BDNow! Podcast 015 Dr. Kate Rheaume, author of “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life”

(foreground) Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue BSc., ND and her important new book “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” (background) An example of a meal that  is rich with vitamin K2, featuring Japanese fermented soy beans (Natto), a pastured egg yolk and fresh fish
Our guest is Dr Kate Rheaume-Bleue, the world’s foremost expert on the incredibly important, but little known,  nutrient,  Vitamin K2.  Vitamin K2 tells our body how to utilize calcium and Vitamin D, among many other important benefits. Deficiencies in Vitamin K2, which is a given for people who only eat commercial foods, lead to weak bones and teeth and clogged arteries. You’ll want to make sure you get enough Vitamin K2 in the future. Listen to this interview with Dr Kate and read her book (available below). If the interview or book leave you with more questions, leave your questions below and Dr Kate herself will answer them for you.
In 1945, Dr. Weston Price described “a new vitamin-like activator” that played an influential role in the utilization of minerals, protection from tooth decay, growth and development, reproduction, protection against heart disease and the function of the brain.
Using a chemical test, he determined that this compound—which he called Activator X—occurred in the butterfat, organs and fat of animals consuming rapidly growing green grass, and also in certain sea foods such as fish eggs.
Dr. Price died before research by Russian scientists became known in the West. These scientists used the same chemical test to measure a compound similar to vitamin K.
Vitamin K2 is produced by animal tissues, including the mammary glands, from vitamin K1, which occurs in rapidly growing green plants.
A growing body of published research confirms Dr. Price’s discoveries, namely that vitamin K2 is important for the utilization of minerals, protects against tooth decay, supports growth and development, is involved in normal reproduction, protects against calcification of the arteries leading to heart disease, and is a major component of the brain.
Vitamin K2 works synergistically with the two other “fat-soluble activators” that Price studied, vitamins A and D. Vitamins A and D signal to the cells to produce certain proteins and vitamin K then activates these proteins.
Vitamin K2 plays a crucial role in the development of the facial bones, and its presence in the diets of nonindustrialized peoples explains the wide facial structure and freedom from dental deformities that Weston Price observed.
From Chris Masterjohn’s 2008 paper, On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved, available from the Weston A. Price Foundation website here

The secret to avoiding calcium-related osteoporosis and atherosclerosis

While millions of people take calcium and Vitamin D supplements thinking they’re helping their bones, the truth is, without the addition of Vitamin K2, such a health regimen could prove dangerous. Without Vitamin K2, the body cannot direct calcium to the bones where it’s needed; instead, the calcium resides in soft tissue (like the arteries)—leading to a combination of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, or the dreaded “calcium paradox.” This is the first book to reveal how universal a Vitamin K2 deficiency is, and the risk (in the form of cancer and diabetes, among other ailments) the absence of Vitamin K2 poses.

Written by Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, a popular health expert on Canadian television and radio, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox sounds a warning about the popularity of the calcium and Vitamin D craze, while illustrating the enormous health benefits of Vitamin K2 in making the body less susceptible to dental cavities, heart disease, prostate cancer, liver cancer, diabetes, wrinkles, obesity, varicose veins, and other ailments.

The book demystifies this obscure supernutrient—a fat soluble vitamin that humans once thrived on, ignored by scientists for almost seventy years

  • Details how the consumption of grass-fed animals led to adequate Vitamin K2 intake—while grain-based animal feed helped eradicate Vitamin K2 from our diets
  • Describes how doctors are raising recommended doses of calcium and Vitamin D—without prescribing Vitamin K2
  • Details more damning facts about transfats—and how the creation of a synthetic Vitamin K interfered with the body’s Vitamin K metabolism

An essential book for anyone interested in bone health, or maintaining their overall health, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox is the guide to taking the right combination of supplements—and adding Vitamin K2 to a daily regimen.


Publisher’s Press Release

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life

Are you taking calcium or vitamin D? This news could save your life. Millions of people take calcium and vitamin D supplements for bone health, but recent research shows that this can actually increase the risk of heart attack and stroke as the added calcium builds up in arteries.

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life is the revealing new book that explains the secret to keeping bones strong and arteries clear with vitamin K2, a little-known super-nutrient that humans once thrived on and that has been ignored by scientists for almost 70 years.

Written by Dr. Kate Rhéaume-Bleue, a popular health expert on Canadian television and radio, Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox sounds a warning about the popularity of the calcium and vitamin D craze while illustrating the enormous health benefits of vitamin K2 in making the body less susceptible to osteoporosis, heart disease, prostate cancer, liver cancer, diabetes, wrinkles, obesity, varicose veins, and other ailments.

  • How much vitamin K2 is needed and how to get it;
  • Why vitamin D and calcium must be supplemented by vitamin K2;
  • The health benefits of vitamin K2, including straight, cavity-free teeth, fewer wrinkles, cancer prevention and strong bones in children;
  • Which delicious “sinful” foods are brimming with heart-healthy vitamin K2 vitamin;
  • How vitamin K2 plays a role in healing almost every major disease of our day;
  • Vitamin K2 as the ultimate anti-aging vitamin;
  • The recent studies on Alzheimer’s and how vitamin K2 may slow or prevent this disease.


