benefit from lower incidences of osteoporosis and arterial calcification, something that does not occur among K1 users. This is the main difference between the two molecules.

What are the functions of vitamin K2 in the body?

Vitamin K, in any of its forms, acts as a cofactor or molecule that participates in the processes of blood coagulation. It also acts as a metabolic regulator and antioxidant with a shielding effect against various types of cancer (especially colon and breast cancer) and dementia.

Moreover, vitamin K2 possesses a number of properties which appear to be unique qualities. Below we’ve provided a comparative table that includes the functions of all the forms of vitamin K on one side, and those particular characteristics of menaquinone on the other.

Functions of vitamin K Functions unique to vitamin K2
Activation of coagulation Bone mineralization
Bone formation Prevention of arterial calcification
Protection of neurones Prevention of cardiac calcification
Cellular antioxidant Tooth enamel reinforcement
Immune response enhancer Cutaneous cellular antioxidant
Regulation of metabolism Regulation of hormone production (increase of testosterone in men and decrease in women)

Vitamin K2 has been a nutrient that has not been studied much until relatively recently. More evidence is needed before all of its beneficial effects can be officially confirmed. Even so, the most recent studies provide very promising data that reinforces the notion that vitamin K2 is an indispensable nutrient for good health.

How do vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 relate with eachother?

Vitamin D3 will promote calcium absorption and mineralization of bones and teeth. However, some experts fear that very high levels of vitamin D and calcium can lead to increased deposits of this mineral in inappropriate places, such as the walls of blood vessels and kidneys.

Vitamin K2 will then contribute to bone mineralization while at the same time, activating a series of proteins closely related to maintaining the calcium present in bone and tooth tissue and enamel. This process will increase the amount of mineral (calcium) deposited in the bones and decrease the concentration of calcium in other places, making it capable of impairing the functioning of other organs.

For this reason many nutrition experts consider these vitamins to be synergistic, that is, capable of working together to enhance their beneficial actions. Vitamin K2 allows vitamin D3 to exert its effects while preventing the adverse effects associated with its ongoing supplementation or ingestion.

What are the recommended doses of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2?

The recommended intake of each nutrient is decided according to scientific criteria and are ratified by different international organisations. In the case of vitamins D3 and K2, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) takes into account variables such as age, sex and the particular health conditions of each individual.

In the case of vitamin D3, RDA can be quantified in the form of International Units (IU), a parameter that measures the degree of biological activity, in nano-grams (ng) or in micrograms (μg). The RDA for vitamin K2 on the other hand, shall be measured in micrograms. In the following table you can consult the RDA for each of these substances:

Population group CDR vitamin D3 CDR vitamin K2 (ug)
Babies 0-6 months 400 IU or 10 μg 2 μg
Babies 6-12 months 400 IU or 10 μg 2.5 μg
Children 1-3 years 600 IU or 15 μg 30 μg
Children 4-8 years 600 IU or 15 μg 55 μg
Adolescents 9-18 years 600 IU or 15 μg 60 μg
Adults up to 70 years 600 IU or 15 μg 75 μg
Women over 70 years 800 IU or 20 μg 90 μg
Men over 70 years 800 IU or 20 μg 120 μg

Who is likely to be affected by vitamin D3 and K2 deficiencies?

You must keep in mind that foods rich in vitamin K2 are very rare in the western diet. The body will mainly use vitamin K1, which is much more abundant. This vitamin will be able to preserve the clotting functions of the blood, but it will not provide the same amount of benefit as vitamin K2 would.

Vitamin D3 deficiency is also very common in western societies. It is estimated that 30-80% of the world’s population suffers from some form of vitamin deficiency, caused mainly by reduced exposure to sunlight, the abuse of sunscreens and the promotion of a sedentary lifestyle.

A survey conducted by Statistics Canada, found that two-thirds of the Canadian population has vitamin D levels below the amounts research is associating with reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, while one in 10, or more than three million people, have such low readings that they don’t have enough of this nutrient for good bone health. Shockingly, about 4 percent have so little that they’re actually at risk of rickets.

