Tag Archives: vitamin K2

8 Lifestyle Choices to Support Heart Health

The best thing you can do for your heart is feed your body nutrient-dense foods, and that includes healthy fats, organic and pastured meats, organically-raised produce and properly prepared grains. When there is an adequate range and quality of nutrients being taken in, your heart can maintain good health.8 Lifestyle Choices to Support Heart Health from Beeyoutiful.com

We’ve found Nourishing Traditions to be a fabulous resource as we have made choices with our own families of what foods to use on our tables and how to prepare them. Diet & Heart Disease: It’s NOT What You Think is also packed with specific information about supporting heart health.

Deficiencies in key nutrients can cause significant stress to your heart and its health. 

  • Vitamin C. According to Fallon and Enig in Diet & Heart Disease​ (p4), “Vitamin C deficiency makes for weaker arterial walls, subject to more inflammation and tearing.” Correcting the deficit leads to strong and healthy vessels and heart muscle. Some of the best sources of Vitamin C are raw milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, and herbs.
  • Minerals. Minerals are found in organic butter, organic animal organs, dark leafy vegetables, raw nuts, and sea products, and if your diet is lacking in these, you may also be lacking in minerals. “Heart disease has been correlated with mineral deficiencies. Coronary heart disease rates are lower in regions where drinking water is naturally rich in trace minerals, particularly magnesium, which acts as a natural anti-coagulant and aids potassium absorption, thereby preventing heartbeat irregularities.” (Diet & Heart Disease, p61-62) When supplementing, make sure to consider the fact that your heart needs a variety of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, chromium, selenium, iodine, and other trace minerals.
  • Folate, B6, and B12. These nutrients are primarily found in animal products, but can also be found in dark, leafy vegetables. Sufficient intake of this trio of B Vitamins decreases the likelihood of atherosclerosis, and “these three nutrients also lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can trigger heart disease.” (Diet & Heart Disease, p62)
  • Antioxidants. Free radicals, such as pollution, toxins, unnatural chemicals, tobacco smoke, food additives, and even the byproducts of our own metabolized nutrients can attack and damage the body’s tissues (from DNA to arterial walls) if there are not adequate amounts of antioxidant nutrients in the diet. Increased free radicals without sufficient antioxidants increase stress and damage to the heart and its vessels. Examples of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals include Vitamins A, C, and E, Selenium, CoQ10, Zinc, and Glutathione. Sources of antioxidants are dark green leafy vegetables, organic pastured meats, grassfed butter, all orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, and even some spices such as turmeric. In addition, supporting the liver and its detoxification of free radicals as part of the metabolism process is extremely beneficial.
  • Powerhouses of A, D, and K. Dr. Weston Price was one of the first to notice the link between fat-soluble vitamins and heart health. He observed that during winter months when Vitamin D and A were not as naturally plentiful in the diet and lifestyle, the incident of heart attacks went up. “Vitamin A is required for numerous bodily functions, including protein and mineral utilization and the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. Since poor thyroid function is a cause of heart disease, a deficiency could be an indirect cause of heart disease. Since Vitamin D is needed for calcium utilization, a deficiency may cause increased calcification of the arteries, leading to accelerated atherosclerosis.” (Diet & Disease, p64-65) In addition to A and D, Vitamin K2 is very important. According to the Rotterdam Study in 2004, K2 is the only known nutrient that not only prevents but reverses atherosclerosis (for more information on K2, please see our post here). Sources of A and D are salmon, fish roe, grassfed butter and cod liver oil.

8 Lifestyle Choices to Support Heart Health

  1. Eliminate Processed Foods. Increase nutrient-dense foods in their whole forms.
  2. Avoid refined sugars. Use whole sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, stevia or rapadura.
  3. Avoid all trans fats. ​Exclude vegetable oils, shortening, and margarine. Increase saturated fats such as grassfed butter, unrefined animal fats, and coconut oil.
  4. Throw out the pasteurized and homogenized milk. Replace with fresh raw dairy products (if you tolerate dairy well).
  5. Just say no to low-cholesterol and low-fat foods. These foods are often filled with chemical additives, artificial flavorings, and sugars. Pick healthy whole foods to nourish and provide the needed nutrients.
  6. De-stress your life. Stress increases the presence of free radicals in the body. Increase relaxing activities such as short breaks where you focus on a pleasant hobby.
  7. Functional exercise. Choose a physical activity that allows for an increase of heart rate without putting undue stress on the body.
  8. Dry brushing. Encourage good circulation and detoxification by using a stiff brush to stimulate the skin.

With these nutrients and lifestyle choices, you’ll be giving your body a toolbox full of heart-healthy options.

