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Vitamin K may decrease diabetes risk

October 16, 2012

According to a new study from Spain, increased intake of vitamin K1 may lower the risk of developing type-2 diabetes in elderly people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

The observational study documented the vitamin K (phylloquinone) intake and occurrence of type 2 diabetes in 1,069 men and women with an average age of 67.5 over a period of 5.5 years (1). The study results showed that 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%.

The researchers commented that the findings would add to the growing body of potential health benefits of vitamin K consumption. Although the mechanism of action is unclear, it is biologically possible that vitamin K is involved in the carboxylation of osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone mineralization, and the control of calcium in the body. Recent data suggests that osteocalcin may also be related to insulin metabolism.

Vitamin K deficiency may be more common than previously thought, according to findings from a Dutch study (2). There are two main forms of vitamin K: K1 (phylloquinone) is found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach, and makes up about 90 percent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet; and K2 (menaquinones), which makes up about 10 per cent of consumption and can be synthesized in the gut by microflora.

References

  1. Ibarrola-Jurado N. et al. Dietary phylloquinone intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in elderly subjects at high risk of cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published online October 2012.
  2. Cranenburg E. C. et al. Vitamin K: the coagulation vitamin that became omnipotent. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2007; 98(1):120–125.