Vitamin K Cuts Elderly Diabetes Risk 50 Percent
Vitamin K Cuts Elderly Diabetes Risk 50 Percent – New cases of diabetes continue to increase exponentially every five to ten years. The toll this disease takes on millions of unsuspecting children and adults places the illness in a class by itself as it is the primary cause of death from diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Excess glucose in circulation slowly damages virtually every cell and molecular structure in our body as it makes critical proteins, enzymes and fats dysfunctional and significantly increases the risk of arterial plaque development.
Fortunately, there are a handful of natural compounds that help negate the deadly effects of excess sugar. Vitamin K is one such agent, as it is shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes in an elderly cohort by more than 50 percent. Researchers publishing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have determined that individuals with the highest circulating levels of vitamin K1 have a total diabetes risk reduction of 51 percent as compared to those with the lowest levels.
Vitamin K promotes the removal of calcium from the blood to prevent heart disease and diabetes
A team of Spanish scientists noted “The results of this study show that dietary phylloquinone intake is associated with reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, which extends the potential roles of vitamin K in human health.” The researchers noted that vitamin K deficiencies are prevalent in western diets due to a lack of leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and broccoli that provide vitamin K1, the most common isomer of the vitamin. Vitamin K2 (from fermented foods and natto) is much less common in the typical western diet and can be synthesized in the gut by microflora.
Researchers reviewed data on 1,069 men and women with an average age of 67 that were part of the Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet trial in Spain. None of the participants had diabetes at the start of the study. 131 had developed the disease after five and a half years.
The team determined that those with the highest levels of vitamin K1 at the study’s outset experienced the lowest risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
The team concluded “An increase in the amount of phylloquinone intake during the follow-up was associated with a 51 percent lower risk of diabetes in elderly subjects at high cardiovascular risk after a median follow-up of 5.5 years” Though still to be determined, the researchers postulated that the risk reduction was due in large part to the metabolism of osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone mineralization and moving calcium from the blood into the bone. Nutrition experts recommend supplementing with a full spectrum form of vitamin K (1000 to 2200 mcg per day) to prevent diabetes and heart disease as we age.
Wow! Impressive results from the Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet trial. Notice that the key foods are leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and broccoli that provide vitamin K1.
A popular misconception is that vitamins K1 and K2 are simply different forms of the same vitamin – with the same physiological functions. New evidence, however, has confirmed that vitamin K2′s role in the body extends far beyond blood clotting to include protecting us from heart disease, ensuring healthy skin, forming strong bones, promoting brain function, supporting growth and development and helping to prevent cancer – to name a few. In fact, vitamin K2 has so many functions not associated with vitamin K1 that many researchers insist that K1 and K2 are best seen as two different vitamins entirely.
While K1 is preferentially used by the liver to activate blood clotting proteins, K2, also known as menaquinone, is preferentially used by other tissues to deposit calcium in appropriate locations, such as in the bones and teeth, and prevent it from depositing in locations where it does not belong, such as the soft tissues.
Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and natto (a soy dish popular in Japan), contain substantial amounts of vitamin K2. Natto contains the highest concentration of K2 of any food measured. K2 can be found in meats such as chicken and grass-fed beef, and particularly in the livers, organ meats and fats of these animals. Previously it was thought that the human digestive tract contained bacteria that synthesized K2 from the K1 present in the body, however most current research indicates that the K2 generated in this manner does not readily absorb into the body.
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