Vitamin K and Bone Health

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last updated: July 2006

vitamin k bone health osteoporosisStudy suggested Vitamin K may reduce bone fracture incidence among elderly

Researchers from the University of York in England investigated data from seven trials on the role of Vitamin K supplements in prevention of bone fractures among the elderly. The researchers found that Vitamin K supplements resulted in a 77 percent reduction in incidence of hip fractures, a 60 percent reduction in vertebral fractures and an 81 percent reduction in all non-vertebral fractures. The results of this meta-analysis study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in June 2006.

Editor's Note - Too early to suggest routine supplementation of Vitamin K

Osteoporosis is most often associated with inadequate calcium intake. A insufficiency of vitamin D also contributes to osteoporosis by reducing calcium absorption. Other nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, and Vitamin K have been suggested to play an integral role in maintaining bone health. The exact mechanism of Vitamin K's role in bone mineralization is unclear. Some studies suggested that vitamin K indirectly regulates the calcium-binding capacity of osteocalcin, a protein needed to bind calcium to the bone matrix. Despite the promising results of this study, it is too early to recommended taking a daily Vitamin K supplements as a way to boost overall bone health because there are still many unknowns concerning how synthetic Vitamin K supplements function in our body. However, a diet that includes natural forms of Vitamin K is encouraged in people at high risk of bone fractures.

The recommended intake of Vitamin K is 120 micrograms a day for men and 90 mcg for women.

Where you can find Vitamin K: Vitamin K is found in cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other green leafy vegetables. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin K. Calcium supplements may be added with Vitamin K as well.

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. Therefore, consult with your doctor before starting a Vitamin K supplement regime, especially if you are taking warfarin (a blood thinner).

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