Vitamin K is an often overlooked vitamin that does much more than aid blood clotting.
There are two main categories of compounds under the distinction of vitamin K: phylloquinone (K1) and menaquinones (K2). The main purpose of vitamin K is to act as a coenzyme for vitamin K-dependent carboxylase, which is involved in the synthesis of proteins important in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and other physiological processes.
Another important protein that is dependent on vitamin K is the Matrix Gla MGP protein, which is found in bone, cartilage, and smooth muscles. Osteocalcin, a protein in bones, also requires vitamin K.
Although it is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is rapidly metabolized and excreted, so it has much lower levels of tissue and blood storage than other fat-soluble vitamins. Some vitamin K is synthesized by the gut microbiota, although the exact amount and use of it is unclear. The most important physiological functions of vitamin K include:
– Bone formation
– Blood clotting
– Prevention of arterial calcification
– Regulation of glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity
The adequate intake of vitamin K according to the Food and Nutrition Board is 120 ug / day for adult men and 90 ug / day for adult women, with lower ranges for children and adolescents.
Although vitamin K deficiency is not as common as other vitamin deficiencies, there are populations at higher risk. For example, those who have malabsorption disorders or who take certain blood-thinning medications such as warfarin that are vitamin K antagonists are at increased risk of insufficiency.
Newborns are also at high risk, which is why it has become common practice to give babies an injection of vitamin K shortly after birth. Additionally, the majority of the US population does not consume sufficient amounts of vitamin K, with only 43 percent of men and 62.5 percent of women consuming adequate amounts, according to NHANES 2011-2012 data.
Synergy of vitamins D and K
Researchers are beginning to discover an important synergy between vitamins D and K. Some in vitro studies indicate that vitamin D has a positive impact on certain vitamin K-dependent bone proteins by increasing their concentrations to induce bone formation.
Animal and human studies further support these findings by showing that taking vitamin D and vitamin K together have a greater impact than taking vitamin K alone. Including vitamins D and K with calcium also has a greater effect than taking calcium alone, especially in terms of bone health.
An important hypothesis to consider is that if vitamin D and K have a synergistic relationship, specifically if vitamin D increases the protein concentrations of vitamin K-dependent proteins, then taking high levels of vitamin D supplementation without supporting vitamin K levels through diet or supplementation could lead to an excess of these proteins without enough vitamin K to function. This could lead to a dysfunction in proteins that play a key role in the inhibition of calcification and in the stimulation of bone mineralization.
When taking high levels of calcium, the balance of vitamin D and K becomes even more important. If there is a balance between vitamin D and K, high levels of calcium intake may not be a problem. However, if there is an imbalance, then excess calcium could be deposited in vascular tissue rather than bone, leading to both osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.
Let’s see what the literature says about the ways that vitamin D and K work together to support health.
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In a case-control study of 116 Norwegian adults, having low levels of vitamin D and K was associated with hip fractures. In the low vitamin K1 group, those with a low vitamin D level were three times more likely to have a hip fracture compared to those with a high vitamin D level.
A similar study with more participants found that after an 8.2-year follow-up, having low levels of both vitamin D and K led to a 50 percent higher risk of experiencing a hip fracture compared to those with the lowest serum levels. high of vitamins. The findings remained significant even after adjusting for confounding factors such as BMI, gender, age, smoking, and triglycerides. Having low vitamin K and high vitamin D also had a higher risk ratio of 1.17, although it was not significant. Having a low level of vitamin D but a high level of K had a risk ratio of 0.97 (not significant), while the group with high levels of vitamin K and high level of vitamin D was used as the reference.
In another study that lasted two years, subjects in the combination therapy group had a 45.2 percent increase in BMD, compared to 9.4 percent in the K2-only group and 23.3 percent in the vitamin D3-only group. Additionally, of those who responded in the combination therapy group, 67.8 percent experienced an increase in BMD of two percent or more. There was also a significant change in BMD after only six months of therapy in the group taking both K2 and D3. During the study, subjects took K-2 menaquinone-3 (Glakay 45 mg per day), vitamin D3 (10a hydroxycholecalcifrerol Onealfa 1 ug per day), or both. There was also a control group that only had diet therapy.
In a randomized, blinded, 2-arm, placebo-controlled trial that lasted 14 weeks, making lifestyle changes combined with taking a nutraceutical supplement containing RIAA, berberine, vitamin D3, and vitamin K1 led to better markers for health bone in healthy postmenopausal women. The researchers instructed all participants to switch to a modified, low-glycemic-load diet in a Mediterranean pattern with no limits on caloric intake, as well as to adopt an exercise regimen that consisted of 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity. The study began with a 2-week introduction during which all participants took a placebo twice a day. In week 3, Participants were randomly assigned to continue the placebo or to take a tablet consisting of 200 mg of iso-alpha hop acids rho, 100 mg of berberine sulfate trihydrate, 500 IU of vitamin D3, and 500 IU of vitamin K1. They continued with the lifestyle changes and no one was given a calcium supplement.
A sufficient amount of vitamin D and K can also help improve osteoarthritis in the knee. The researchers reviewed the data in two knee osteoarthritis cohorts to see the relationship between vitamins D and K and knee function. In the Health ABC Knee OA substudy, the group with sufficient levels of circulating K1 (at or above 1.0 mol / L) and vitamin D (at or above 50 nmol / L of 25 (OH) D) improved physical performance battery scores and had faster gait speed during baseline and follow-up compared to groups that had sufficient levels of only one of the vitamins or low levels of both. Another study, the OAI, confirmed this finding. In this studio,