How Vitamin K is Good for the Brain and Alzheimer’s Prevention

Often called “the forgotten vitamin,” vitamin K  plays a vital role in the anti-aging process and may even have Alzheimer’s disease fighting properties.How Vitamin K is Good for the Brain and Alzheimer's Prevention

Learn more about this important vitamin, the role it plays in Alzheimer’s prevention, and how you can consume more.

The Role of Vitamin K 

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin mostly known for its role in helping blood to clot. Recently, it has been identified as being a key anti-aging vitamin helping to keep certain kinds of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis at bay.

In addition to helping blood to coagulate, vitamin K may also: 

  • Aid in stroke prevention
  • Help prevent cancer
  • Help prevent the hardening of the arteries
  • Help prevent osteoporosis by regulating calcium
  • Improve insulin sensitivity

The Relationship Between Vitamin K and Alzheimer’s Prevention

There is also some evidence that in addition to these anti-aging health benefits, vitamin K can help to prevent Alzheimer’s. One of the major functions of vitamin K is to regulate calcium in bones and in the brain.

In a study from the University of North Carolina, scientists discovered that patients prone to broken bones were more likely to have the APOE4 gene. The study went on to suggest that those with low levels of vitamin K have dysregulated calcium in their brains that causes some of the damage done to the brain in Alzheimer’s.

Another study showed the importance of vitamin K in brain health by assessing the dietary intakes of patients with early stage Alzheimer’s. They found that the diagnosed patients consumed considerably less vitamin K than the control group. This study promotes the idea that vitamin K intake may be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease and more research should be done to understand the effects of vitamin K on brain health.

Ways to Add Vitamin K to Your Diet

Most multivitamins do not contain vitamin K and foods have less vitamin K than previously thought. Also, the highest concentration of vitamin K is found in fermented foods that are not often found in the western diet.

So, how do you consume this miracle vitamin? For North Americans, green leafy vegetables apply 40-50% of vitamin K. Vegetable oils are another huge source of vitamin K. However, hydrogenated oils such as margarine can make an unnatural source of vitamin K and actually stop the vitamin from working properly.

The recommended amount of vitamin K is 90 mcg/day for adults over the age of 19. Foods high in vitamin K include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cereals
  • Collards
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Kale
  • Liver
  • Meat
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Vegetable oil

Have you seen the positive effects of vitamin K on your or a loved one’s brain health? Share your Alzheimer’s prevention story with us in the comments below.

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  • Kat

    My Mom has Alzheimer’s, and I have been researching foods and supplements that give a person a fighting chance against developing this disease. So, I began taking vitamin K2 supplements last week. I have experienced brain fog using K2, but I have already noticed other differences in my brain processing in the past week, for the better. I hope the brain fog goes away. From what I’ve read, the benefits of vitamin K are very hopeful for one’s future health, brain health, and possible longevity of life.

  • Derek

    It’s not clear to me on reading this piece, if the vitamin k mentioned is K1, K2, or both. The calcium moving properties are primarily K2, while coagulation is primarily K1.

  • Katy

    Hi. You recommend vegetables as a source of vitamin K. However, veggies would only give you k1. A human body can convert the k1 from veggies to k2, but in order to do so, a person would have to have good gut flora. Many people don’t, without knowing it. So many people can’t get k2 from veggies. They have to get it from grass-fed butter, cheese, and beef, or take supplements.

    • Actually, that’s from K2 to K3, and _bad_ gut flora, the kind that eats meat, comes from consuming too much beef or cheese in place of veggies. I see way too much concern with gut flora in a North American population that is largely coprophobic and rarely consumes anything fermented — like a smoothie that has been left in a blender for more than eight hours; your cure for bad gut flora.

  • Cathy

    I recently started taking a vitamin k supplement and the severe insomnia problems that have plagued me daily for the past 17 years completely went away. If I forget to take it, I start having insomnia again. The supplement is Garden of Life’s Vitamin Code raw k complex.

    • Thanks for sharing that experience. I’ll remember it when I make a smoothie of Kale, grapefruit, cucumbers, and apples; and again if I get insomnia.

  • Steve Fabeck

    I think that you should have mentioned that if you are taking warfarin, you must be reasonably consistent in your intake of Vitamin K. Wide swings in the amount of Vitamin K may necessitate relatively wide swings in the quantity of warfarin taken.

  • Mike B.

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