Dr Kates website is here




14 Replies to “BDNow! Podcast 015 Dr. Kate Rheaume, author of “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life””

  1. I thank you very much for your recent interview on K2. I found it so informative although I must say I’m in even more of a quandry as to how to consume enough k2. I have recently added Natto but I can only eat so much. The issue is I was recently put on a high dose of vitamin d to up my low levels ( 20,000 iu/day) and so I decided that I must take a MK-7 supplement but when I went to buy, my calculations of how many I would need were out the roof so I did not purchase. When I asked the prescribing doctor about this, she responded that I could get enough vitamin k through green leafy vegetables. I realize that there is very little education out there right now about this issue so I thank you again for doing what you do. It was my first podcast and now I will listen to the rest. And if you have any recommendations I am open and grateful. ( I will copy the link to your podcast to this doctor)

    1. Alexa, your doctor is confusing vitamin K1 and K2. You can’t really blame her for that… but you could pass along a copy of my book! Seriously, you can’t get the vitamin K2 you need from green leafy veggies, that has been well researched.
      The question is, how much vitamin K2 do you need with high dose vitamin D supplementation? Beyond 5000 IU of D daily (which would require about 500mcg vitamin K2 according to my ratio) it gets pretty expensive to match your K2 intake to a high D intake with supplements. And you can only eat so much natto.
      The fact is we don’t know what the optimal dose of K2 would be with that high a dose of D since it is beyond a typical physiological dose. We don’t know if the body will keep making vitamin K2 dependent proteins in response to increased D intake (thus continually increasing your need for K2), or of it caps out at some point. If we knew this, there might be a better consensus about the optimal dose of D.
      Do make sure you are getting some vitamin A (as per chapter 7 of my book) and aim for about 500 mcg MK-7 daily from food and supplements. This is somewhat arbitrary number, but is should cover you.
      By the way, K2 testing could answer this question, and the most recent news indicates this should be available by the end of this year. I’ll keep posted.

  2. Dr Kate – Thank you for an incredibly informative interview. Thanks for doing all the work you’ve done to bring the world up to speed on the importance of Vitamin K2.

    I have a quick question: I read on another site that calcium found in foods never causes cardio vascular problesm only supplemental calcium does. I assume that this statement is in error based on the fact that the only test we have results for is one that was based on supplementation. In other words, I believe that all forms of Calcium require K2 for direction.

    What’s your take?

    1. Many of the studies that reported problems with calcium supplementation stated something similar: that only calcium from supplements increases the risk of heart attack and stoke, but somehow not from foods. And yet, we know that cardiovascular disease (characterized by an accumulation of calcium in the arteries, a.k.a. hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis) is the leading cause of death in men and women wether or not they take calcium supplements!
      Calcium accumulation in the coronary arteries is the best predictor we have for heart attack risk, while calcium accumulation in the carotid arteries is an excellent predictor of stroke risk – again, this is whether or not you take calcium supplements. In other words, you are correct, all types of calcium (from food or supplements) require vitamin K2 for direction.

  3. Hi Dr Kate,

    Thanks to you and Allan for a great podcast. I plan on buying your book!

    In the interview you said to get around 100mcg of mk7 for every 2000 IU of Vit D. Does mk4 have a place in supplementation? If so, do you have any thoughts on a good ratio between mk4 and mk7 when reaching the right K2 level?

    Are there any reasons you would encourage people to take larger doses of K2?

    I’ve read about people using Thorne Research Liquid K2 (mk4) at 1 mg per 25 lb body weight daily with incredible results – tooth enamel grew on teeth, a toenail regrew after 25 years, etc.


    John H.

    1. John – Thanks for this good question. I’ll draw it to Dr Kate’s attention. (She’s on maternity leave 😉


    2. Hi John,

      All types of vitamin K2 have the same effects of activating K2-dependent proteins, so you don’t need to take MK-4 and MK-7 to get the health benefits of K2.
      I’ve had some surprising feedback about unexpected health benefits of higher doses of K2, so I think it is worth trying. The doses of K2 I’m recommending are creeping up because of that.
      And yes, there are really interesting reports coming in about vitamin K2 benefits from both forms of K2 – especially a variety of oral health improvements. It is encouraging that reports of benefits seen with MK-4 are in doses a lot lower than typically used in clinical trials (the 1mg per 25 lbs that you mentioned, instead of 45 mg). We are in very early days of our understanding of K2!

  4. Another great BDNOW podcast! Dr. Kate does an outstanding job of explaining the importance of Vitamin K2, the limitations in adequate acquisition from the diet, and the body’s need to balance the interactions of vitamins K1, K2, and D to promote good health. Appreciating the historical perspective of this subject makes me once again appreciative of the genius of Dr. Weston Price and I amvery glad that Dr. Kate is continuing to study this important nutritional factor.
    Allan, you do a great job of keeping us informed about so many important issues.

