High intake of vitamin K1 keeps bones strong (and muscles too)
Women over the age of 70 are less likely to break a bone and have more muscle strength the more vitamin K1 they ingest. Vitamin K1 is mainly found in green vegetables, such as endive, broccoli and kale.
Marc Sim, a nutrition scientist at Edith Cowan University in Australia, analyzed the data of 1347 healthy women over the age of 70 for 14.5 years. In this period, nearly forty percent of women came to the hospital after breaking a bone.
Just before the study began, the women had described their diet. In addition, the researchers had determined the women's muscle strength with a number of basic tests.
For example, the researchers had the women squeeze a dynamometer that could measure hand grip strength, and determined how quickly the women could get up from a chair.
Women with a relatively high intake of vitamin K1 - about 120 micrograms of vitamin K1 per day - were 26 percent less likely to have broken bone than women with a relatively low intake of vitamin K1 - in this case, about 49 micrograms of vitamin K1 per day.
The protective effect in bone fractures was optimal with an intake of 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 per day. At this intake, the muscle strength of the women was also found to be optimal, judging by the speed with which the women were able to get up from a chair.
The researchers also looked at vitamin K2, but could not find any statistically significant differences between the women with a high and low intake of the form of vitamin K.
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Sim suspects that vitamin K1 keeps bones and muscles strong by regulating calcium deposition in the body. Vitamin K ensures that calcium enters bones and is not deposited in the blood vessels. Flexible blood vessels are a prerequisite for strong muscles in the elderly.
"In summary, our findings suggest that moderate Vitamin K1 intakes of approximately 100 micrograms daily (e.g. 75-150 g or 1-2 servings of cabbage, rocket, lettuce, broccoli, or spinach per day) may positively influence physical function and reduce long-term risk for injurious falls in community-dwelling older women", summarize the researchers.
"For Vitamin K2, no such benefits were observed."
"Public health guidelines should continue to promote higher vegetable intake, including the daily consumption of Vitamin K1-rich green leafy vegetables to optimise musculoskeletal health."
J Nutr Health Aging. 2023;27(1):38-45.
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