Image of meet with vegetables

Salmon is both delicious and rich in vitamin D3.
(Source: Baibakova: 34039849/123rf.com)

Keep in mind that certain individuals will be much more vulnerable to entering a state of hypovitaminosis with respect to vitamin D3 or K2 than the general population. The people listed below should carefully plan their diet if they want to avoid any imbalance related to low absorption or excessive accumulation of these vitamins:

  • Those over 60 years old: The capacity to absorb, store and synthesise these vitamins decreases with age. Meaning they may not be able to utilise the stored nutrients putting them at risk of excessive calcium deposits in blood vessels.
  • People with night shifts, office workers and students: Their sun exposure is less than the amount that is recommended to maintain vitamin D3 levels within healthy limits.
  • People with naturally very dark skin: The pigment (melanin) in dark skin doesn’t absorb as much UV radiation. Which reduces the skin’s ability to make synthesise vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure.
  • Vegans and vegetarians: Cholecalciferol and menaquinone are difficult to find in a plant-based diet, which increases the likelihood of this population group experiencing deficiencies in either of these nutrients.
  • People who frequently use sunscreen: By blocking ultraviolet radiation, vitamin D3 formation will also be impaired.
  • People with chronic intestinal diseases: Absorption of all vitamins (including D3 and K2) will be affected in cases of malabsorption disorders (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
  • People who often take antibiotics : Antibiotics work to eradicate all bacteria in the body, including beneficial intestinal bacteria, which contributes to the absorption of vitamin K2. Therefore, its destruction will affect the levels of this vitamin in the body.
  • People who drink too much alcohol: This oxidising substance works against the absorption of vitamin K2 while also hindering its functions.

What sort of health problems can be caused by an imbalance of vitamin D3 and K2?

The effects of a vitamin D3 deficiency will appear insidiously, causing an unspecific feeling of tiredness and discomfort. However, if this is not discovered and corrected, problems will begin to appear in the metabolism of calcium and other minerals, which will result in the occurrence of osteoporosis, joint pain, bone and muscle injuries.

Problems caused by vitamin K2 deficiencies will have a greater effect on the body’s ability to form blood clots. Which means minimal amounts of rubbing, bruising, or minor wounds (e.g. bleeding in the gums after tooth brushing) will begin to bleed excessively. This could happen internally or externally. In the case of women, these complications can become quite severe and will often take time to disappear once vitamin levels are returned back to normal.

Oder woman holding book

Older women will greatly benefit form a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement. These supplements are extremely useful in helping prevent the onset of osteoporosis. (Source: Shironosov: 31375574/ 123rf.com)

It is important to note however, that if vitamin D3 levels remain high but vitamin K2 levels fall, there is a great likelihood that calcium deposits in the arteries (absorbed from the diet or supplements) will drastically increase. This in turn can cause hypertension, which will slowly and discreetly damage the heart and kidneys.

Dr. Villegas (@DrJAVillegas)Research doctor/specialist in sports supplementation

“In elderly individuals with osteoporosis, higher intakes of vitamin K2 and D3, more exercise and less calcium in pill form are often recommended”.

How can I increase my levels of vitamins D3 and K2?

Canadian healthcare professionals all agree that sun exposure is the most effective way to significantly increase vitamin D3 reserves in the human body. Even though just sunbathing for about 15-30 minutes a day will synthesise a sufficient amount of cholecalciferol, long Canadian winters and the excessive use of sunscreen when exposed to the sun has decreased our ability to obtain it in this way.

As for the people who want to limit their exposure to solar radiation altogether, they can focus on obtaining this vitamin through their diet. Animal products such as chicken liver, salmon and egg yolk are especially rich in vitamin D3. Unfortunately, there are no vegan food sources of this vitamin.

Woman using a analgesic spray

Oral vitamin sprays are easy and effortless to supplement Vitamin D3 and K2 with.
(Source: Guillem: 89097091/123rf.com)

Vitamin K2 is much more difficult to obtain through foods, especially if you follow a “western” diet (such as the Mediterranean diet). This nutrient is present in green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, collards, and many more. Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It is also present in lesser amounts in animal products such as goose liver or free-range eggs. It is much more abundant in fermented foods such as nattō and some cheeses.

What foods are rich in vitamin D3?

You can find large amounts of vitamin D3 in animal produce such as fish, eggs or dairy products. Below, we’ve created a table that includes all the main food sources of vitamin D3 and their concentration of cholecalciferol in relation to the recommended daily amount or RDA for an adult:

Food Approximate Concentration (UI) % RDA (for an adult)
Cod liver oil (1 tablespoon) 500 80
Salmon (75 g) 350 60
Mackerel (75 g) 200 30
Tuna (75 g) 150 25
Sardines ( 75g) 150 25
Fortified milk (250 ml) 100 15
Egg yolk (unit) 45 8
Veal liver (75 g) 35 6
Fortified margarine (1 tablespoon) 30 5

Although the absorption of vitamin D3 through diet is less efficient than the production of this substance through sun exposure, a varied diet rich in these foods can provide a sufficient amount of cholecalciferol to produce optimal bone, mental and heart health.

