Over the years, I’ve accumulated a small but potent bunch of vitamins and other natural health supplements, and on occasion, when I get the itch or when I read about something interesting, I do my research and try something new.
I’ve been taking 4,000-6,000 IU of vitamin D for about six months now, because I found out how incredibly important that stuff is.
That’s how vital D is, and for most people, the Institute of Medicine’s RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of 600-800 IU is woefully inadequate. This Mercola article states that the daily dose for the typical D-deficient person should be 10-15 times that RDA.
Most people in the Northern Hemisphere are D-deficient, which goes double for us folks in the Great-White-Almost-Canada-North. So I started taking Genestra D-Mulsion 1000. It’s a lemon-flavored, pretty good-tasting emulsion, and every drop is 1,000 IU. All you have to do is put some drops on the back of your hand and lick them off. Love it, and I've been feeling a lot better since I started taking it.
Well, recently, I’ve read from different sources that your body can’t optimally absorb vitamin D and put it where it belongs without K2.
“One of the undisputed benefits vitamin D provides for you,” states a 2011 Mercola article, “is improved bone development by helping you ABSORB calcium. … But there is new evidence that it is the vitamin K (specifically, vitamin K2) that directs the calcium to your skeleton, while preventing it from being deposited where you don’t want it—i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries.”
So, clearly I needed vitamin K2 to go with my D. So I bought Sports Research’s Vitamin K2 (MK7, allegedly the best form of K2), at 100 micrograms (mcg) per capsule, and started taking them according to the package instructions, one pill per day.
About a week ago, my left leg started to give me trouble. The heel was hurting a lot, as if I’d pulled a muscle, but I couldn’t remember any particular incident. Then, a few days later, I got a throbbing pain on the inside of my left thigh that wouldn’t go away.
Now, I have to admit I’m deadly afraid of blood clots, which can cause severe problems, such as heart attack, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.
I’m a couch potato (though I am a card-carrying member of Curves and all, but regularly paying and actually going seem to be two different things), I smoked for most of my life, and I took birth control pills for decades before it became widely known that there are risks in gulping down tons of estrogen and progestin every month.
So I’m probably a good candidate, and I’ve had that frightful sensation in my legs before. It used to go away when I massaged the hurting spot, but this time it didn’t. On the contrary, it got worse and worse, particularly at night. I tried to walk more during the day, but that only brought temporary relief.
Soon enough, I stumbled over another Mercola article, which noted that vitamin K2 can cause blood clots. The article stated that leading vitamin-K researcher Dr. Cees Vermeer “recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults.” It further said, “If you have experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, or are prone to blood clotting, you should not take vitamin K2 without first consulting your physician.”
Boy, talk about reading the fine print!
So I looked at my K2 supplement: 100 micrograms (mcg) per capsule. Then I had the glorious idea to check the multivitamin I’m taking every day—and found that it, too, contained K2, at 120 mcg.
In other words, through my various supplements, someone who probably shouldn’t ingest any supplementary K2 at all got a mega-dose of 220 mcg a day!
Add to that the naturally occurring K2 in dark green vegetables, turkey meat, and mayonnaise, and I was severely overdosed.
I immediately went to the drugstore and bought buffered aspirin, a well-known blood thinner. Half an hour after taking just two pills, the throbbing pain in my leg vanished. Later in the afternoon, I took another two pills for good measure, and the pain hasn’t returned. Needless to say, I laid off the K2 and the multivitamin. I feel like I dodged a bullet. Dayum.
And the moral of the story: Vitamins and other nutritional supplements are great, but make sure you do your homework before taking them.