In the early part of the 20th Century, Dr Weston Price observed the villagers of the Loetschental Valley In Switzerland. He noted that their cattle grazed on rich pastures which provided a feast of nutritious grasses. This resulted in delicious, creamy, high-quality milk which, in turn, produced the cheese that would feed the villagers through the winter.
Goat’s and cow’s milk, cream and cheese formed a significant part of each family’s diet, and Dr Weston Price recognised that there was something in this milk from pasture-fed cows and goats that was particularly health-imparting. Weston Price didn’t know what it was and so he called it “Activator X”.
Health, happiness and vitality shone out of the people of this simple community – not just strong, healthy bodies, but ‘minds and hearts capable of a higher form of life‘.
It would take many years for science to begin to catch up with what Weston Price recognised. In 1997 ‘Activator X’ was classified as vitamin K2. During those years, however, the deficiency of vitamin K2 would reach epidemic proportions.
This vitamin is most richly concentrated in milk fat from cows and goats grazing on rapidly growing pasture. When animals grazed on pasture, vitamin K2 was abundant in our food supply. The most common dietary staples like butter, eggs, cheese, and meat, even when eaten in relatively small amounts, easily met our vitamin K2 needs.
However, when we removed animals from pasture we inadvertently removed vitamin K2 from our diet. Now we consume large quantities of the mass-produced versions of these foods, but we are starving for the nutrients they no longer contain
To make matters worse, skimmed milk contains plenty of calcium – but K2 is lost when the cream is skimmed off. Butter is an excellent source of vitamin K2 (provided it’s from cows that have grazed on green pasture). These days, however, butter is often substituted for so-called healthy margarine – and milk for lacto-free substitutes – devoid of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 deficiency, therefore, is widespread.
There for a purpose
Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluable vitamin found in the cream of the milk. It’s there for a purpose. This vitamin directs the calcium from the milk to where it’s needed in the body. Without vitamin K2 calcium cannot be deposited in the bones and teeth, resulting in osteoporosis and dental caries.
Instead, this unregulated calcium builds up in the soft tissue and organs of the body – including the brain and central nervous system – with devastating consequences upon both physical and mental/emotional health – when the deficiency is severe or prologued.
Also, calcium supplements, without vitamin K2, contribute to the build-up of unregulated calcium. The high-dose calcium supplements that are prescribed for the prevention of osteoporosis are particularly damaging. To make matters even worse, vitamin D supplements, without K2, increase the amount of calcium absorbed. The most clearly visible example of vitamin K deficiency is calcification of the salivary glands:-
The above salivary duct stone is a calcified structure clearly present in the salivary gland or duct. It’s interesting to note that, when there is no deficiency, saliva contains the highest amount of vitamin K2 in the body. And this high vitamin K content also alters the bacterial composition of the saliva and prevents the build-up of plaque on the teeth – so damaging to gum health.
Calcium deposits in the joints are called arthritis; in the blood vessels it is hardening of the arteries and varicose veins; in the heart it is heart disease, and in the brain it is senility. Calcification can manifest as osteoporosis, dental problems, kidney stones, bone spurs, wrinkled skin, cataracts, cancer and many other health problems.
Vitamin K deficiency is implicated in insomnia, autoimmunity, hypoglycaemia, diabetes, insulin-resistance, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more.
Vitamin K is needed for the health of the heart, the thyroid, the pituitary, the lymph nodes and the pancreas. In fact, second only to the saliva, the pancreas has the highest need of vitamin K2.
The consequences of a calcified pineal gland are suppressed serotonin (the neurotransmitter associated with happiness) and suppressed melatonin (responsible for sleep regulation, as well as many other functions). As the pineal gland hardens, less melatonin is produced and regulation of the wake-sleep cycle gets disturbed. This can result in chronic insomnia. Melatonin has the ability to enter every single cell in your body and protect your DNA.
Calcification of the arteries
If calcium accumulates in the cell, it disrupts cell function leading to angina, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, asthma, headaches and even heart attacks. Research shows that vitamin K2 is the strongest inhibitor of tissue calcification that we know of.
Mitochondria produce the energy our cells and organs need. This is vitally important for the heart because heart muscle cells have a never-ending need for energy. Mitochondria are also important for proper neurotransmission and are highly concentrated in cells of the brain and central nervous system.
When the mitochondrion (the powerhouse of the cell) becomes calcified, every function of the body can be inhibited. This is the beginning of ageing. It all starts in the cell. First the cells age. This leads to organ ageing. And after the organs age, the individual ages.
Severe or long-term vitamin K2 deficiency can lead to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Up to 30% of the energy of cells is used to pump calcium out of the cells
Glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the body. It is essential for learning and for both short-term and long-term memory. Vitamin K acts as a cofactor in converting glutamate into the calming neurotransmitter, GABA.
When vitamin K is low or insufficient, however, this conversion is impaired, and glutamate can build up to toxic levels. The combination of excessive glutamate and too much unregulated calcium is a major problem.
Normally, calcium, in tandem with the neurotransmitter glutamate, is essential to the functioning of the excitatory cells of the nervous system. Once glutamate opens the neuronal cell’s calcium channel, calcium pours into the channel and triggers the neuron to fire.
The concentration of glutamate within the nervous system is normally carefully regulated by the nervous system itself, because excess glutamate will keep the calcium channels open, allowing calcium to continue to enter, and excite, the neurons.
When there is a deficiency of vitamin K, however, the build-up of unconverted glutamate and unregulated calcium can trigger the incessant neuronal firing and resultant cell death that are a hallmark of excess glutamate in the nervous system.
