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Could Zinc and K-2 be a 1-2 Punch for Reversing/Preventing Dental Caries?

by (39841)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created September 07, 2011 at 12:24 AM

K-2 concentrates in the saliva in order to mineralize calcium in our teeth. Zinc supplementation increases salivary calcium levels: http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/84/1/35.short

Weston Price treated caries with his high vitamin butter oil, which contained a lot of k-2, but I wonder if correcting a zinc deficiency at the same time would make this process faster/more effective. The increased salivary calcium is likely for the proper functioning of taste buds, but I'm sure it's in a form that would mineralize. Most people coming from the SAD are going to be deficient in both of these (k-2 because most avoid a lot of egg yolks, butter and organ meats and zinc because of the high phytate content of the SAD, reduced red meat intake and also organ avoidance).

For what it's worth, zinc picolinate appears to be the most bioavailable form. I have encountered no stomach aches as a result of taking it without food.

Edit: I should also mention that zinc should be taken away from the copper-rich foods in your diet. The most concentrated source of copper that we eat is probably liver, which itself has a lot of zinc as it is, so the "advertised" levels of both in liver are likely overstating the bioavailability of each. If you took zinc at a time when you eat liver, you might negate most of the copper.

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e
800 · March 14, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Kyle, over the past ~18 months my cracked tooth syndrome symptoms have come and gone to the point where I had a crown scheduled with the dentist. Each time I would increase my vitamin K dose and things would subside. Using the cracked tooth as a barometer of a sort, I determined that the K1+K2 Life Extension Super K was more effective at alleviating symptoms than the concentrated K2 drops. After switching solely to the Super K 1x/day I have been symptom free for 10 weeks now, even after eating popcorn. Brazil nut consumption used to cause symptoms but not in the last 10 weeks.

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705 · March 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Hi Kyle, still going through fillings :-) Right now one of my cracked/broken teeth is only half covered with a filling (since September or so) and I have 0 problems/sensitivity with that tooth. I was holding off going to the dentist again until it bothered me and it hasn't bothered me. Note that I supplemented vit K2 at the time it cracked.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:26 AM

Update on this? I was just diagnoses with a broken tooth..I that's think same thing as cracked.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:25 AM

Update on this? I was just diagnoses with a cracked tooth.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:24 AM

Update on this?

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:23 AM

Wozza, update on this?

33f854df38e05c35ed6fc29b3064fb96
98 · January 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Wow, wouldn't that be great!

D7b01bbfd0b91a12c4aea43fb20adf15
569 · November 06, 2011 at 10:39 PM

some good links, thank you sir!

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432 · September 28, 2011 at 1:57 PM

From Wikipedia; "Bacteria can produce a range of vitamin K2 forms, including the conversion of K1 to K2 by bacteria in the small intestines."

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2153 · September 24, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Travis, what's the difference between zinc picolinate and chelated zinc? I took one capsule of chelated zinc with dinner one night and ended up with nausea for over around 18 hours.

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1159 · September 23, 2011 at 8:48 AM

@Travis: Isn't calculus the same as plaque? I keep rading that if one supplements with K2, plaque will stop forming. Now you say it forms because of K2. Which is it?

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1159 · September 22, 2011 at 5:07 PM

@sallycinnamon: just out of curiosity, how did your Doc know you should test for copper?

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1159 · September 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM

That would be Vitamin K1, which as i understand, doesn't have the same benefits of K2.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · September 18, 2011 at 2:16 AM

My buddies just got a grant to study evolutionary dentistry. Pretty cool stuff. Your tax dollars at work.  II am the co-chair for clinicians'.  t's on like donkey kong.  Dr Ungar tells me the changes are easy:   From: NESCent Proposal Team via RT [mailto:proposal-tracker@nescent.org] Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 5:43 PM To: Peter S. Ungar Subject: [help.nescent.org #11897] Catalysis Meeting: Peter Ungar - notification from NESCent about your proposal Dear Dr. Sorrentino, We are pleased to tell you that your Catalysis Meeting proposal to the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NES

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78422 · September 12, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Mallory, natto is a japanese fermented soy food. Very high in vitamin K2.

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4764 · September 09, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Fwiw, I had the same experience but eventually the pain did return...needed to have some major oral surgery (crown lengthening) in order to be able to seat a crown after the root canal. Maybe yours did heal but I had a crack that didn't heal and eventually more damage ensued...it was just dormant for awhile.