What foods are rich in vitamin K2?

The amount of vitamin K2 present in animal produce depends greatly on the food that was fed to the animals throughout their life. Eggs from free-range hens, for example, have a higher vitamin K2 content than eggs obtained from caged hens.

Fermented foods – rich in menaquinone – should be refrigerated and stored properly to prevent the vitamin K2 present in them from deteriorating. The table below lists foods rich in vitamin K2, both of animal origin and fermented:

Food Approximate Concentration (ɥg) % CDR(for an adult)
Nattō (100g) 1000 1300
Goose pâté (100g) 369 500
Hard cheeses: Parmesan, Emmental and Gruyere (100g) 75 100
Brie cheeses (100g) 50 65
free-range egg yolk 32 45
Caged chicken egg yolk 15 20
Butter (100g) 15 20
Chicken breast (100g) 9 12
Veal liver (100g) 5 7
Whole milk (100 ml) 1 1

Who should incorporate a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement into their diet?

Since a large percentage of the Canadian population has insufficient levels of vitamin D3 or vitamin K2, some nutritionists suggest that everyone could benefit from taking one of these supplements. Other experts are more specific, and recommend the supplementation of these vitamins only in individuals belonging to one of the following groups:

  • Those over 60 years old
  • Strict vegans or vegetarians
  • Individuals with limited ​exposure to sunlight
  • Postmenopausal women, especially if they suffer from loss of bone density
  • Obese individuals
  • People who have undergone bariatric ​surgery or some type of intestinal resection
  • People with cardiovascular problems (hypertension, heart failure)
  • People who follow very restrictive or unbalanced diets
  • People with renal insufficiency

The combination of vitamin D3 and K2 will especially benefit those with a family or personal history of cardiac events associated with arterial calcification and obstruction. In these cases, vitamin K2 will act as a shielding agent to mitigate the effects of ongoing vitamin D supplementation, basically regulating calcium deposits in the arteries.

What kind of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements are there?

Vitamin D3 and K2 supplements are available in different formats, such as capsules, drops or powder. The cholecalciferol present in these products will come, primarily, from products of animal origin, although some manufacturers claim to have fungi capable of producing vegan D3.

In the case of vitamin K2, there are several isoforms (molecular variants) available for its use as a food supplement. The most commonly used vitamin K2 supplements are those known as “vitamin K2 MK-4” and “vitamin K2 MK-7”. Their effects and processes within the body are summarised below:

  • Vitamin K2 MK-4: MK-4 is the most active form of vitamin K2. This substance is rapidly absorbed and stored in the brain, arteries, pancreas and salivary glands.
  • Vitamin K2 MK-7: This form of vitamin K2 absorbs more easily into bone and liver tissues, where vitamin K2 MK-4 is then metabolised so it can carry out its beneficial effects within a multitude of processes in the body.

Experts advise using a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement containing a balanced combination of both menaquinone isoforms. This way, vitamin K2 can reach all parts of the body equally, protecting bones, arteries, kidneys and brain tissue equally.

Luis M Torres

“Vitamin D3, K2, Omega 3, magnesium and probiotics are the main nutritional supplements consumed.”

What is the price range of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements?

The cost of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements is slightly higher than that of cholecalciferol alone, it is around C$30 per package. Most of the products out there contain a sufficient amount to supplement to last for three or four months, making them of great value for your money.

Other supplements, such as those which are 100% vegan, products containing other vitamins, mineral or plant extracts and products from well-known brands will come at a somewhat higher price. Keep in mind, it is possible to find special sales and promotions that offer these supplement at a much cheaper price-point, for short periods of time.

Bacalao or cod served with bell pepper onion and garlic.

Cod liver oil is a major source of essential omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3.
(Source: Geel: 92630892/ 123rf.com)

How do I take my vitamin D3 and K2 supplement?

