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Vitamin K update

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three Americans will develop diabetes by 2050, particularly type 2 diabetes. New research suggests vitamin K may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, perhaps by as much as 51%.

Vitamin K is found naturally in deep green foods like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, the less common Japanese fermented food natto is one of the best sources of this vitamin. A vitamin K deficiency is rare, according to The University of Maryland Medical center, because most people get enough from food and “in addition to being found in leafy green foods, the bacteria in your intestines can make vitamin K.”

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition printed a study from Spanish researchers who looked at data involving over 1,000 men and women around age 67. At the beginning of the study, no one had type 2 diabetes. At the conclusion of the study 131 people had developed it. Participants who developed type 2 diabetes had significantly less vitamin K at the beginning of the study. By deductive logic, researchers found that for every additional 100 mcg each participant had per day, his or her risk was decreased by 17%. Participants with the highest intake averaged a 51% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. “We conclude that dietary phylloquinone [a form of vitamin k] intake is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes,” they said.

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2013). Vitamin K. Retrieved June 26, 2013 from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-k

Ibarrola-Jurado, N., Salas-Salvadó, J., Martínez-González, M.A., Bulló, M. (2012) Dietary Phylloquinone Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Elderly Subjects at High Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.033498

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Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a potential cancer fighter. A  high dietary intake of K2 may help reduce the risk of cancer–particularly prostate and lung cancers. In a recent study from the Mayo Clinic that included about 600 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients and 1,000 healthy control subjects, those with the highest dietary intake of vitamin K1 were 45 percent less likely to have the disease.

Many subjects with the highest intake also used supplements that contained vitamin K.

Dark leafy green vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, olive oil, and avocados are all rich in vitamin K1, which is converted into K2 in the intestine. Dietary K2 is mostly found in liver and egg yolk, and fermented products such as yogurt and cheese. 

The lead author told Science Daily, “These findings add to a lot of other data that support a diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables in order to prevent many cancers as well as other diseases.”

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