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2231 · September 08, 2011 at 3:28 PM

I take ZMA every evening, however the magnesium side of it does nothing for my sleep

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2231 · September 08, 2011 at 3:16 PM

what is natto? is it good for teeth?

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2191 · September 08, 2011 at 1:43 PM

After reading many of the responses here, I just wanted to add that there is no doubt in my mind that eating paleo will prevent and often stop or reverse dental issues. I have proven it on myself. My question was whether supplementation of K2 and Zinc would be enough for the person eating SAD.

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659 · September 08, 2011 at 4:12 AM

It's important that when we talk about zinc content in foods, that copper levels are taken into account. This isn't just because I have a copper overload, it's relevant to everyone. If you take foods that have a similar amount of zinc to copper, it's not going to help your zinc levels increase as they are antagonistic to each other. If the aim is to increase zinc levels, then choose foods low in copper and be mindful of copper levels in water supply. A lot of foods high in zinc, such as oysters, can also be high in copper. Ratio is more important than the amount of zinc on its own.

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659 · September 08, 2011 at 4:10 AM

@Phoenix: here is the picolinate I use...good stuff! http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Zinc-Picolinate-50-mg-120-Capsules/878?at=0 If you want to use my discount code it's ISO110

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659 · September 08, 2011 at 4:08 AM

140mg is a very high dose! I take 75mg on the advice of my doctor to correct a zinc deficiency and copper overload. I have a condition called pyroluria (which is not recognised by CW by the way) and my copper is off the charts. I wouldn't do 140mg without being supervised that's for sure.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 08, 2011 at 3:39 AM

If I'm not mistaken, the pancreas secretes picolinic acid in the presence of zinc in order to facilitate absorption, so a chelated version that is already treated with picolinic acid is ideal.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 08, 2011 at 3:39 AM

If I'm not mistaken, the pancreas secrfetes picolinic acid in the presence of zinc in order to facilitate absorption, so a chelated version that is already treated with picolinic acid is ideal.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 08, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Phoenix: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3630857

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4620 · September 08, 2011 at 1:00 AM

While we're on the topic of zinc supplements, what's the word on zinc citrate and zinc gluconate? I can find both of those for dirt cheap but haven't been able to find a zinc picolinate.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 08, 2011 at 12:49 AM

When I was eating natto every day I would notice mineralized calculus on my teeth out of nowhere. K-2 finds its way to saliva very rapidly, whereas vitamin D repletion is a relatively slow process.

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10502 · September 07, 2011 at 10:21 PM

@Quilty -- what did your teeth-pulling buddies have to say? ;)

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4764 · September 07, 2011 at 6:50 PM

I don't know TC, given how beneficial fish is due to selenium and in spite of the mercury, I'd still posit that eating oysters has huge benefits as long as we're getting suffficient C, selenium, copper etc... I just bought some and will be eating them instead of zinc supplements. And fwiw, I like zinc monomethionine over picolinate..just my n=1

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4764 · September 07, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Yes, it apears that K2 is still, to a degree, effective in the presence of other micronutrient deficiencies. There are a couple of studies showing that K is effective for improving bone density and one has to imagine that the "average person" who'd be in a study due to compromised bone density would be deficient in more than one nurient.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 07, 2011 at 4:03 PM

I've read a study once where the bioavailability of zinc from oysters was found to be 95%. They're an excellent source, especially the ones from the Atlantic, but with how polluted most waters are, I'm hesitant to recommend them. I suppose knowing your fisherman is like knowing your farmer.

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11581 · September 07, 2011 at 3:44 PM

One canned eastern US oyster contains 7.3 mg zinc. Better yet, 6 medium raw on the half shell have 76.3 mg. Oyster shooters anyone? I'm doing it solely for my teeth.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 07, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I'm assuming that vitamin D supplementation/going outside is one of the first changes that people here make and that they eat liver for retinol, but you're right they're all important. Vitamin D raises serum calcium levels, which are important for mineralization of the bone, but I'm assuming that the people in the aforementioned study are D-deficient and it still raised salivary calcium levels. Perhaps we would encounter a more pronounced effect.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 07, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I take 50mg and think it's a safe dose.

