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

by 39204 · May 08, 2013 at 02:07 AM

K-2 concentrates in the saliva in order to mineralize calcium in our teeth. Zinc supplementation increases salivary calcium levels:

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.

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14 Replies

25189 · September 07, 2011 at 01:24 AM 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.

2180 · September 07, 2011 at 05:54 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.

4540 · September 22, 2011 at 02:57 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.

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.

77322 · 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:


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.

4620 · 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...)

1176 · September 07, 2011 at 02:52 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.

2412 · 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.

4753 · September 07, 2011 at 03:45 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.

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?

791 · September 08, 2011 at 12:32 AM


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.

0 · May 08, 2013 at 02:07 AM


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

11251 · January 11, 2012 at 05:18 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.

98 · January 11, 2012 at 02:05 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 !!

420 · September 22, 2011 at 04:38 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;

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