We all know that vegetarian diet helps maintain heart health and live longer.
But beyond giving the greens the credit for providing longevity, scientists have been trying to hunt down the vitamins that they contain that helps the fruits and veggies extend this benefit to those who consume it.
Diets rich in vitamin K, especially the kind found in green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, says a Harvard report.
Foods containing vitamin K may help protect against cardiovascular disease, this new study suggests.
The findings come from dietary data from more than 53,000 Danish adults.
Researchers focused on vitamin K, which comes in two forms:
- Vitamin K1 (found mainly in green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils), and
- Vitamin K2 (found in meat, eggs, and fermented foods such as cheese).
The Danish study and its findings:
- Researchers tracked hospitalisations for an average of 21 years for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease (clogged arteries in the legs).
- They found that people with the highest vitamin K1 intakes were 21 per cent less likely to be hospitalised with cardiovascular disease caused by clogged arteries, compared with people who had the lowest intakes.
- The risk with vitamin K2 was 14% lower.
- The benefits to patients with atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels) were well-documented. his lower risk was seen for all types of heart disease related to atherosclerosis, particularly for peripheral artery disease at 34 per cent.
However, this finding remains more tentative, given that vitamin K2 comes in many different forms that act differently within the body.
The findings of the study were published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association‘.
The findings suggested that consuming more vitamin K may be important for protection against atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease.
Current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate.
However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
Although more research is needed to fully understand the process, we believe that vitamin K works by protecting against the calcium build-up in the major arteries of the body leading to vascular calcification.
The role of vitamin K in cardiovascular health and particularly in vascular calcification is an area of research offering promising hope for the future.
What is Vitamin K?
This term refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels.
Using Vitamin K, the body produces prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Doctors lament that there’s still a limited understanding of the importance of different vitamins found in food and their effect on heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease.
That is where these new findings shed light on the potentially important effect that vitamin K has on the killer disease and reinforce the importance of a healthy diet in preventing it.
Next steps in the research:
While databases on the vitamin K1 content of foods are very comprehensive, there is currently much less data on the vitamin K2 content of foods.
Furthermore, there are 10 forms of vitamin K2 found in our diet and each of these may be absorbed and act differently within our bodies.
The next phase of the research will involve developing and improving databases on the vitamin K2 content of foods.
More research into the different dietary sources and effects of different types of vitamin K2 is a priority.
Should you order Vitamin K Supplements?
Unlike many other vitamins, vitamin K is not typically used as a dietary supplement.
Low levels of vitamin K can raise the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
Vitamin K is also used to counteract an overdose of the blood thinner.
You should not use vitamin K supplements unless your doctor tells you to.
You should be able to get all the vitamin K you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
Any vitamin K your body does not need immediately is stored in the liver for future use, so you do not need it in your diet every day.
As per a report in WebMD, people using Coumadin for heart problems, clotting disorders, or other conditions may need to watch their diets closely to control the amount of vitamin K they take in.
They should not use vitamin K supplements unless advised to do so by their treating doctor.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. Healthy Supplies Shop is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of healthy supplies shop and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.