Three Crucial Companions for Heart Health

3 Crucial Companions for Heart Health from Beeyoutiful.com

My husband’s family history of heart disease used to scare me. Honestly, with my background as a nurse, I felt that aside from some basic dietary precautions there was very little we could do to ensure he did not journey down the same path that his grandparents were walking. I frankly worried that I would eventually be the one in the recliner by the hospital bed, hoping to hear that he didn’t need bypass surgery.

3 Crucial Companions for Heart Health from Beeyoutiful.comThankfully, the more I studied and learned, the more delighted I was to realize that we could walk a different path and that heart disease might not be our story’s end.

In the past few decades, fat-soluble vitamins have increasingly taken their place and been recognized as major actors in heart health. Traditional lifestyles and diets were examined and concluded to be rich in fat-soluble vitamins from nutrient-dense whole foods, whereas conventional modern diets tend to be poor in fat-soluble vitamins and heavy in processed foods. Incidentally, cultures that have abandoned their traditional diets are documented to have a much higher rate of heart disease than their ancestors.

When Beeyoutiful began a few years ago to offer products like Cod Liver Oil, Butter Oil, and Katalyst, I thought it was a great thing to make Vitamin K available, since it does so much with the blood and its ability to clot. But there’s so much more to that vitamin that I had yet to discover!

​Vitamin K: Just For Clotting?

I really did not understand Vitamin K at all, specifically K2 (the form present in Katalyst and Butter Oil). The modern American diet is very low in K2 because we typically consume very little in the way of grassfed dairy (made from milk from cows that graze on pasture rather than eating grain) or eggs from truly free-range chickens, two primary sources of K2.

What I have learned about Vitamin K2 recently has caused me to prioritize these traditional foods in my family’s diet, and to decide to never leave off supplementing fat-soluble vitamins when I cannot get them from food sources.

There is a gentle dance in our bodies that involves many nutrients. Most need another nutrient to help them do their jobs properly. The complexity of these interactions is fascinating, and it explains how easily we can get out of balance when an important companion nutrient is deficient.

When Calcium Acts Alone

We are all well aware of the vital role that calcium plays in our bodies. It’s known for nourishing our bones and teeth, supporting heart health, helping nerves communicate, causing muscles to contract, and even supporting healthy blood clotting factors. In order for calcium to move around the body, it depends on other nutrients, and without them it simply takes the path of least resistance.

The ugly fact about calcium without its companion nutrients is that the path of least resistance leads straight to the soft tissues such as arteries and muscles. Those aren’t exactly the places where we’d like for our minerals to lodge, and these calcium deposits can cause plaque buildup in the blood vessels and pain in the joints and muscles.

​The Vital Companions: Vitamins D and K

One of calcium’s companions is Vitamin D3, helping to increase absorption of calcium through the intestines, directly helping bone health. But unfortunately Vitamin D can only get calcium as far as the blood stream; it cannot get it into the bones. Actually, if you stopped the process here, it’s possible that taking Vitamin D alone could lead to even more calcium buildup in the blood vessels. 

While D cannot move the calcium into the bones and out of the blood vessels, its other companion can! Vitamin K2 is a little-known supplement that functions as a cofactor that’s necessary to activate the two proteins that are responsible for moving calcium around the body. Without these two proteins (known as Osteocalcin and MGP), calcium simply remains in the blood vessels, creating buildup and contributing to a lack of calcium in the bones.

By simply adding K2 to your diet, you are benefitting both your heart and circulatory system, and your skeletal system. All three of these nutrients– calcium, D3 and K2– play vital roles in blood clotting as well, so you’re not only helping to ensure that blood vessels stay open and free, you are also helping to ensure the balance of clotting stays correct.

A Little Note About Vitamin A

While Vitamin A does not play a direct role in this cascade, what we do know is that A, D and K work synergistically together to regulate each other and protect the body. We highly suggest when supplementing with fat-soluble vitamins that you take Cod Liver Oil along with a Butter Oil to get a balance of all three.

Getting Adequate A, D, & K

The most superior way to take in fat-soluble vitamins is through grassfed butters, whole grassfed and raw dairy, cod liver oil, and fish. When these are not optimal in the diet, we highly recommend Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil as a secondary option, or the pairing of Dynamic Duo and Katalyst as a budget-friendly backup plan.

It amazes me that the body is built to work with such intricate balance that when fed the correct nutrients it actually has the power to strengthen itself against future disease. Don’t shy away from the butter and enjoy those delicious farm-fresh eggs! Have another helping and call it a tasty contribution to your heart health.

For more reading on this topic, I highly recommend the following resources:

The Skinny on Fats
On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved
Diet & Heart Disease: It’s NOT What You Might Think by Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP
Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleu