Vitamin K may reduce cancer risk

March 30, 2010

Consuming foods rich in vitamin K may reduce the risk of cancer, says a new study.

In the study, data from 24,340 persons aged between 35 and 64 participating in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study were analyzed (1). The participants were followed for over 10 years, during which 1,755 cases of cancer were documented. Of these 458 turned out to be fatal cases. The results showed that people with the highest average intakes of vitamin K2 were 14 percent less likely to develop cancer, compared to people with the lowest average intakes. Furthermore, a 28 percent reduction in cancer mortality was observed for people with the highest average intakes.

The study appears to support the anti-cancer benefits of vitamin K2 (menaquinone), with the majority of the nutrient being consumed from cheese, and adds to an ever-growing body of science supporting the benefits of vitamin K2, most well established for bone and cardiovascular health. Emerging evidence also supports a potential role for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

Current intake recommendations are based on levels to ensure adequate blood coagulation, but failing to ensure long-term optimal levels of the vitamin may accelerate bone fragility, arterial and kidney calcification, cardiovascular disease, and possibly cancer, the researchers commented.

References

  1. Nimptsch K. et al. Dietary vitamin K intake in relation to cancer incidence and mortality: results from the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Heidelberg). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010.