Combat Rheumatoid Arthritis with Vitamin K2

| Oct 3, 2017

 

A surprising number of debilitating health conditions can be traced back to nutrient deficiency. In past articles, we’ve covered some of the deficiencies that can cause major issues if not addressed, such as insufficient vitamin D, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin B12. Even deficiencies in underestimated minerals like sulfur and iodine can quickly undermine your health.

Simply taking care of nutrient deficiencies can dramatically simplify the task of treating health conditions—this should come as particularly good news for those suffering from conditions that make daily life difficult to bear. One example is rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and notoriously difficult-to-treat malady that researchers believe can be improved or even halted with vitamin K2.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated 1.3 million Americans (approximately 1% of the population). While there’s much that still isn’t understood about this condition, medical researchers believe that it’s caused by autoimmune dysfunction. The painful inflammation and swelling associated with the condition arise when the immune system forms antibodies against joint tissues and begins to attack them as though they were foreign agents.[1]

As usual, conventional medical channels claim that the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, and that there is no cure. Nevertheless, strong evidence suggests that environmental and lifestyle factors play the largest role in its development—and conversely, that lifestyle modification is one of the most powerful and effective ways to combat it.

Proper maintenance of nutrient levels is a critical aspect of any healing lifestyle, and a new study in the European Journal of Pharmacology suggests that vitamin K2 may be one of the most important arthritis-healing nutrients of all.[2]

How vitamin K2 can help

Vitamin K2 is primarily known for its ability to facilitate blood clotting, but more recent research has revealed that it also helps protect the heart, bones, and joints. These properties are due to its role as a calcium regulator in the body—it ensures that calcium is moved away from the arteries (thus helping to ward off arterial calcification) and into bones (thus strengthening them and minimizing inflammation).

We discussed vitamin K2’s joint-protecting properties in our article about the synergy between vitamin D3 and vitamin K2. If you’re already supplementing with vitamin D3, it’s especially important that you also take vitamin K2, as vitamin D3 on its own can deplete vitamin K2 levels and cause calcium misuse in the body (i.e. calcium gets deposited in your arteries instead of your bones, in turn endangering the health of both).

Previous studies have already shown that vitamin K2 can prevent bone loss and safeguard joint health,[3] and the study cited above has expanded these findings by exploring this nutrient’s potential as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

During the study (a randomized clinical trial), participants were divided into two groups, one that received 100 micrograms of vitamin K2 (in the form of MK-7) everyday for three months, and a control group. The group treated with MK-7 experienced a marked improvement in a number of rheumatoid arthritis biomarkers, including erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), RA disease activity score assessing 28 joints, C-reactive protein (CRP), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-3), and undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC). In a nutshell, this means that the participants experienced a significant decrease in inflammation, signs of improved immune response, and increased levels of active osteocalcin (a sign of improving bone health).

The researchers’ conclusion was positive and unambiguous: “The results suggest that MK-7 improves disease activity in RA patients. Therefore, MK-7 represents a new promising agent for RA in combination therapy with other disease modifying antirheumatic drugs.”

Some health experts believe that vitamin K2 supplementation, coupled with proper diet, could entirely replace rheumatoid arthritis drugs, which carry varied side effects. The treatment protocol in this study, which pairs vitamin K2 with conventional RA drugs, is certainly still a step in the right direction.

Optimizing your vitamin K2 levels

We always recommend a healthy diet as the first line of defense (and offense) against disease and nutritional deficiency. It can be difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin K2 from food sources, though, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

Cheese, eggs, butter, and meat (especially chicken and beef) have the highest levels of vitamin K2, but unfortunately, all of these foods carry their own health risks. Overconsumption of animal products can lead to health problems on par with rheumatoid arthritis—in fact, there’s considerable evidence that meat and dairy directly contributes to the development and worsening of arthritis.

For this reason, supplementation is a better way to ensure that you’re getting the vitamin K2 you need to combat rheumatoid arthritis. Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) is by far the most potent and bioavailable form of vitamin K2, and therefore is the best supplement choice.

Because vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 are a match made in heaven, you should also consider taking a supplement that combines both into one product. We recommend this micelle liposomal formulation from Purathrive for maximum absorption. 


References

[1] https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/facts-and-statistics/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26073022

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23525894

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