Products which combine vitamin D3 and K2 should be taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Its use is simple, and generally only one supplement per day is necessary. In the following paragraphs you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions that may arise when beginning to use these products:

  • Which supplement should I choose? It is advisable to choose a supplement that provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin D3 and K2 for your needs in one dose. Generally, items on sale offer much higher amounts than the RDA of cholecalciferol and menaquinone, so a single daily dose of the supplement will suffice in most cases.
  • In what proportion should these vitamins come? Remember that an adequate amount of vitamin K2 will ensure the correct use of vitamin D3 and prevent the arterial calcification caused by excessive calcium deposits. Most experts recommend that the chosen supplement contains at least 45 ɥg of vitamin K2 per 1,000 IU of cholecalciferol.
  • When should these supplements be consumed? As vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 are fat-soluble molecules, their absorption is enhanced if they are taken with meals, accompanied preferably by fatty or seasoned foods. A salad dressed with olive oil, for example, will favour the assimilation of both vitamins into the body.

What benefits can I expect from taking a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement?

Maintaining the adequate and recommended levels of vitamin D3 and K2 in the body is associated with an overall improvement in matters of physical, mental and metabolic health. As you know by now, these molecules act synergistically, enhancing each others positive effects, providing a multitude of benefits, most of which, we have summarised in the list below:

  • Increased muscle performance (increased capacity for contraction, strength and endurance)
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Increased bone density with decreased incidence of fractures
  • Decreased incidence of heart or coronary disease
  • Improved state of blood vessels, decreased occurrence of varicose veins
  • Strengthening of tooth enamel and a lowered incidence of cavities
  • Increased energy
  • Protection against infections (colds and flues)
  • Improved mood
  • Preservation of intellectual capacities (especially memory)
  • Decrease in LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Improvement in blood coagulation
  • Overall improvement of the skin tissue
  • Alleviation of symptoms from psoriasis and other chronic inflammatory diseases
  • Quicker recovery from haematomas (“bruises”)
  • Regulation of testosterone production in men
  • Improvement of symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in women
  • Decreased sensitivity to insulin, with reduced blood glucose levels

Furthermore, some studies have also come to establish a relationship between optimal levels of these vitamins and a lower incidence of cancer. Different studies have been published (on breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer, among others) that offer promising results on the tumour-reducing capacity of these substances.

Is it possible to take too much vitamin D3 and K2 through supplements?

Vitamin D3 is easily stored in the fatty tissues of the body and is therefore difficult to eliminate. If too much vitamin D3 is taken, negative effects such as whole body weakness and vomiting will occur. Fortunately, vitamin K2 works to reduce the occurrence and intensity of these symptoms.

Moreover, vitamin K2 is also a fat-soluble substance. Paradoxically, no toxic side-effects have been described in the consumption of this molecule, even at very high doses (100 or more times the RDA). For this reason, there has been no consensus on a maximum daily intake limit for menaquinone.

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Did you know that the synthetic counterpart of vitamin K (K3) is toxic in high doses? It’s essential not to confuse it with vitamin K2 when purchasing a supplement.

Therefore, it’s advisable not to exceed a daily limit of 4,000 IU for vitamin D3. In addition, it is important to choose a supplement containing 45 ɥg of menaquinone per 1,000 IU of cholecalciferol, in order to avoid any negative side effects. It is important to remember that although there is no established limit for vitamin K2, the RDA should not be exceeded.

What adverse effects can a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement have on the body?

The use of any supplement will always have the potential to cause undesired side effects in the body. So, it stands to reason that the combination of vitamins D3 and K2 can also have adverse effects. However, more often than not, these are simple discomforts without any serious clinical impact.

  • Frequent adverse effects: Some uncomfortable, but minor, side effects may occur, such as flatulence, abdominal discomfort, and a feeling of abdominal bloating. This discomfort will gradually disappear once the body becomes accustomed to the digestion of the newly incorporated supplement.
  • More severe and less frequent side effects: Some people have experienced very unpleasant side effects during vitamin D3 and K2 supplementation including nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. These effects are much less frequent than those described in the previous paragraph, but will require for an immediate adjustment of the dose or even ceasing supplementation altogether. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to consult your family doctor at your earliest convenience.
  • Very rare adverse effects: Very rarely, even more severe side effects may occur, such as intense vomiting and diarrhoea, loss of appetite and muscle weakness. In this case, it is recommended that you stop taking the supplement immediately and go to a medical centre as soon as possible.

When is it not recommended to take a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement?

Although vitamin D3 and K2 supplements are generally considered safe, they are not free from contraindications. People struggling to control their blood sugar levels will need to be very careful with this supplement, which can cause an unexpected and rapid decrease in blood sugar levels.

