Vitamin K – Not Enough Leads to Faster Ageing

Not Enough Vitamin K – Leads to Faster Ageing

greens vit K.jpg

So says an in-depth analysis of health data over a 39 year period, from the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, California. This is mainly because the recommended levels of Vitamin K intake are set too low, says the lead author, Joyce McCann.

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood-clotting and is a fat-soluble substance that is stored in the fat tissue of the human body and is found in green vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, swiss chard, parsley  and spinach - as well as in kiwi fruit and avocados (Vitamin K1). Vitamin K2 is found in dairy products, eggs, meat and natto.

The  recommended daily intake of Vitamin K in the US is 120 micrograms a day for a 25 year old man: 90 micrograms a day for an adult woman; 10 - 20 micrograms a day for infants; 15-100 micrograms a day for children and adolescents.

In 2002 it was found that to get a real benefit from Vitamin K, you might need to take 8 times this amount. There are no known toxicity levels for natural Vitamin K (K1 and K2) - although there are for the synthetic versions (K3, K4 and K5).

McCann and colleagues base their conclusions on 'triage theory', which posits that when any of the 40, or so, essential vitamins, fatty acids, amino acids and minerals that we need to live a healthy life - including Vitamin K, is in short supply some of the bodily functions they initiate have to be forgone - as the vitamin is needed for urgent - short-term survival - functions.

In the case of Vitamin K, when it is in short supply - our bodies are far more susceptible to diseases related to ageing.

For the 16 known Vitamin K-dependent (VKD) proteins, the researchers evaluated 11 of them in mice. They found that - in a case of shortage - the liver gets the priority for Vitamin K. This causes problems in other parts of the body, particularly in the area of fragile bones and hardening of the arteries.




Vitamin K, an example of triage theory: Is micronutrient inadequacy linked to diseases of aging? - Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct 2009: by Joyce C McCann, Bruce N Ames

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct 2009. McCann JC, Ames BN. Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, California, USA.

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