Many of us over the last decade have heard the importance of getting adequate Vitamin D, especially living in Canada and at a higher latitude where Vitamin D from every day sun isn’t as easy to get as living closer to the equator.
Even with these warnings of inadequate Vitamin D status in Canada, an Albertan researcher took blood samples from 2,000 Canadians across the country and still found 2 out of every 3 samples had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin K, another fat-soluble vitamin like Vitamin D, which we can obtain from dietary sources like green leafy vegetables (ie. kale, broccoli, spinach, collards, etc.), fish, liver, meat, cheese and eggs to name a few; is another Vitamin of concern for inadequate intakes.
Currently the RDI in Canada, for Vitamin K is 120mcg/day for Men 19+ and 90mcg for Women 19+, while the average dietary intake for Vitamin K per day hovers around 66mcg. This is almost half of what we need to achieve the recommended dietary intake amount for Vitamin K.
Many of the health applications we are concerned about having adequate Vitamin D status, Vitamin K may be just as important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
For example, many individuals try to ensure they have adequate Vitamin D for its role in bone health by aiding in calcium absorption and bone remodelling. Studies have shown individuals with higher Vitamin D status have on average a 4% higher bone mineral density (BMD).
Vitamin K’s role has been well researched as well in bone health. In the Nurses Health Study, which followed more than 72,000 women for 10 years, showed that women who's Vitamin K intake were less than the 109mcg/day had a 30% increased risk of hip fracture compared to women with an intake equal to or above 109mcg/day.
In another study called the Framingham study in over 800 men and women for 7 years, found participants with dietary vitamin K intakes in the highest quartile (median, 254 mcg/day) had a 65% lower risk of hip fracture than those with intakes in the lowest quartile (median, 56 mcg/day).
Vitamin D & K also play an important role in the regulation of calcium inside our body. Vitamin D & K help regulate the synthesis (or making) of Osteocalcin and it’s ability to bind Calcium in blood. Osteocalcin helps to regulate bone remodelling by aiding in the direction of calcium towards bone tissue.
Intakes of Vitamin K may be linked toward reductions in coronary artery calcification, shown by a study showing that upper vs. lowest quartile of menaquinone intake (median intakes, 48.5 μg/day vs.18 μg/day) was found to be associated with a 20% reduced prevalence of coronary artery calcification in 564 postmenopausal women.
Heart health is another area of concern when it comes to adequacy of Vitamin D. A growing number of studies point to vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for heart attacks, congestive heart failure, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), strokes, and the conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Vitamin K may be as important for heart health as Vitamin D. One study looked at Vitamin K adequacy vs inadequacy (based on sex-specific AI: 90 mcg/day for women and 120 mcg/day for men) and found adequate intakes of Vitamin K were associated with a 22% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related mortality and a 15% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
Based on statistical models a Vitamin K deficiency may be as much of a risk factor for developing heart disease as smoking is.
Some medication, including blood thinning medication may interact with Vitamin K and it is advised that you speak with your health care provider if thinking about taking supplemental Vitamin K or increasing your dietary intake while on a blood thinning medication.
Dr. Jonothon Mainland ND
Dr. