Monday, April 25, 2011

Inadequate Vitamin K

Inadequate Vitamin K may be Linked to Age-Related Conditions
A recent analysis suggests that much of the population and warfarin/Coumadin® patients may not receive sufficient vitamin K for optimal function of proteins that are important in preventing age-related conditions.

Vitamin K is necessary for normal clotting of blood in humans. Specifically, vitamin K is required for the liver to make factors that are necessary for blood to properly clot (coagulate). Vitamin K deficiencies or disturbances of liver function (for example, severe liver failure) may lead to deficiencies of clotting factors and excessive bleeding.

The triage theory hypothesizes that when the body experiences a shortage of minerals or vitamins, in this case vitamin-K, the body preferentially uses the vitamins and minerals that are needed for short-term survival.
The study evaluated relative lethality of 11 known mouse knockout mutants to categorize essentiality. Results indicated that five VKD proteins required for coagulation had critical functions, while five less critical VKD proteins survived at least through weaning.

The critical VKD proteins are found mainly in the liver, taking advantage of the body's preferential distribution of dietary vitamin K1 to the liver to preserve coagulation function when vitamin K1 is limiting.

Dietary vitamin K inadequacy, vitamin K deficiency induced by chronic anticoagulant (warfarin/Coumadin) therapy and human polymorphisms or mutations are all linked to age-associated conditions, including bone fragility and arterial calcification (which is linked to heart disease).

For more information about vitamin K, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.


1.McCann JC, Ames BN. Vitamin K, an example of triage theory: is micronutrient inadequacy linked to diseases of aging? Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Oct;90(4):889-907. Epub 2009 Aug 19 View Abstract

2.Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.

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