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  • Natasha Brice

Vitamin K - is so much more than an anti-ageing supplement.

I am a huge advocate of getting your nutrients from food. However one vital nutrient is often lacking in the Western Diet: Vitamin K. In fact, one study pointed to as much as 90% of the population being deficient.

Available clinical evidence indicates that a high vitamin K status can exert a protective role in the inflammatory and mineralisation processes associated with the onset and progression of age-related diseases. Vitamin K has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory and is involved as a protective super-micronutrient in ageing.

Both vitamin K1 and K2 has a protective effect on bone health, by increasing bone strength and reducing bone turnover, while decreasing the risk of fractures. In 2011, researchers revealed that women in their 40’s and 50’s who have extensive skin wrinkling are much more likely than their peers to have low bone mass. The researchers noted the relationship between wrinkles and bone density in every single bone tested. Epidemiological evidence of Japanese women, has shown they have fewer wrinkles and less skin sagging than women of the same age living in Europe and North America. Of course genetics will play a part however, these two groups of women vary greatly in diet and lifestyle. Japanese women frequently enjoy Natto, a food traditionally made from fermented soybeans. Natto has an abundance of Vitamin K2 (menaquinone), and blood samples of the women in a 2011 study revealed high circulating levels of this fat soluble vitamin.

Vitamin K may also play a part in diabetes as deficiency has shown to result in excessive insulin release and reduces clearance of glucose from the blood. A 2016 study was able to show an increased Vitamin K1 intake was associated with a decreased risk of developing diabetes by 51%.

Vitamin K has largely been ignored as a dietary supplement because it was believed adequate levels were present in the diet. This is true for vitamin K1 but vitamin K2 can be difficult to source from a western diet, especially if you don’t eat many animal products or fermented foods. This can be made worse by modern agriculture as well as refrigeration which of course has its strengths but also prevents the natural fermentation of food which converts vitamin K1 to vitamin K2 naturally. Your digestive bacteria can do the job of converting vitamin K1 to vitamin K2 but this is inefficient and modern-day diets have further reduced the efficiency of our gut to carry out this conversion.

Sources of K2 include Natto (contains 1,103 mcg of K2 per 100 gram portion which is far higher than any other food), gouda cheese, pastured egg yolks and butter.

A rich source of K1 is found in dark green leafy veg such as kale, spinach and swiss chard. #nutrition #healthylifesyle #supplements #healthandwellness #healthyliving #nutritionist #functionalmedicine #naturopathicmedicine #vitamins


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