Raw milk and Vitamin K2
This article offers some effective raw milk alternatives for integrating the essential teeth healing nutrient Vitamin K2 into your diet.
It doesn’t take very long when looking into nutritional teeth healing advice before you find out that raw milk is one of the most common and valuable recommendations for healing teeth and gums.
However, raw milk isn’t an option for people can’t, or choose not to, eat any dairy products and even many people who are willing to consume dairy have difficulty accessing raw milk because of strict laws banning its sale.
My first raw milk alternative suggestions are for people who are willing to eat dairy but can’t access raw milk reliably.
The rest of my raw milk alternatives are completely vegan, for people who can’t or won’t eat any dairy products, whether raw or not.
All good quality dairy milks contain teeth-nourishing calcium but only unpasturized, raw, milk contains Vitamin K2 (aka Activator X) because K2 is destroying in the pasteurization process. Vitamin K2’s presence in milk helps your body to utilize milk’s calcium content.
Vitamin K2 is found only in some animal products and a few fermented foods, all of which are rare in Western diets today.
One of it’s functions is to activate proteins that regulate calcium deposits in your body to build strong teeth and bones and prevent calcification in blood vessels and your kidneys. It also helps to prevent heart disease and osteoporosis.
Young bodies are much better than older bodies at generating Vitamin K2 in the gut, or converting it from Vitamin K1 plant foods. I think this is probably because young bones and teeth are growing so fast that they need more Vitamin K2, so growing bodies are programmed to prioritise the nutrient.
Broad spectrum antibiotics are believed to contribute to Vitamin K2 deficiency which I think explains why exposure to antibiotics in the womb or after birth is sometimes associated with severe decay in babies’ teeth.
Raw milk alternatives: dairy
Raw milk is very inaccessible, and even illegal, in many countries including most of the United States and Australia. For example in New Zealand, where I live raw milk can only be sold directly from the ‘farm gate’ so it’s expensive and complicated for urban dwellers to buy. Even in countries where raw milk is not legally restricted, it’s usually rare and expensive because it is a bespoke product with a short shelf life and low demand.
If you are willing to eat dairy but you don’t have access to raw milk, I recommend milk kefir.
Milk kefir mimics raw milk
Milk kefir is a tangy, fermented milk product similar to yogurt but with a unique SCOBY* that mimics the nutritional profile of raw milk, essentially reintroducing the Vitamin K2 lost in pastueurization.
*A SCOBY is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that causes fermentation
If you buy ready-made kefir, make sure that it’s organic, free from additives and unpasturized after fermentation.
Try making your own milk kefir using milk kefir grains (the SCOBY) with the best quality, full cream, grass fed, pasturized milk you can find, (preferably organic).
I don’t recommend using the powdered starter culture for milk kefir which contains fewer probiotics.
Milk kefir grains produce more Vitamin K2 and can be reused indefinitely, unlike the powder. You can find milk kefir grains through whole foods communities, buy it online, or in your local health food store, where hopefully you can buy good quality milk as well.
More Vitamin K2!
- If you have access to raw milk, you can turn it into milk kefir and boost the intrinsic level of Vitamin K2 even more.
- For meat eaters: other sources of Vitamin K2 are liver (especially cod liver oil) and other organ meats; and shellfish.
- Genuinely free-range, grass-fed, poultry produce egg yolks are high in Vitamin K2.
But what if you don’t eat any animal products?
Raw milk alternatives: plant-based
Teeth nourishing Vitamin K2 can be a challenge to integrate into a plant-based diet.
Vitamin K1 is found in dark leafy green vegetables such as parsley, collards and kale. Vitamin K1 is not known to support teeth health in the same way as Vitamin K2.
When we are young, our bodies easily converts Vitamin K1 into some of the Vitamin K2 we need but conversion becomes less efficient as we age. But our body’s demand for Vitamin K2 is much greater while we are still growing.
Growing bodies, and older bodies, on a plant-based diet need to eat additional sources of Vtiamin K2 found in some fermented foods.
Teeth healing natto
Natto has the highest levels of Vitamin K2 in a plant based food. Natto is a Japanese fermented vegetable that has a very strong flavor which challenges many Western palates. Some people describe it as a combination of marmite and old socks, while other people compare it to Camembert or Brie cheese. It should be eaten in small quantities and tastes best when seasoned, for example with salt, sesame oil, soy sauce or mustard.
Many Vitamin K2 supplements (aff) are made from natto so if you can’t access natto (or can’t stand the flavor) then supplements are a good idea.
Coconut Milk Kefir for teeth
Many people find a more palatable source of plant based Vitamin K2 is coconut milk kefir. The coconut milk should be unpasturized and of high quality, the SCOBY must be milk kefir grains.
Coconut milk kefir doesn’t have as much Vitamin K2 as dairy milk kefir, but it’s the second best plant-based source after natto. Every little bit will help to nourish your teeth towards better health.
Other plant based sources of Vitamin K2
There are small proportions of Vitamin K2 in other kinds of fermented foods like miso, kimchi and sauerkraut. I recommend eating fermented foods every day.
There is a tiny amount of Vitamin K2 in unpasturized kombucha. However, the phosphorus in kombucha bubbles binds to the calcium in your teeth and weakens the enamel. It’s a poor tradeoff for the small quantity of K2 it contains. (All bubbly drinks contain phosphorus and can damage teeth in this way).
Hello! I'm Meliors Simms, the Holistic Tooth Fairy.
As a natural oral health coach I have worked with hundreds of clients worldwide to avoid unnecessary dental procedures and have better experiences with the necessary ones. (Find out about my coaching services here).
After a diverse career (from research to counselling to arts) and a lifetime of terrible teeth, I stumbled on an Alt Oral approach which prevented what would have been my 7th root canal.
That inspired years of independent research and experimentation, eventually resulting in my uniquely holistic approach to oral health.
My new book The Secret Lives of Teeth is a comprehensive guide to healing teeth and gums with metaphysical perspective. Read a sample here for free.