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Vitamin K Found to Play Key Role in Preventing Age-Related Diseases

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Unless you have been hiding under a nutritional news rock, you’ve heard about the importance of vitamin D — again and again and again. There’s a new vitamin that is about to get a 24/7 news feed; it’s K.

The results of a scientific review conducted by investigators at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute suggest that the current recommendations for vitamin K need to be increased to ensure optimal health. As of now, the recommendations are based on making sure that adequate blood coagulation occurs. The new findings suggest that vitamin K could also help in preventing bone fragility, arterial and kidney calcification, cardiovascular disease and possibly cancer.

The paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also makes an argument for the “triage” theory. This theory, first introduced in 2006 by researcher Dr. Bruce Ames, explains how age-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and dementia, could possibly be the consequences of evolutionary mechanisms designed to protect against vitamin and mineral shortages.

Specifically, how our body reacts to episodic vitamin and mineral shortages and our survival depends on getting the optimum intake of all vitamins and minerals, since doing so may have incredible implications for preventing disease. If this theory is correct, micronutrient deficiencies could trigger cancer, aging and neural decay. (McCann et al. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27930.)

The Anti-Aging Bottom Line:
K is lesser known than its other known alphabet counterparts. But this review suggests that its role in our health is more important than once thought. The best way to ensure optimal blood levels of vitamin K is to take a supplement made with K2, which research has shown to be the most effective supplemental form. You can get the two main forms of vitamin K from green leafy vegetables (vitamin K1, or phylloquinone) and meat and cheese (vitamin K2, or menaquinones).

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4 responses to “Vitamin K Found to Play Key Role in Preventing Age-Related Diseases”

  1. […] implications could be as revolutionary as the findings on vitamin D. But before we discuss the role of vitamin K2 in maintaining strong bones, I think it is important to review some facts regarding traditional approaches to bone […]

  2. Renatem says:

    How can I get enough Vitamin K when I take Coumadin?

    • CasieT says:

      Vitamin K is actually one of the vitamins that is produced by the human body. It is made in our intestinal tract with the help of the friendly bacteria. While those taking coumadin are discouraged from taking extra vitamin K or eating foods rich in vitamin K (such as spinach and broccoli), it is okay to ensure the health and natural production of what occurs in the body. It would be beneficial to reinforce the health of your intestinal flora with a probiotic formula so that your body’s natural production of vitamin K does not become compromised. Of course it is also important to maintain adequate stores of of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium. Hopefully your need to take coumadin is temporary and you can soon begin to reduce your dose while simultaneously introducing more natural therapies such as fish oil and vitamin E. I would discuss these concerns with your physician or naturopathic doctor and perhaps he or she can give you a plan to do so. In the meantime, a probitic and comprehensive multi vitamin (without vitamin K) should do the trick at keeping your nutrients within acceptable ranges.

  3. […] that this vitamin in its multiple forms can provide a powerful anti-inflammatory shield to protect against many lethal diseases of aging. Writing in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers show that vitamin K works with other fat-soluble […]