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1159 · September 07, 2011 at 10:11 AM

http://www.ajcn.org/content/33/8/1757.short << This study is also pretty interesting. Maybe it explains why certain people get tooth decay when following a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.

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20353 · September 07, 2011 at 5:38 AM

Very Cool! Thanks for doing that!

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20353 · September 07, 2011 at 5:37 AM

+1 and agree on the blog!

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10919 · September 07, 2011 at 4:24 AM

How much Zinc do you personally take? I'm considering taking it myself but I have no idea how much. The study had patients taking 140mg/day but that was for people who probably had a fairly significant deficiency.

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659 · September 07, 2011 at 3:47 AM

Zinc picolinate is indeed the best form - I have a zinc deficiency and picolinate is my saviour. I'm really interested in this as I have osteopenia along with the zinc deficiency. K2 is also implicated in bone density loss. Btw, do you mean "cavities" rather than "caries" ? Or maybe cavities is what we call them in Australia ....

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25467 · September 07, 2011 at 3:07 AM

I did post this on FB for some of dental buddies to read......we will see if they weigh in.

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10502 · September 07, 2011 at 2:53 AM

Travis Culp -- well done. I LOVE this sort of thought-experiment/hacks - this is what PaleoHacks is about.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9
4620 · September 07, 2011 at 2:25 AM

Dude, you've got to get a blog going. I think I remember you having a link to one in your profile at one point. You could have one of the best paleo blogs out there.

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14 Answers

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
23
25467 · September 07, 2011 at 1:24 AM

Travis.....as a former dentist this is spot on based on things I have read. If I could upvote you more I would. I hope every dentist reads this......sadly few will.

Plus one.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f
20353 · September 07, 2011 at 5:38 AM

Very Cool! Thanks for doing that!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · September 07, 2011 at 3:07 AM

I did post this on FB for some of dental buddies to read......we will see if they weigh in.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · September 07, 2011 at 10:21 PM

@Quilty -- what did your teeth-pulling buddies have to say? ;)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · September 18, 2011 at 2:16 AM

My buddies just got a grant to study evolutionary dentistry. Pretty cool stuff. Your tax dollars at work.  II am the co-chair for clinicians'.  t's on like donkey kong.  Dr Ungar tells me the changes are easy:   From: NESCent Proposal Team via RT [mailto:proposal-tracker@nescent.org] Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 5:43 PM To: Peter S. Ungar Subject: [help.nescent.org #11897] Catalysis Meeting: Peter Ungar - notification from NESCent about your proposal Dear Dr. Sorrentino, We are pleased to tell you that your Catalysis Meeting proposal to the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NES

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137
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2191 · September 07, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I am a dentist. In fact, I went to dental school in Ohio--possibly where WAP went, although I haven't been able to come up with that information. The problem I see is that with the SAD depleting so many nutrients, and with obscure co-factors so often necessary, I'm skeptical as to whether artificial supplementation will be effective on caries reduction. But heck, I'm willing to suggest anything at this point. Many patients will listen with fascination as I inform them of the truth about diet, but none will do anything about it.

I graduated dental school in 1980. Back then the dental community perceived that fluoride was wiping out caries and that most of us would eventually be out of a job. That's a laugh. People's teeth are rotting out of their mouths faster than I can fix them.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137
2191 · September 08, 2011 at 1:43 PM

After reading many of the responses here, I just wanted to add that there is no doubt in my mind that eating paleo will prevent and often stop or reverse dental issues. I have proven it on myself. My question was whether supplementation of K2 and Zinc would be enough for the person eating SAD.

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4620 · September 22, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Just came across these links. More reasons that zinc supplementation could be very beneficial when coming off years of SAD.

Enhancement of Cu bioavailability in the rat by phytic acid.

Phytic acid is postulated to enhance Cu utilization by its ability to bind other dietary components, such as Zn, that compete with Cu at the site of intestinal absorption.

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/zinc/

Calcium in combination with phytic acid reduces zinc absorption.

So after years of eating cereal with milk, bread with cheese, and just loads of phytic acid in general, there stands to be a pretty good chance that one would have an unbalanced copper:zinc ratio.

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78422 · September 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Here is another reason to use Zinc - tooth pain

Zinc alleviates pain through high-affinity binding to the NMDA receptor NR2A subunit

As we all know tooth pain is one of the worst kind.