This can be a cause of hyperactivity
and ‘racing brain’ in children and adults
This excitotoxicity also triggers the release of inflammatory mediators, which leads to more influx of calcium. It becomes a vicious cycle that results in calcification, neural inflammation and cell death. When this inflammation becomes systemic throughout the body, various autoimmune conditions can be the result.
In addition, the excess glutamate also depletes glutathione. Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in the body and is critical for a strong immune system. Glutathione helps to protect neurons from damage and glutatione depletion consequently leads to the death of neurons. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful weapon in the fight against systemic inflammation and autoimmune conditions.
We put age-related conditions down to simply getting older – not realising that vitamin K is known as the anti-aging vitamin. Vitamin K can prevent age-related changes in the brain – for example the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s interesting to note that Alzheimer’s patients have been observed to have a higher degree of pineal gland calcification than patients with other types of dementia.
Autism and personality disorders
Some of the most exciting research into the role of vitamin K2 is being done in the context of autism and personality disorders. Calcification of the pineal gland is of particular interest here. The pineal gland connects the endocrine system with the nervous system in that it converts nerve signals from the sympathetic system of the peripheral nervous system into hormone signals.
How you think and feel every day depends on the pineal gland. When the pineal gland is healthy and balanced we will experience high mental ability where we can separate between reality, conscious mind and emotion. We will have overall good health, clear thinking, and focus. A healthy pineal gland encourages intuition and empathy for others – which allows us to build healthy relationships.
Our emotional maturity develops through stages in childhood as we learn to define ourselves in relation to individuals and society around us. When a child is born they are totally self-oriented. Gradually the child learns that there are other people around them, and they develop an awareness that other people exist in their own right as separate beings.
With more emotional development, they are able to sympathise with others if they have had a similar experience. Even if an individual acts against them, they may be able to grasp why, and understand that the other person has the right to do what they have done.
Fully emotionally-developed people are able to experience empathy. They feel for other people even when they have not had the experience for themselves. They understand people, they understand difference. They are able to “walk a mile in my shoes”. They naturally care about people, and if they can, they care for others. They are compassionate.
Dr Weston Price noted that health, happiness and vitality shone out of the people of that simple community – not just strong, healthy bodies, but ‘minds and hearts capable of a higher form of life‘.
When the pineal gland becomes calcified, however, and cannot function optimally, this process of emotional development is impaired, and personality disorders can ensue. Such people lack innate sympathy or empathy, yet they are often very highly intelligent, which makes them perfect to run corporations. Such corporate bosses look after their staff while the staff serve their perceived needs, but summarily dismiss them when they no longer serve their perceived needs.
In relationships such people love you for how you make them feel, and when you are no longer making them feel good, they dislike you. Many romantic relationships, when they end, go from love to hate instantly. Most move on, still hating the past partner and looking for a new partner to make them feel good.
Others, less emotionally-impaired, are able to perceive that their “significant other” exists in their own right, with their own rights, wishes and desires. However, they still tend to only approve of – and relate to – people who are very similar. They are unable to experience sympathy without having it pointed out. You have to keep actively soliciting the sympathy by consistently pointing out their own experience and how it is similar to yours.
This intractable self-focus and lack of empathy is a common feature of personality disorders and the autistic spectrum. We’re familiar with the term “over-emotional”. But these people are under-emotional (even if they are over-excitable). They don’t feel love, sympathy, empathy, compassion. It’s not their fault! They can’t help it! They’re often not even aware that they ought to feel these emotions!
Calcification is the biggest problem for the pineal gland
The greater the calcification of the pineal gland, the less capacity for imagination, which is behind a lot of our creativity and problem-solving ability, and the key ingredient in our capacity for sympathy and empathy.
Here again this lack of capacity for imagination and creativity is a common feature of personality disorders and the autistic spectrum. Such people can often be brilliant at accumulating facts but are only happy when they are informing others. They talk at you but seem unable to listen to you. They are convinced that they are right and are unable to deviate from their ‘tramline thinking’. They are often totally unaware of the impact of their unkind words and inappropriate behaviour upon others. They have a tendency to blame others – not recognising their own part in the damaging of relationships.
If a child is unable to convert glutamate and regulate calcium due to a Vitamin K deficiency, that child may display signs of glutamate toxicity and uncontrolled neuronal firing that can manifest as the cluster of behavioural disorders called autism. As they grow they will increasingly display the above personality traits. Autism is a multifaceted condition. There is no single ‘magic bullet’ The good news, however, is that, when all the underlying nutritional conditions are put right, significant improvements are seen!
Quality and duration of sleep
As the producer of the hormone melatonin, the quality and duration of your sleep relies on how well the pineal gland produces this hormone. This tiny organ regulates your daily and seasonal circadian rhythms, the sleep-wake patterns that determine your hormone levels, stress levels, and physical performance. Sleepless nights are all-too-familiar to parents of hyperactive or autistic babies and children!
Most people these days will have some degree of vitamin K2 deficiency. But nobody will have all of the conditions detailed on this web page. Your diet, your gut health, your individual metabolism and other deficiencies and toxins will all play a part in how you are affected. The good news is that, even in these days of intensive farming, it’s still possible to buy vitamin K2-rich butter from pasture-fed cows:-
Dr Mark Hyman on the benefits to the brain of a high fat diet
Read this excellent book in order to understand how our modern low-fat diet, far from preventing heart disease, is actually causing it – along with a whole host of health problems including osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, cancer . . . and even wrinkles!
Still concerned about butter and heart health?
Click here to read or download an article about the great Butter revival
Dear God, Weston Price was right to believe that mental and physical degeneration was never your plan for mankind, but rather that you provided, in natural foods, all that is necessary for vibrant health. Give us wisdom, we pray, to understand more about the roots of our health problems and how we can put them right.
Health information is not a substitute for good diagnosis,
and a doctor should be consulted when illness is present