Vitamin K May Fight Inflammation Linked to Chronic Diseases
THOUGH NOT AS WELL-KNOWN as
other members of the vitamin alphabet,
vitamin K could prove to be a weapon
against the inflammation associated with
chronic diseases such as osteoporosis
and cardiovascular disease. In a new
study published in the American Journal of
Epidemiology, Tufts researchers linked
high blood levels and dietary intakes of
vitamin K with decreased levels of 14
inflammatory markers. The researchers
studied phylloquinone, also known as
vitamin K1, the most common form of
the vitamin, which is found in green
“Our findings provide one potential
alternative mechanism for a putative protective
effect of vitamin K in the progression
of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis,
since both diseases are characterized
by inflammation,” noted lead
author Kyla Shea, PhD, of the Vitamin K
Laboratory at Tufts’ Jean Mayer Human
Nutrition Research Center on Aging
(HNRCA). Chronic inflammation, where
the body’s natural protective mechanisms
over-react or go out of control, has been
associated with a range of conditions that
also include arthritis, type-2 diabetes,
Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
Previous research led by Sarah
Booth, PhD, director of the Vitamin K
Laboratory, has connected higher blood
levels of phylloquinone with lower risk of osteoarthritis in the hand and knee and high dietary intake with reduced heart-disease
risk in women.
The latest research relied on data from
1,381 participants in the Framingham
Offspring Study, who averaged 59 years old.
The Tufts scientists measured blood levels
of vitamin K1 as well as dietary intake, and
related these to 14 different biological
markers (biomarkers) of inflammation.
The study also looked for relationships
between vitamin D status and inflammation.
While some links were found, overall
the results on vitamin D were inconsistent.
The mechanism by which vitamin K1
might combat inflammation isn’t known,
the researchers said, adding that further
research was warranted. Vitamin K1 is a
marker for a healthy diet, so this study may
also indicate that other compounds also
found in a healthy diet may be the factors
that reduce inflammation.
Are you getting enough vitamin K to
benefit from its anti-inflammatory powers?
Probably not. In a recent review of studies
on vitamin K status among the elderly,
Booth reported that although older adults
seem to consume more vitamin K than
younger adults, many seniors still aren’t
getting the recommended daily amount.
Vitamin K is found in leafy greens such as
spinach and lettuce as well as in kale, cabbage,
cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels
sprouts, cereals, milk and soybeans. The
recommended daily amount is 90 micrograms
for adult females and 120 micrograms
for adult males.
TO LEARN MORE: American Journal of Epidemiology,
online ahead of print; abstract at aje.oxfordjournals.