Moreover, individuals who suffer form liver or kidney problems have a delicate metabolism and should consult their family doctor before taking any kind of vitamin D or K supplement. As a general rule, unsupervised vitamin intake is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Finally, it’s necessary to take into account the possibility of any drug interactions between these vitamins and other forms of medical treatment. If you are a regular user of any of the drugs listed below, consult your doctor before starting supplementation:

  • Warfarin (vitamin K antagonist anticoagulant)
  • Antiretrovirals
  • Treatment for chronic renal failure
  • Anti-epileptic
  • Antacids
  • Hipolipemiantes (cholesterol-lowering drugs) such as Orlistat
  • Medicine for the treatment of psoriasis
  • Some antibiotics, such as tetracyclines
  • Digoxin (anti-arrhythmic treatment)
  • Treatment for hypertension
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Some diuretics
  • Corticoids
  • Laxatives

Shopping Criteria

In this next section we include some purchase criteria to keep in mind, which we hope will help you choose the vitamin D3 and K2 supplement that best suits your needs. The following list contains all of the most outstanding features these products can have. Make sure not to overlook any of them if you want to ensure the purchase of a top quality item.

Allergens

Very rarely, allergic reactions may occur after to the use of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements. Hypersensitivity symptoms will usually be due to intolerance of one of the excipients within the product, not the actual vitamin itself. Check the ingredients of your chosen product very carefully if you are intolerant of any other food compound such as gluten or lactose.

Vegan or vegetarian restrictions

It’s important to remember that plant-based vitamin D3 and vegan K2 supplements are difficult to find. Cholecalciferol is a compound found almost exclusively in foods of animal origin, which is why many vegans and vegetarians prefer to use vitamin D2 supplements, which are easily obtained from plant sources.

Nonetheless, some vitamin D3 and K2 supplements suitable for vegans have begun to emerge. In these products, according to the manufacturers, the cholecalciferol has been obtained from specially cultivated fungi or lichens. This may be a good option for vegans who want to continue supplementation.

Added minerals

Some vitamin D3 and K2 supplements may contain added minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, or magnesium. If you’re given this choice, most experts recommend choosing a supplement that contains magnesium. An increased vitamin D3 intake will help increase the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, making their supplementation unnecessary.

Dose

You may want to take a closer look at the dose of vitamin D3 in your menaquinone-cholecalciferol supplement. The dose of D3 should never exceed 4,000 UI. It is much safer to use amounts close to CDR (800-1,000 UI).

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Don’t forget that the dose of vitamin K2 must be in balance with that of D3.

Method of ingestion

In the case of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements, the method of ingestion will not usually influence the absorption or overall effectiveness of the product. For this reason, we recommend that you choose the the format that fits your needs and preferences. At the end of the day, in Canadian markets you can find these supplements in many forms and presentations:

  • Tablets: These are surrounded by special coating that gives them a pleasant taste and facilitates their ingestion.
  • Soft-gels: This type of supplement is especially suitable for those individuals who find it difficult to swallow large pills.
  • Oral ​spray: This ingenious form allows you to forget any aversion you may have towards taking pills. Fun fact: Some products are suitable for spraying on food or even served as a dressing.
  • Drops: This form of supplement contains an easy to administer dropper that allows to adjust the supplement dosage precisely.
  • Powder: This type of supplement can be easily mixed into purees, drinks or shakes, providing large amounts of nutrition in a delicious drinkable form. It also allows you to adjust the doses more accurately.

Best value for your money

The effects of vitamin D3 and K2 supplements begin to manifest within just a few weeks of starting treatment. However, these items need to be used for six or more months to resolve any complications you’re experience due to hypovitaminosis. If you anticipate the need for prolonged supplementation, we suggest you invest in “extra large” packaging, which will save you money in the long run.

Summary

The combination of vitamin D3 and K2 has increased substantially in the world of supplementation. These two molecules form an unparalleled team that allows you to reap all the benefits of cholecalciferol, while limiting its negative side effects. Moreover, their combined antioxidant qualities have made this supplement an indispensable health product.

If you follow our advice, you’ll be able to get the most out of your vitamin D3 and K2 supplement. Remember that the intelligent use of this product will help protect your bones and support the health of your cardiovascular system at the same time, allowing you to enjoy an active, disease-free life for many years to come. Don’t lose sight of this wonderful supplement!

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(Featured image source: McAdam: 76443287/ 123rf.com)

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