Then we have this goodie:

A study of zinc in human teeth

This study doesnt supppor it:

THE EFFECT OF ZINC CHLORIDE AND POTASSIUM FERROCYANIDE AS A CARIES PROPHYLAXIS

This study supports it for rats:

Effect of Suboptimal Zinc Nutrition during Gestation and Lactation on Rat Molar Tooth Composition and Dental Caries

and this too

In vivo Effects of Zinc and Chlorhexidine on Dental Plaque Ureolysis and Glycolysis

Given that Zinc is needed for so many things, and that in combination with K2 effects may be more substantial, I think its a good idea.

D7b01bbfd0b91a12c4aea43fb20adf15
569 · November 06, 2011 at 10:39 PM

some good links, thank you sir!

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4625 · September 08, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Never ever avoid an egg Yolk - I had the most brillant dark orange yolk this morning- (but momma, thats where the fun is...)

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1186 · September 07, 2011 at 2:52 PM

WAP's diet for healing caries also included a high mineral content, high A & D, and low refined starch. Has it been found that K-2 is as effective in the absence of these components? No doubt the zinc sounds like a boon.

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4764 · September 07, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Yes, it apears that K2 is still, to a degree, effective in the presence of other micronutrient deficiencies. There are a couple of studies showing that K is effective for improving bone density and one has to imagine that the "average person" who'd be in a study due to compromised bone density would be deficient in more than one nurient.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 07, 2011 at 2:57 PM

I'm assuming that vitamin D supplementation/going outside is one of the first changes that people here make and that they eat liver for retinol, but you're right they're all important. Vitamin D raises serum calcium levels, which are important for mineralization of the bone, but I'm assuming that the people in the aforementioned study are D-deficient and it still raised salivary calcium levels. Perhaps we would encounter a more pronounced effect.

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2427 · September 08, 2011 at 11:41 AM

n=1 report:

Recently I had a terrible toothache whenever I drank coffee. The pain was bad enough for me to keel over and roll around on the floor. I went to the dentist who said I'd have to get either an extraction or a root canal filling. The root canal was extremely expensive with no guarantee of success. The extraction was going to require expensive surgery due to crooked shaped roots. While I umm-ed and ahh-ed, the dentist said, "you'll need to make a decision, the pain isn't going to go away".

I wasn't sure what to do. Coincidentally, I'd been reading about bone broths and decided to make one that weekend. Not because of my teeth, just because it sounded interesting. I had a bowl of this broth every day, and after three or four days the pain went away.

That was six weeks ago. I've made a bone broth every weekend since and had a bowl every morning. And the pain hasn't returned.

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4764 · September 09, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Fwiw, I had the same experience but eventually the pain did return...needed to have some major oral surgery (crown lengthening) in order to be able to seat a crown after the root canal. Maybe yours did heal but I had a crack that didn't heal and eventually more damage ensued...it was just dormant for awhile.

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1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:23 AM

Wozza, update on this?

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4764 · September 07, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Iirc, the competition between zinc and copper absorption isn't a problem, iirc until we reach pretty high intakes of zinc - around 60 mg.

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705 · September 08, 2011 at 10:40 AM

n=1 report:

  • I have 2 cracked teeth, from about 2 years ago. Very SAD. They got temporary fillings over a layer that was supposed to re-calcify them.
  • The teeth didn't recalcify, sensitivity to cold stayed the same and we closed up the teeth with permanent fillings after a few months.
  • I started eating paleo style in February, and started supplementing with zinc a little while after (based on Perfect Health Diet). I eat Kerrygold butter which has undetermined K2 content (possibly 0).
  • In June, I suddenly lost the filling in one of my teeth, and the dentist was surprised to see that my tooth had improved:
    • sensitivity to cold was down (a good thing)
    • if I understand correctly it was solid black and that's apparently a good thing for broken teeth, indicating tooth repair. I may have misunderstood this.

So in my n=1 experience, the health of my teeth improved by eating Paleo style. I have no idea of my vitamin K2 status, but I certainly get more zinc now.

The important thing to note though is that my teeth improved while covered with the filling.

So I don't think that in my case K2 in my saliva mattered?

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:25 AM

Update on this? I was just diagnoses with a cracked tooth.

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:26 AM

Update on this? I was just diagnoses with a broken tooth..I that's think same thing as cracked.

