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.
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:
- Brussel sprouts
- 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.