First, let me say that I'm very excited to take the helm at Second Opinion. Robert and I have been friends and colleagues for years. And while I am sorry to see him retire from writing, I am thrilled for the chance to bring my healing message to his readers too. So let me welcome you to the new Second Opinion health alerts.
Vitamin K has always been a relatively ignored vitamin — especially when you compare it to vitamin D, for example. But recently there have been quite a few studies showing that vitamin K may be every bit as important as any other vitamin out there. And a new study just published indicates that increasing your vitamin K intake can dramatically lower your chances of dying from anything!
The researchers followed 7,216 men and women. All of them were at a particularly high risk for cardiovascular disease. They followed them for an average period of 4.8 years. Each year, they determined their total intake (diet and supplements) of vitamin K. What they discovered was really amazing.
The higher the level of vitamin K the different people took, the lower their chances of dying of any illness. That includes cancer and cardiovascular disease. Those people who had the highest intakes of vitamin K had half the overall death rate from cancer and a 35% lower death rate from any cause. But it gets even more interesting.
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When the researchers looked at people who had increased their intake of vitamin K during the trial period, they found a huge benefit. These people had a 35-60% lower death rate from cancer and a 50% lower death rate from any cause than those who did not increase their intake. And remember that this group had high-risk candidates for dying from cardiovascular disease. Despite that, the men and women who were taking in the most vitamin K cut their risk of dying from any disease in half compared to those with the lower intakes. That's sobering to think — taking one nutrient can have that much of an effect.
The researchers said, "An increase in dietary intake of vitamin K is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular, cancer, and all-cause mortality in a population at high cardiovascular disease risk."
The vitamin K that I use in the clinic is made by Vitamin Research Products (www.vrp.com). They are certified by the FDA as a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) facility. They make a vitamin K capsule containing 1.5 mg of vitamin K2. Take one to two per day. Good food sources for vitamin K are leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, prunes, broccoli, scallions, and asparagus.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Juanola-Falgarona M, Salas-Salvadó J, Martínez-González MÁ, et al. Dietary intake of vitamin K is inversely associated with mortality risk. J Nutr. 2014 May;144(5):743-50.