Maybe you know this situation: You feel listless in winter and your motivation for strength training is low? In addition, you often have a cold and suffer from mood swings?
These are clear signs of a vitamin D3 and K2 deficiency. In this post, you'll learn all about these two vitamins, how they can boost your health and performance, and how to supplement them properly!
- Production of vitamin D3 and K2
- Mechanism of action and advantages of micronutrients
- The health boost for your body
- Counteracting vitamin D3 and K2 deficiency
- Optimization of your strength training
What are vitamins D3 and K2?
On the market for dietary supplements there are numerous supplements that promise to help you build muscle or lose fat quickly. However, most of these products do not deliver what they promise.
They are based neither on scientific studies nor on real facts. In contrast, vitamins D3 and K2 are among the most researched supplements. They are often mentioned in the same breath, are responsible for numerous processes in the body, and contribute significantly to the maintenance of your health.
Vitamin D3 production
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the most important physiological form of the fat-soluble vitamin D. It cannot be sufficiently absorbed through the normal diet and plays an elementary role in calcium metabolism.
The formation of vitamin D3 occurs through exposure to direct sunlight on the skin. Through the UV light of the sun, the body produces sterol 7-dehydrocholesterol. This forms vitamin D3 when metabolized.
This process is also known as photolysis. The vitamin is subsequently metabolized in the liver and released into the blood.
Vitamin K2 production
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin. It performs the important task of blood clotting in the body and transfers the calcium produced by vitamin D3 from the blood to the bones.
This micronutrient is mainly found in animal products (such as liver) and is synthesized by the intestinal bacteria. The bacterial strains in the colon subsequently produce vitamin K2.
Functions and tasks: That's why vitamins are necessary for you!
Both micronutrients basically perform numerous functions and important tasks in the body. They support your health in many ways and reduce the risk of diseases and injuries.
Vitamin D3 for strong bones and joints
This vital substance has an important role in bone metabolism and regulates calcium levels. It promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the blood and thus lays the foundation for strong bones and stable joints.
This means a higher load capacity during strength training as well as improved recovery. In addition, a good vitamin D3 level reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Furthermore, a balanced production of the micronutrient can prevent bone fractures.
The micronutrient also has a part in many metabolic processes, not to mention hormone production. Vitamin D3 has a positive effect on insulin resistance. This reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Vitamin K2 for vascular health and a stable bone structure
This vital substance transmits the calcium enriched by vitamin D3 in the blood to the bones and stores it. It thus controls bone metabolism.
Vitamin K2 acts as a natural activator of GLA proteins and regulates the building of bone mass. By controlling calcium transport, it prevents the deposition of calcium in our blood vessels. This improves vascular health and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Blood clotting is also optimized and bone tissue is strengthened. Thus, vitamin K2, like vitamin D3, assumes a stabilizing and restorative function for the skeleton.
A constant level of vitamins D3 and K2 can prevent mood swings and mental malaise, especially in winter. You can thus reduce the odds of experiencing the emotional low phase also known as seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
How to recognize vitamin D3 and K2 deficiency!
Both vital substances perform and regulate elementary processes in the body. A deficiency has numerous negative effects on our health. It is therefore important to recognize signs of a deficiency at an early stage and to counteract them.
Vitamin D3 deficiency: signs and effects
If you often struggle with tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion in everyday life, this is often the first sign of a vitamin D3 deficiency. Especially in winter, when we have little sunlight, these symptoms become stronger.
In particular, seasonal depression is considered emblematic of an unmet need. Mood swings as well as listlessness and a lack of motivation to visit the gym are associated side effects.
Your immune system also becomes more susceptible to infections. In addition, your recovery after strength training is impaired. Muscle weakness and muscle or limb pain can occur as a result.
You can get to the bottom of the symptoms with the help of a blood test. The vitamin D level in the blood is measured in nanomoles per liter. 50 nmol/l indicate an adequate supply. 30 to 50 nmol/l indicate a suboptimal concentration. If the value is below 30 nmol/l, a significant deficiency is present.
In the northern latitudes, such a deficiency occurs very often. A large part of the population do not spend their daily lives outdoors. Especially in the dark season there are very few hours of sunlight. The short days with even less sunlight lead to a severe deficiency.
This undersupply leads to weakened bones and an increased risk of skeletal diseases such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. This increases the risk of fractures in the event of an injury. The risks of Diabetes mellitus type 2 and high blood pressure are also increased.
Vitamin K2 deficiency: signs and effects
In comparison, a deficiency of vitamin K2 has no clear signs, unlike with vitamin D3. Blue spots as well as frequent nosebleeds may indicate a deficit of this vital substance. Poor blood clotting can also be a sign, as can the delayed healing of wounds and injuries.
Such a micronutrient deficit can often be traced back to an unbalanced or downright poor diet. Likewise, gastrointestinal diseases play an essential role and bring your intestinal bacteria out of balance. Thus, the bacteria can no longer produce sufficient vitamin K2 in the digestive tract.
Furthermore, metabolic disorders as well as liver diseases can lead to a deficiency. As with vitamin D3 deficiency, this can also manifest itself in skeletal diseases.
Due to the limited production of vitamin K2, it can no longer suppress the formation of calcium deposits in the blood vessels. This can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
A healthy and balanced diet benefits the intestinal bacteria and contributes to a constant production of vitamin K2.
To counteract the deficiency - supplement vitamin D3 and K2 correctly!
To counteract the vitamin D3 and K2 deficiency, it is worthwhile for you to focus on appropriate supplementation. The combined intake of the two micronutrients is especially advantageous.
Vitamin D3 regulates the transport of calcium into the blood, while vitamin K2 is responsible for the storage of the mineral in the bones. This results in an effective synergy from which you can benefit sustainably.
Vitamin D3 dosage
The daily recommended dosage of vitamin D3 is between around 10-35 IU per pound of body weight. Your body type also plays an important role here.
The rule of thumb is: the darker your skintone and the less time you spend under direct sunlight, the larger the dose should be.
For example, for a 175 lb, medium tanned strength athlete, that would be 4000 IUs per day.
Especially in autumn and winter, the dose should likely be increased due to the short, dark days. In these seasons you absorb significantly less vitamin D3 from the sun.
However, you should be careful to not overdose the vitamin D3 supplement, since doing so can risk potential side effects. Excessive consumption of vitamin D3 can quickly lead to calcification of the blood vessels. Vitamin K2, which acts as an activator for the transport into the bones, can then no longer sufficiently transfer the calcium out of the blood vessels.
Vitamin K2 dosage
The intake here is not dependent on sun exposure or skin type. The daily dose of the micronutrient is 200 µg (micrograms). In general, most 2in1 supplements are designed so that the ratio of the two vitamins is precisely matched.
Vitamin D3 and K2 have a significant impact on your health and have a positive effect on your performance in the gym. A sufficient supply of both will not only strengthen your immune system.
Your bones, joints, and muscles will also become more resistant and resilient. In this case, a higher performance also means a higher ability to handle large weights during strength training. Thus, you can set more intense stimuli and better stimulate muscle growth.
In addition, you will recover better and stay motivated even in the darkest part of the year.
If you're interested in more useful supplement information as well as discussions on nutrition and strength training, check out other articles from the Alpha Progression Blog.