A64ed062eb5e2c3407122fcf16c5de6b
705 · March 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Hi Kyle, still going through fillings :-) Right now one of my cracked/broken teeth is only half covered with a filling (since September or so) and I have 0 problems/sensitivity with that tooth. I was holding off going to the dentist again until it bothered me and it hasn't bothered me. Note that I supplemented vit K2 at the time it cracked.

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800 · September 08, 2011 at 12:32 AM

Travis,

This is only an n=1 report, but I'll make it anyway. Have been suffering from cracked tooth syndrome, which has been flaring up more and more frequently while my dentist and I try to locate the true source tooth, and debate crown +/- root canal.

This past holiday weekend I knew I would get 20 minutes sun on each side for all three days to boost D3. Friday night my tooth was bothering me enough that sleep was disrupted. Aware of the need to balance Vit D with appropriate K2 and A, I began taking additional K1/K2 in the form of LEF Super K, along with some beta carotene. Had only been taking the Super K a couple of times per week, but this weekend I took it twice a day. I rarely supplement zinc.

Low and behold it seemed to have stopped the cracked tooth pain in its tracks. Even eating a few Brazil nuts, which always triggers it, did not bring it back.

So there may be something to the notion that K helps. Last month I had my serum osteocalcin measured, which is an indirect method of accessing Vit K status. I was very close to the middle of the test house' range/distribution graph. My beta carotene was low despite eating carrots daily, and taking the occasional supplement.

Medium avatar
39841 · September 08, 2011 at 12:49 AM

When I was eating natto every day I would notice mineralized calculus on my teeth out of nowhere. K-2 finds its way to saliva very rapidly, whereas vitamin D repletion is a relatively slow process.

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2231 · September 08, 2011 at 3:16 PM

what is natto? is it good for teeth?

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78422 · September 12, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Mallory, natto is a japanese fermented soy food. Very high in vitamin K2.

F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe
1159 · September 23, 2011 at 8:48 AM

@Travis: Isn't calculus the same as plaque? I keep rading that if one supplements with K2, plaque will stop forming. Now you say it forms because of K2. Which is it?

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d
1363 · March 06, 2013 at 3:24 AM

Update on this?

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e
800 · March 14, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Kyle, over the past ~18 months my cracked tooth syndrome symptoms have come and gone to the point where I had a crown scheduled with the dentist. Each time I would increase my vitamin K dose and things would subside. Using the cracked tooth as a barometer of a sort, I determined that the K1+K2 Life Extension Super K was more effective at alleviating symptoms than the concentrated K2 drops. After switching solely to the Super K 1x/day I have been symptom free for 10 weeks now, even after eating popcorn. Brazil nut consumption used to cause symptoms but not in the last 10 weeks.

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0 · May 08, 2013 at 2:07 AM

Travis,

What does any of this have to do with nailing the Chongstitute after 3rd period class? Message me, Man. You got my e-mail.

Sean Patrick O'Toole

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11204 · January 11, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Well, I have done this for a while. Hopefully it is slowing things down, but I haven't seen any recalcification. I have been trying to chase down a possible deficiency in something- I have some sort of neuralgia in my face, which is probably due to dentists, and lately I have been realizing they actually know very little. My most recent experiment is with methyl-folate. No changes yet, but it's early.

There are too many variables. I wish I had enough money to fly to some super secret paleo clinic and get all sorts of outre blood tests done.

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98 · January 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Wow, wouldn't that be great!

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98 · January 11, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Can I ask a crazy question? What foods contain K2? or what the heck is it?

Do you need Vitamin K1 and K2? I need to prevent alot of dental carries, some diagnosed over a year ago and looking a major dental work so really appreciate any information !!

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432 · September 22, 2011 at 4:38 PM

I found some good info at the carrot museum when I began my new Paleo Lifestyle so now I only buy organic carrots with the leafy tops and use the whole thing to get all the vitamins including "vitamin K, which is lacking in the carrot itself." The other thing about carrots I discovered is that to get optimum results they must be heated in order to get all the nutritional benefits; http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/carrotops.html

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1159 · September 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM

That would be Vitamin K1, which as i understand, doesn't have the same benefits of K2.

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432 · September 28, 2011 at 1:57 PM

From Wikipedia; "Bacteria can produce a range of vitamin K2 forms, including the conversion of K1 to K2 by bacteria in the small intestines."

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