The basics of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a group of fat soluble vitamins: K1, K2, and K3. K3 is synthetic and I personally advise against the use of synthetic vitamins whenever possible.

K1 and K2: K1 (phylloquinone) is made by plants, so it is only available through plant sources like grass, nettles, kale, etc and is converted to K2 through a cow’s (and various other animals) stomachs, and then more bioavailable and absorbable form for us humans. We have a limit on the amount of K1 we can use and absorb, since we are not equipped with the same digestive systems as those animals so while it IS useful for our mineral content and a good form to use for clotting factor, at a certain point that levels off, and it may help support the body and the teeth/bones, but the different forms of K have different biochemical pathways, so you cannot expect them to have the same functions. Neither should not be ignored or minimized, they are both essential.

K2 (menaquinone) has 2 forms, MK4 and MK7. MK4 is produced by animals from K1, so you can find it in the highest levels in dairy products of grass fed cows (particularly the “summer milk”) and also things like goose liver in the highest concentrations. Other animal livers and good quality egg yolks also have K2. MK7 is synthesized by bacteria, found primarily in natto (fermented soybeans) which is available, though perhaps not everywhere, and the ingredients should be monitored since often preservatives and other unwanted ingredients can be found in packaged natto.
It is somewhat unclear at this point whether MK7 is a satisfactory substitute for MK4.

These are essential nutrients, however, they do not complete their work as effectively in the absence of the appropriate ratio of naturally occurring Vitamins A and D, which is somewhere between 4 and 8 but hard to pinpoint exactly. It’s also hard to know exactly what amounts of A and D are in each batch of cod liver oil, for a variety of reasons, but we do know that the naturally occurring vitamins therein are in the proper ratio and do not cause toxicity.

Cod liver oil

In a nutshell, because this is lengthy: take 1-2tsp fermented cod liver oil daily, with an equal amount of grass fed ghee. If you cant take it straight, encapsulate it yourself – carefully.

Weston Price, dentist turned ethnographer, went around the world in the early 1900s searching for answers about dentition.

Some groups of people had perfect dentition even without brushing their teeth, and some had terribly jagged teeth with malformed facial structures and rotting teeth to boot. The primary difference was diet: those maintaining their culture’s traditional diet were more likely to have perfect dentition, and those who had adopted the westernized diet (the inclusion of refined flour and refined sugar being important differences from the traditional diet) had the rotten and malformed dentition.

He even found a few groups experiencing westernization while he was present, and a few families where one sibling maintained the traditional diet and another adopted the western diet. These family comparisons illustrated the point further: refined sugar and flour are implicated in the deviation from perfect dentition.

The traditional diets all had some things in common, namely, sources of Vitamins A, D, and K2 were revered. At the time, Price didn’t know what K2 was, though he knew it was from grass fed milk primarily. He called it “Activator X.”

Studies were conducted comparing the saliva of traditional dieters and modern dieters, and the effects of the two salivas on the calcium and phosphorus in ground up teeth. More calcium and phosphorus were brought IN to the teeth of the traditional dieter’s saliva, while the modern saliva leached calcium and phosphorus OUT of the teeth.

Benefits of fermented cod liver oil ad grass fed ghee are not limited to dental health, though the dental benefits can be astounding: soft dark cavities have been hardened and color normalized with high (2 – 3 tsp) daily doses of fermented cod liver oil and grass fed ghee. Children’s dental demineralization can be halted if caught soon enough.

Because the vitamins are in their natural state and proper ratio, they are not toxic.

It is imperative to get cod liver oil that has NOT been refined or deodorizer, as these have al had the vitamins stripped and synthetic vitamins have been added. Synthetic vitamins carry a risk of toxicity in high doses. Green Pasture makes the fermented cod liver oil, and Rosita Real Foods makes an extra virgin cod liver oil which should also be sufficient. Grassfed ghee is more available now than ever, but beware of poor quality ghee.

Project Springtime Part 1: Making a home for baby chicks. 

I decided to make my cross-town move a little more complicated by adding baby chicks to it. I’m now the proud owner of a black Australorp, a buff Orpington, and an Ameracauna.  They’re nearly a month old and have been perching on the side and leaving the brooder on occasion. Luckily they have very effective alarm peeps and we have had no casualties. 

They’re sturdy birds; the dog, the baby, and the noises of the move were tolerated well from the start. 

I’m feeding them an organic, unmedicated chick feed with grit and occasional scrambled egg treats. I know, feeding them eggs is weird. They go bananas for them and show their true chickeny silliness when it is time for treats. 

So far all that has been necessary is to make the brooder, feed and water them. The brooder consists of 1 large plastic tub with high sides (2 feet) around 2.5-3 feet long, and a special red heat lamp with 2 metal arches around the bulb for protection. I filled the bottom with a layer of pine shavings, and bought both a plastic feeder and waterer, to which I attach glass mason jars. I had a flat thermometer stuck on the inner wall of the brooder for the first couple of weeks to monitor the temperature more closely and keep one corner of the brooder between 85 and 90 degrees F. 

