New Study Indicates This Vitamin Can Significantly Reduce Your Risk of Bone Fractures

Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is a type of vitamin K that is found in leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, kale, and spinach as well as fruits such as prunes, kiwis, and avocados. It is important for the proper functioning of the body’s blood clotting mechanism and for maintaining healthy bones.

A long-term study that analyzed the relationship between hospitalizations related to fractures and diet in nearly 1400 older women has found that vitamin K1 significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization.

Breaking bones can have a significant impact on one’s life, especially in older age when hip fractures can lead to disability, reduced independence, and an increased risk of mortality.

However, research from the Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute at Edith Cowan University has found that there may be steps you can take to reduce your risk of fractures later in life.

In collaboration with the University of Western Australia, the study looked at the relationship between fracture-related hospitalizations and vitamin K1 intake in almost 1400 older Australian women over a 14.5-year period from the Perth Longitudinal Study of Aging Women.

Mark Sim

Dr. Mark Sim. Credit: Edith Cowan University

It found women who ate more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 consumption — equivalent to about 125g of dark leafy vegetables, or one to two serves of vegetables — were 31 percent less likely to have any fracture compared to participants who consumed less than 60 micrograms per day, which is the current vitamin K adequate intake guideline in Australia for women.

There were even more positive results regarding hip fractures, with those who ate the most vitamin K1 cutting their risk of hospitalization almost in half (49 percent).

Study lead Dr. Marc Sim said the results were further evidence of the benefits of vitamin K1, which has also been shown to enhance cardiovascular health.

“Our results are independent of many established factors for fracture rates, including body mass index, calcium intake, Vitamin D status, and prevalent disease,” he said.

“Basic studies of vitamin K1 have identified a critical role in the carboxylation of the vitamin K1-dependent bone proteins such as osteocalcin, which is believed to improve bone toughness.

“A previous ECU trial indicates dietary vitamin K1 intakes of less than 100 micrograms per day may be too low for this carboxylation.

“Vitamin K1 may also promote bone health by inhibiting various bone resorbing agents.”

So, what should we eat — and how much?

Dr. Sim said eating more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 daily was ideal — and, happily, it isn’t too difficult to do.

“Consuming this much daily vitamin K1 can easily be achieved by consuming between 75-150g, equivalent to one to two serves, of vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and cabbage,” he said.

“It’s another reason to follow public health guidelines, which advocate higher vegetable intake including one to two serves of green leafy vegetables — which is in line with our study’s recommendations.”

Reference: “Dietary Vitamin K1 intake is associated with lower long-term fracture-related hospitalization risk: the Perth longitudinal study of aging women” by Marc Sim, Andre Strydom, Lauren C. Blekkenhorst, Nicola P. Bondonno, Rachel McCormick, Wai H .Lim, Kun Zhu, Elizabeth Byrnes, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Joshua R. Lewisabch and Richard L. Prince, 12 September 2022, Food & Function.
DOI: 10.1039/D2FO02494B

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