One of my top 5 intentions this year is to improve natural options for women experiencing menopausal bone loss. The average woman loses 10% of her bone mass during the menopause transition, and I’ve even seen some women lose more than 20%.
A good place to start is by looking at how nutrient needs change with menopause and how a nutrient that we consume in only tiny amounts — vitamin K — has a big capacity to reduce menopausal bone loss. We’ve known for some time that higher vitamin K levels are associated with a large reduction in hip fracture risk (up to 65%), but now there are new discoveries in the vitamin K story:
The latest news on vitamin K, menopause and limiting bone loss
- Our need for vitamin K increases with menopause. One of the early effects of declining estrogen is the impairment of vitamin K function in bones, which includes the proper formation of the bone protein known as “osteocalcin.”
- Impairment of vitamin K function occurs well before a woman’s last period. This new finding sheds light on why a significant amount of menopausal transition bone loss occurs in the 1-2 years before the last period. The need for vitamin K increases as a woman enters perimenopause.
- K2 as MK-7 significantly reduces bone loss during menopausal transition. This is the more potent, bacteria-derived form of vitamin K. Keep in mind that vitamin K2 as MK-7 not only protects bone, but it has been found to reduce the incidence of both heart disease and cancer.
How to get more vitamin K
- Increase your intake of K2 as MK-7. Aged cheeses and foods like sauerkraut can contain some amount of MK7 with high amounts found in the Japanese fermented soy food known as “natto.” For those who don’t consume natto, achieving the target intake of 180 mcg/day is difficult and requires supplementation with MK-7.
- As you near perimenopause, increase your intake of both plant-derived vitamin K1 known as (phylloquinone) Two cups of green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, beets, turnip, or mustard greens will boost your K1 blood level substantially. Even high lettuce intake reduces hip fracture risk!
- Consider a high-quality supplement that contains vitamin K1 and K2, such as those found in my Better Bones Health Packages.
I look forward to giving you progress on all my intentions throughout the year!