My first brood box was too small. I upgraded to a larger box with higher sides a little over a week ago, and the birds are happier. I also added 2 bricks to elevate the feeder and waterer, and a couple of sticks in case they liked standing on them. They don’t seem to care. They do like perching on the side and leaving bird droppings outside the box. In the above image you can see the old and new brooders, with my ameracauna perched on the side of the new blue one. I have no need for the thermometer any longer, but I did have a burn/melt spot after a couple of days when the bulb was too close to the plastic. It smelled gross (plasticky) when I walked out there, which tipped me off. 

The Australorp seems to be experiencing the pecking order. Her neck feathers are sparse as though she is being picked on. 

Next up for the chickies is a coop. 

Another post about my baby getting over a cold

I know I just posted about how this homeopathic (some of you probably refer to these as “sugar pills”) made a big difference in my baby’s well being. 

That isn’t all that is helping her. I’m also REALLY fond of my Essential Oil diffuser. I’ve used many diffusers, and I like this one the best because the output is higher and it lasts all night. Typically I want the oils diffused during the night, and if it peters out after a couple hours that’s just not good enough. I do sometimes think the oils have all been diffused so I add more, but it’s hard to tell when I’m in the same room all night. I bet if I came in after being outside I would have a different experience. 

Which oils am I diffusing? I’m glad you asked. Mostly eucalyptus oil. I do sometimes add lavender but it hasn’t helped nearly as much as the eucalyptus. 

The first cold she had (this is only the third) lavender worked well. I also didn’t want to try much else. The last 2 have required eucalyptus for opening her sinuses. 

I use about 15-20 shakes of the oil bottle into about 400-500 mL of  water. I do not use the light function. 
The other day when she was more stuffed up I did have to wave the open bottle in front of her. But that gets tricky as she wants to grab everything. No EO on baby hands, too easy to get it in baby mouths or baby eyes. That would be bad. 

The January slump and habits

January is a tough month. People often think they’ve overindulged in the holiday season and they reflexively tighten up during January to compensate. Gyms see a lot of newcomers. Journals are started. Many people cut out alcohol and sweets. 

By the end of the year, most people have gone back to their old habits. 

Sticking to a new habit is a science:

  • Make it simple: start with 30 seconds per day. 
  • Attach it to an “anchor” if possible – something you already do habitually 
  • Review new habit completion (or non-completion) at end of day and end of week, for 4 weeks. 

If it’s a really tight elimination, like kicking a sugar addiction, go slow. Cut your current intake by half, and stay there for a week or two. Then cut by half again, and keep going til you can easily eliminate it. 

If you find yourself feeling low in January, it may be due to the lack of sunshine, so increase your vitamin D! The best way to do this is with food supplementation. I use Green Pasture Fermented cod liver oil (ew, I know, it doesn’t taste good but it is a miraculous food). And I ALWAYS take grass fed butter oil with it. 

Magnesium

Most people need to be supplementing with magnesium. Usually around 300mg per day is sufficient for women, and around 400mg per day for men. Children 1-3 years old need about 80mg/day, 4-8 years old 130mg/day, and 9-13 years old 240 mg/day. Children 14-18 need slightly higher amounts than adults, as do pregnant women. 

Check multivitamins for total magnesium.

Eat more green leafy veggies, nuts, beans, and peas for food sources of magnesium.

Have a simple magnesium supplement on hand. Many are powdered and mix into water easily. 

When would you want to take magnesium?

  • Do you sleep well? Magnesium can help relax smooth muscle, helping you ease into sleep. It often eliminates restless leg syndrome too.
  • Is your blood pressure elevated? Magnesium can help lower blood pressure!
  • Do you get cramps? Painful leg and foot cramps can often be relieved immediately by a dose of magnesium. Good for the midnight Charley-horse.
  • Do you eat a lot of green leafy veggies, beans, peas, and nuts? If not, you probably could use some supplementation. 

A little bit about moxa.

Moxa is an integral part of Chinese Medicine. The Chinese characters for acupuncture, 针灸 (zhēn jiǔ), literally translate to “needles and moxa.” One comes with the other.

But what is moxa?

Moxa is short for “moxibustion,” and it is the burning of an herb (artemisia vulgaris, mugwort) close to the skin. It comes in many forms: cigar style sticks, incense style sticks, and loose fluffy raw herb are some of the most popular.

Pictured above is high quality golden loose moxa. It is fluffy and soft, and it is the only type used for a Japanese style called direct moxa. In direct moxa, the selected point is given a dab of okyu ointment, a special purple herbal ointment to protect the skin. A tiny piece of rolled gold moxa is placed atop the ointment. As seen in the photo, these tiny pieces are smaller than a grain of rice. The tiny bit of moxa is lit using a very thin stick of incense. Another bit is placed and lit, and that is repeated the appropriate number of times for the specific acupuncture point being treated.

Why use moxa?

Moxa, like needles, is used in order to effect change. Often the change is pain relief, but moxa can also be used to strengthen the immune system, warm and balance the internal organs, resolve old conditions, reduce inflammation, and heal acute sprains.

Moxa and acupuncture needles each stimulate different areas of the brain. As a result, using moxa with acupuncture can be an efficient way to resolve issues. Certain points were traditionally deemed “moxa points” and using moxa on these points is especially effective.img_4362