Fat-soluble vitamins, that is. Oftentimes we blame disease on genetics. As it turns out, nutrition is more influential. Vitamins are classified as water soluble and fat soluble. Vitamin C is an example of water-soluble vitamins and we all know that it is crucial for our immune system.
There are four fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K. Vitamin D is more of a photochemically produced pro-hormone that is similar to growth hormone and other naturally produced steroids. Most of us know that vitamin D is paramount for bone health. In the mouth it plays a vital role in keeping teeth, and the bone that surrounds them, strong and healthy. It also is a major contributor to bone forming cells, blood cells and immune cells. But this is only the beginning. Vitamin D is vital for cell growth, digestion, metabolism, neurological function and immune health. Studies have shown that it helps prevent colon cancer, Alzheimer’s, celiac disease, colitis and multiple sclerosis.
Calcium is a mineral that strengthens bones and teeth but in the absence of vitamin D, it never makes it to those structures. Well, it’s not that simple. There is one more missing link, another fat-soluble vitamin- K2. Vitamin K1 is imperative for coagulation. When it comes to wound healing and repair, we need vitamin K1 to create a blood clot or a scab that creates the scaffolding for new tissue; gums, bone, skin, connective tissue etc. K2 activates the proteins that carry calcium so that the body can modulate where it should go. If the calcium goes to the wrong organ, it will cause disease. Calcium in the heart would lead to blockage of vessels (heart attack), calcium in the brain can lead to stroke, calcium in the kidneys would lead to kidney stones.
Vitamin A is another missing piece from this oral health puzzle. It plays an integral role in tooth, bone and immune health. It activates osteoclasts which are bone cells that break down old bone and start the bone remodeling process. Vitamins A and D instruct our cells to produce proteins like osteocalcin which help build bone and teeth. They do so by taking calcium to the right target. They need vitamin K2, however, in order to be activated.
Think of vitamin D as the cement mixer carrying calcium. Vitamin A is the construction workers with their tools. Osteocalcin is like the foreman who performs quality control ensuring that the job gets done right. Vitamin K2 turns the cement mixer on and pours the calcium in the construction site.
As you can see it’s not just oral health, it’s not just digestive health, it’s not just immune health. Everything is connected and needs to be working in unison for optimum overall health. If you take a few supplements but your GI system is not working properly, you will not be able to absorb the supplements and deliver them to your bones, teeth or immune system. If you are having dental or periodontal treatment, fat-soluble vitamins will ensure that you will maximize the success of the treatment. If you want to maintain or optimize your oral health, be proactive and supplement your nutrition with these vitamins. Fish oil is rich in these vitamins as are grass fed meats, organ meats, pasture raised eggs, shellfish, fermented foods, and certain cheeses.
By taking the right supplements, getting frequent dental exams and maintaining proper oral hygiene you will enhance your oral and overall health and prevent problems and diseases in the mouth and the rest of your body. To your continued and optimizing health!!!
Jimmy Kilimitzoglou, DDS, FACD,
FPFA, DABOI, MAGD, FAAID, FICOI
ESI Healthy Dentistry
42 Terry Road, Smithtown, NY 11787
Tel (631) 979 7991 / Fax (631) 979 7992
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