In This Article
Bone Density Mysteries
Researchers have struggled for decades to explain why people from wealthy countries suffer from bone density issues at much greater rates than people in poorer countries. Calcium deficiency was thought to be the cause, but that was debunked when it became clear that the countries that consume the most calcium from dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
In one study, researchers found that rates of urbanization parallel the growing rates of osteoporosis, suggesting that there is something about modern living that is linked to bone density declining with age.
Now, new research has found a strong link between four nutritional deficiencies and bone density issues. Resolving these four common nutritional deficiencies has also been linked to living a healthier and longer life. Here, those four issues and how to address each:
Vitamin D Deficiency
Whether you get your vitamin D from the sun, a supplement, or from organ meats, that vitamin D must be converted into an active form of the vitamin in your liver and kidneys. For this to happen, the mineral magnesium is required, which, according to research, is a nutritional deficiency that affects about 65 percent of all adults in the US.
Once vitamin D is active, it attaches to dietary calcium in the gut and escorts it into the bloodstream. Once that calcium is in your blood, it can be used to strengthen your bones, or, it can be deposited in your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease. The determining factor of how your body uses vitamin D is the availability of a protein called Matrix GLA, which needs to be activated by vitamin K2.
In a study that evaluated levels of vitamin D and vitamin K2 in elderly people (the average age was 70), the death rate was 68 percent higher among those with the lowest levels of vitamins K2 and D.
Independently, vitamin D supplementation has a good track record for support healthy bone density. One study found that healthy levels of vitamin D are related to better bone mineral density. In fact, this study reported on several randomized placebo-controlled trials that linked vitamin D supplementation to a significant decrease in fracture incidence. The researchers also found that vitamin D supplementation improved the results of the osteoporosis medications. Typically, a dose of 2-5000 IU per day will maintain vitamin D3 levels in the optimal range of 50-80 ng/mL.
Learn more about LifeSpa’s Liquid Sun Vitamin D3
Vitamin K2 Deficiency
Vitamin K2 has also been linked to supporting optimal bone density. But research shows that 97 percent of people are K2 deficient. In another study, researchers found that vitamin K2 increased the bone-building process and decreased the bone-loss process. Vitamin K2 supported bone density when osteoporosis was caused by a number of conditions, including postmenopausal osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, biliary cirrhosis, stroke, and drug-induced osteoporosis.
This study concluded that Vitamin K2 exerts a more powerful influence on bone density than vitamin K1, and should be considered for prevention or treatment in conditions known to contribute to osteoporosis. Vitamin K1 is primarily found in green vegetables and is best known for its ability to help with blood coagulation.
Vitamin K1 converts to vitamin K2 but at a very slow and inefficient rate. The best source of vitamin K2 is from fermented dairy or a supplement.
See also 97% of Humans are Low in Vitamin K2
Magnesium may play its most critical role in bone density. It’s an activator of vitamin D, which is directly linked to bone health. Research has also linked magnesium deficiency to osteoporosis in three ways. First, magnesium deficiency can cause crystal formations on bone cells that block bone production. Secondly, magnesium deficiency can impact the secretion and activity of parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium levels in the blood. And lastly, magnesium deficiency can promote low-grade inflammation.
If you’re deficient in magnesium, you are most likely deficient in many other minerals. I suggest taking a daily multi-mineral supplement that delivers highly absorbable minerals to offset the epidemic of mineral deficiency we have in the West.
See also The Benefits of Taking Vitamin D and Magnesium Together
Melatonin may be most well known as a sleep agent, but in the scientific community, it is understood to be a three-billion-year-old molecule that syncs the body’s biological clocks with nature’s circadian rhythms. In my interview with melatonin researcher Dr. Paula Witt Enterby, she cites numerous studies in which melatonin was able to reverse osteoporosis by decreasing the rate of bone loss, while also increasing the rate of bone production. The studies used 3 to 5 mg of melatonin before bed for 6 to 12 months for best results.
Learn more about LifeSpa’s Melatonin HP
Numerous studies have shown that populations with higher levels of vitamin D (while still being in normal range) live longer and healthier lives. In one report, 56 trials found that vitamin D3 supplementation was linked to a longer lifespan. In another large study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), there was a significant boost in longevity when magnesium and vitamin D supplements were combined.
When vitamin D3 and K2 are taken together there can be a significant decline in death rates. In a study of vitamin K2 alone, with more than 4,800 subjects who were followed for seven years, there was a significant reduction in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events with study participants that had the highest levels of the MK-7 component of vitamin K2. In the same report, a group of more than 16,000 women saw a 9 percent reduction in cardiovascular events for every 10 mcg of supplemental vitamin K2 they took. (The most commonly recommended dose is 45 mcg twice a day with meals.)
Finally, the longevity research on melatonin is overwhelming. Melatonin has been shown to support longevity by:
- Acting as a potent free radical scavenger combating aging and degeneration
- Improving sleep
- Supporting healthy cognition
- Supporting healthy blood sugar levels
- Supporting cardiovascular health
- Supporting metabolic function with age
- Acting as an anti-stress agent
- Supporting the management of occasional anxiety
- Protecting against toxic substance exposure
- Supporting healthy cellular replication
- Boosting immunity
- Protecting bone density
- Supports a healthy and natural inflammation response
The reasons for maintaining bone health are many, and now you can add living longer to the list!
See also The Longevity Benefits of Melatonin + the Science on How Much to Take