    1. Mary –

      Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.

      It’s really appreciated.

      We’re so lucky to have access to a true expert like Dr Kate!

      She’s a credit to her Nation.

      Unfortunately, that nation is CANADA!


  5. Dr. Kate –

    I imagine you’ve already seen the article below from Science Daily. It’s about the prevalence of calcium buildup in the cardio-vascular system of preindustrial Hunter Gatherer mummies. What was going on here? Not enough k2? Or too much calcium and sunshine? Is this the proof that we can’t get enough k2 from a natural diet?

    Your thoughts, pleaase!

    Thanks you,


    Mummy CT Scans Show Preindustrial Hunter Gatherers Had Clogged Arteries
    Mar. 10, 2013 —

    Like nearly 4.6 million Americans, ancient hunter-gatherers also suffered from clogged arteries, revealing that the plaque build-up causing blood clots, heart attacks and strokes is not just a result of fatty diets or couch potato habits, according to new research in the journal The Lancet.

    The researchers performed CT scans of 137 mummies from across four continents and found artery plaque in every single population studied, from preagricultual hunter-gatherers in the Aleutian Islands to the ancient Puebloans of southwestern United States.

    Their findings provide an important twist to our understanding of atherosclerotic vascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the developed world: while modern lifestyles can accelerate the development of plaque on our arteries, the prevalence of the disease across human history shows it may have a more basic connection to inflammation and aging.

    “This is not a disease only of modern circumstance but a basic feature of human aging in all populations,” said Caleb Finch, USC University Professor, ARCO/ Kieschnick Professor of Gerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and a senior author of the study. “Turns out even a Bronze Age guy from 5,000 years ago had calcified, carotid arteries,” Finch said, referring to Otzi the Iceman, a natural mummy who lived around 3200 BCE and was discovered frozen in a glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991.
    With Gregory Thomas of Long Beach Memorial, Finch was part of a team that previously showed Egyptian mummies had calcified patches on their arteries indicative of advanced atherosclerosis (from the Greek arthero, meaning “gruel” and scler, meaning “hard”).
    But ancient Egyptians tended to mummify only royalty or those who had privileged lives. The new study led by Thomas and Randall Thompson of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute examined mummies from four drastically different climates and diets — and from cultures that mummified regular people, including ancient Peruvians, Ancestral Puebloans, the Unangans of the Aleutian Islands and ancient Egyptians.
    “Our research shows that we are all at risk for atherosclerosis, the disease that causes heart attacks and strokes — all races, diets and lifestyles,” said Thomas, medical director of the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “Because of this we all need to be cautious of our diet, weight and exercise to minimize its impact. The data gathered about individuals from the pre-historic cultures of ancient Peru and the Native Americans living along the Colorado River and the Unangan of the Aleutian Islands is forcing us to think outside the box and look for other factors that may cause heart disease.”
    Overall, the researchers found probable or definite atherosclerosis in 34 percent of the mummies studied, with calcification of arteries more pronounced in the mummies that were older at time of death. Artherosclerosis was equally common in mummies identified as male or female.
    “We found that heart disease is a serial killer that has been stalking mankind for thousands of years,” Thompson said. “In the last century, atherosclerotic vascular disease has replaced infectious disease as the leading cause of death across the developed world. A common assumption is that the rise in levels of atherosclerosis is predominantly lifestyle-related, and that if modern humans could emulate pre-industrial or even pre-agricultural lifestyles, that atherosclerosis, or at least its clinical manifestations, would be avoided. Our findings seem to cast doubt on that assumption, and at the very least, we think they suggest that our understanding of the causes of atherosclerosis is incomplete, and that it might be somehow inherent to the process of human aging.”
    The international team of researchers will next seek to biopsy ancient mummies to get a better understanding of the role chronic infection, inflammation and genetics in promoting the prevalence of atherosclerosis.
    “Atherosclerosis starts very early in life. In the United States, most kids have little bumps on their arteries. Even stillbirths have little tiny nests of inflammatory cells. But environmental factors can accelerate this process,” Finch said, pointing to studies that show larger plaques in children exposed to household tobacco smoking or who are obese.

    1. I think this shows we’ve always needed special foods to get K2 and those haven’t always easy to come by, given their seasonal availability. In my book I do say we can take advantage of supplements to cheat death a little bit.
      The conclusion of many of the commentators seems to be “So, there! Heart disease isn’t just a modern disease after all, people have always succumbed to this (therefore there’s not much we can really do about it).” And that last point: “in the US most children have plaque buildup in arteries” is also implying that this is just unavoidable. Statistically most kids are also obese and as unhealthy as their parents! Yes, we’ve always been susceptible to calcium ending up in the wrong places, but not to the extent we are today. 100 years ago there wasn’t nearly the rate of heart disease we see today.

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