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One Perfect Breakfast

Sauté two free-range chicken eggs, in 2 tablespoons of butter, over a very low flame. Top with an excellent quality sea salt, perhaps seasoned with seaweed flakes, slide out of the pan into a bowl, so you can scoop up all the yolk with a spoon. Enjoy.

After attending the Weston A Price Foundation’s annual Wise Traditions Conference (Atlanta, November 8-10, 2013), I have deepened my love affair with nature’s most generous sources of vitamins A and K2.  Not only do eggs and butter sit very well on my taste buds, I have added security that they are improving the health of my brain, bones, cardiovascular system, hormones, metabolism, and even my skin, according the words of Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue and Dr. Chris Masterjohn.

I shared with Dr. Kate my prediction that vitamin K2 will be the next rock-star vitamin now that vitamin D has had a good decade’s run at top billing. She fears that we are many years away from the day when K2 receives its proper due!

Why have we ignored K2 for so long? The obscure position of K2 in the conventional medical mind can likely be attributed to the foods that contain the vitamin: egg yolks, liver, and full fat dairy, particularly cheese and butter. Our mainstream fear of saturated fats has led us down the wrong road, partly because we have over-consumed carbohydrates of all sorts, and additionally because we have avoided a healthy variety of “good fats.” And by good fats, I will go beyond avocados and olive oil to include the saturated fats: coconut oil, organic lard, and yes, butter and eggs.

Butter, cheese and eggs provide life and health essential cholesterol in addition to vitamins A and K2. Lard is one of the few food sources of vitamin D, if your pigs were lucky enough to live on sunny pastures. Cholesterol is the key building block for all our hormones, and any physician can tell you that from thyroid to testosterone to estrogen, we have widespread deficiencies and imbalances, which I believe are at least partially due to our 40 year fat (and cholesterol) phobia. Well-intending physicians have waged a war on cholesterol, forgetting that long-ago medical school lecture where we learned that cholesterol is the basis for all our hormones, including vitamin D, crucial for bile salt production and healthy digestion, an essential component of the membrane of every cell in our body, and a crucial component of synapses, nerve-to-nerve communication hubs, in our brains.

Getting back to vitamin K2: we need it now more than ever, precisely because of our long love affair with vitamin D. As we’ve increased our levels of D, and some folks taking extra calcium with their D, we have increased the amount of calcium in our system. What to do with all the calcium? Our body has essentially three storage depots for excess calcium: hard structures (bones and teeth), soft tissues (tendons, blood vessels), and urine residue that accumulate as kidney stones. Vitamin K2 is the traffic cop that directs calcium to the hard structures where we want it, and away from the soft tissues where it can harm us. Vitamin K2 has other properties, such as helping our immune systems function efficiently to reduce our risk of cancer and lowering the risk of diabetes.

In addition to the fat sources of vitamin K2, fermented foods from beer to natto and fermented sauerkraut also contain K2. Vitamin K2 (also known as MK or menaquinone), has distinct differences from K1 (phylloquinone) in leafy green vegetables. K1 provides a gentle blood clotting tendency to prevent bleeding disorders. Many people on anti-coagulants are misguidedly steered away from vitamin K1. A better strategy is to consume abundant K1-rich foods, and even supplemental K1, and to properly dose the anti-coagulants as measured by laboratory testing.

There is currently no way of testing your vitamin K2 levels, but we know that most people have inadequate stores. So I start my day with butter and eggs, have sauerkraut with lunch, and consider a gluten-free beer in the evening. If none of these foods appeal to you, there is also a handy supplement made by Thorne Research which contains a sufficient amount of K2 as MK-4 that can be taken daily.

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