Bone Strength Basics – What You Need to Know

Believe it or not, our bones are actually living organisms that are highly dynamic and require a mixture of proteins, vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy and maintain their structural integrity. Adequate nutrition is important in achieving and maintaining optimal bone strength and bone mass, which can include nutrients such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Zinc, Silicon and even Collagen!

Roughly ten million Americans over the age of fifty have osteoporosis, while an additional 34 million have low bone mass. Osteoporosis is responsible for roughly two million broken bones and $19 billion in related costs every year!

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K is actually a group of fat-soluble vitamins, K1 and K2.

Vitamin K2 can be broken down into different categories depending on the length (Mk1-Mk 13). The “K” comes from its German name, Koagulationsvitamin …or the German word for “clot”.

While Vitamin K1 does play an essential role in blood clotting, that is not the role of Vitamin K2.

Research is finding that Vitamin K2 is essential for maintenance of the bone strength, and it has been shown to have a positive impact on the bone metabolism.

Vitamin K2 is necessary for proper calcium synthesis as well as helping to balance Magnesium and Vitamin D3. In fact, Vitamin K2 helps you absorb calcium and makes sure it actually gets into your bones instead of into your arteries.

Think of Vitamin K2 as the traffic cop for calcium; Vitamin K2 is needed to help calcium and other minerals bind to the bone matrix to strengthen bones and not stay in soft tissues where it can cause calcification in the wrong places.

K1 vs K2

Phylloquinone (K1) is found in leafy green plants and menaquinone (K2) is found in animal products and fermented foods. Your body can also synthesize K2 in your gut.

K1 (Phylloquinone)

  • Found naturally in plants
  • K1 goes directly to your liver and helps maintain healthy blood clotting.

K2 (Menaquinone)

  • Found in animal products and fermented foods
  • K2 goes straight into your blood vessel walls, bones and tissues other than your liver; it is essential for bone strength, artery and blood vessel health
Vitamin K1 vs Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 increases the amount of a specific protein required to maintain bone calcium, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Some studies on Vitamin K2 have even found that high intakes of Vitamin K2 can stop bone loss in people with osteoporosis.

Your body needs Vitamin K2 to use calcium to build bones. Vitamin K2 deficiency is also associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and may increase your risk of certain types of cancer.

Foods high in Vitamin K2 include raw dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw and grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, kefir, as well as natto and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut.

There is increasing evidence that Vitamin K2 can improve bone health and reduce the risk of bone fractures, especially in postmenopausal women who are at risk for osteoporosis. There is also growing evidence that Vitamin K2 has anti-inflammatory activity and can protect your cells from oxidative stress caused by free radical damage.

Vitamin K2 can be broken into two additional categories:

MK-4 (menaquinone-4), a short-chain form of Vitamin K2 found in butter, ghee, egg yolks, and animal-based foods. Try and avoid this in supplemental form, since MK-4 supplements are all synthetic. MK-4 also has a very short biological half-life — about one hour— so getting it from food works best.

MK-7 (menaquinone-7), longer-chain forms found in fermented foods. There’s a variety of these long-chain forms but the most common one is MK-7.
The MK-7, which forms in the fermentation process, has two major advantages. It stays in your body longer, and has a longer half-life, which means you can just take it once a day in very convenient dosing.

Collagen 101

Collagen comes from the Greek kolla (glue) and is our body’s most abundant protein. It is essentially the “glue” in our body to support our connective tissues, cartilage, bones, tendons and ligaments, as well as provide structural support to the skin. As we age, our body’s natural ability to produce collagen begins to decline. Because bone is a complex tissue, bone strength depends on the quality of bone tissue and several nutrients such as collagen.

Type I collagen is the most abundant type of collagen in our body, but it is also the major structural component of our bones, organs and skin. Collagen provides a “framework” of sorts to our bone strength, which also allows bones to be strong and flexible. As collagen levels begin to decline (due to age, oxidative damage, stress etc) the crosslinking process of collagen in forming strong bones begins to decline, which can lead to bone fragility, bone collagen abnormalities and osteoporosis.


Roughly 60% of our total body Mg is stored in the bones; low levels of magnesium have been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis fractures, as low magnesium levels can inhibit vitamin D and calcium homeostasis and absorption in bones.

A study done in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that men who had high serum magnesium levels were 44 percent less likely to have bone fractures.

Magnesium is essential to all living cells (which your bones are), including both osteoblasts and osteoclasts (aka bone building and bone breaking cells). In fact, bones of Mg deficient animals have been found to be brittle and fragile.

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to the development of osteoporosis directly and indirectly by acting on crystal formations on bone cells, by impacting the secretion and activity of parathyroid hormone and promoting low-grade inflammation.

MariGold Fat Bombs

Our Fat Bombs are a great source of grass-fed ghee (Vitamin K2) and collagen. Our Fudge Brownie flavor is packed with even more bone healthy ingredients including magnesium, which is found in Coffee Cherry Flour.

These high fat, low sugar fat bombs make for a tasty snack that is Non-GMO, Lactose, Soy & Gluten Free.

Brianna Diorio

Author: Brianna Diorio

FDN-P, Holistic Lifestyle Coach, NASM – CPT

Brianna Diorio is a clinical nutritionist and holistic lifestyle coach, as well as one of our MariGold Ambassadors.

“These bars are truly delicious and nutritious, my favorite combination!”

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