There is emerging evidence that vitamin K may play a protective role in fighting age-related bone loss that is mediated through the vitamin K-dependent gamma-carboxylation of certain proteins in bone, including osteocalcin.
The primary dietary form of vitamin K is phylloquinone vitamin K1, which is concentrated in green vegetables and certain plant oils.
According to one study, women with low dietary intakes of vitamin K were more likely to have decreased bone density. These results are similar to those of other studies that found an increased risk of hip fracture among persons with low dietary levels of vitamin K.
This emerging evidence provides further support to the hypothesis that dietary vitamin K may improve the strength of your bones if added to your diet.
Interestingly though, dietary vitamin K intake was not associated with bone density improvement in men, which means that there may be a sex-specific effect of vitamin K on bone.
Vitamin K is one of the most important nutritional interventions for improving bone density. It serves as the biological "glue" that helps plug the calcium into the bone matrix. While I don't recommend many vitamin supplements, vitamin K is one supplement I do urge you to consider, as it is lacking in many people's diets -- as such, I now offer you vitamin K at a very reasonable price in my "Recommended Products" section.
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Vitamin K2 works primarily outside of the liver in the bone and blood vessels.
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Osteoporosis is a real problem as it affects more than 25 million Americans--mostly postmenopausal women. Additionally, close to 1.2 million bone fractures in the United States each year are related to osteoporosis.
Optimum bone density is a dynamic balance between bone removal and the deposit of new tissue. Bone removal, or resorption, is facilitated by cells called osteoclasts. These cells replace old bone by releasing acids and enzymes to remove minerals and collagen. Once the osteoclasts have done their job, protein-secreting cells called osteoblasts deposit new tissue.
Approximately 20 percent of bone tissue in the body is replaced each year by this process on a cyclical basis throughout the skeleton. The entire remodeling process of bone tissue occurs over four to eight months, but can range from three months to two years.
Osteocalcin is a protein specifically produced by the osteoblasts, and is utilized within the bone as an integral part of the process of its formation. However, osteocalcin must be carboxylated before it can be effective in bone formation.
Vitamin K functions as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes the carboxylation of osteocalcin.
For early prevention or inhibition of postmenopausal and age-related bone loss, nutritional interventions should be the first choice as they are the least toxic and least expensive option. While other nutrients are important for maintaining high bone densities, increasing evidence indicates a significant role for vitamin K in bone metabolism and osteoporosis.
For example, one study of 72 osteoporotic women compared Vitamin K to a first-generation biphosphonate drug called Didronel. After two years there was no difference found in the bone fracture rates of women using vitamin K and those using the biphosphonate drug.
Biphosphonates, a family of non-hormonal drugs used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, are not the solution. Biphosphonates poison the osteoclasts, which are responsible for removing damaged bone. There are four biphosphonates currently in clinical use, alendronate (Fosamax), etidronate (Didronel) and risedronate (Actonel), and pamidronate (Aredia).
While these drugs may in fact make bones denser, the real issue is the long-term effects. Denser bones do not necessarily translate to stronger bones.
The following table lists some natural sources of vitamin K:
|Collard Greens|| |
|Olive Oil|| |
|Salad Greens|| |
|Green Beans|| |
|Brussels Sprouts|| |
* (micrograms / 100g)
Because vitamin K is absolutely essential to build strong bones - and it is proven to prevent heart disease -- but it is "the forgotten vitamin" that many people do not get nearly enough of on a daily basis through the foods they eat, I now offer you a superior form of vitamin K.
Some of vitamin K's Major Benefits include:
- Improves bone density, serving as the biological "glue" that helps plug calcium into your bone matrix
- Helps you prevent and fight osteoporosis, a disease that affects more than 25 million Americans, mostly postmenopausal women
- Aids in preventing hardening of the arteries, or arterial calcification
- Helps prevent atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease) and heart failure