Photo of cabbages
Leafy greens like cabbage are a good natural source of vitamin K [Image: Karpati Gabor - Morguefile]

Higher vitamin K intake reduces type-2 diabetes risk

20 November, 2012

Natural Health News — Increased dietary intake of vitamin K may lower the risk of developing type-2 diabetes in older people.

Researchers from Spain analysed the diets of  1,069 men and women with an average age of 67.5 over a period of 5.5 years. They looked specifically at the dietary intake of a type of vitamin K called  phylloquinone, or vitamin K1, and compared it to the occurrence of type 2 diabetes in these people.

The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people with type-2 diabetes at the beginning of the study were much more likely to have low level of Vitamin K1 in their blood.

Participants who increased their average intake of vitamin K1 during the study had a 51% lower risk of developing diabetes than participants who decreased or did not change their vitamin K1 intake. For every 100 microgram per day increase in the intake of vitamin K1 the risk of developing diabetes decreased by 17%.

Earlier this year a the findings of a study in the Netherlands (presented ahead of publication) came to a similar conclusion. The researchers monitored the diets of 2,719 men and women over the course of a year, and found those in the top 20% of vitamin K intake had significantly lower blood glucose levels, suggesting their bodies were better able to use the insulin produced by the pancreas, hence a lower diabetes risk.

Vitamin K is a group of structurally similar, fat-soluble vitamins. There are two known types of natural vitamin K: K1 (phylloquinone) is found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, kale, beet greens, cabbage and spinach, and makes up about 90% of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet; and K2 (menaquinone), which makes up about 10% of consumption and can be synthesized in the gut by healthy microflora.

Both types of vitamin K are involved in metabolism, blood coagulation, and in metabolic pathways related to the health of our bones and other tissues.

Vitamin K deficiency may be more common than previously thought, according to findings from a 2007 Dutch study. The Spanish researchers commented that the findings would add to the growing body of potential health benefits of vitamin K consumption.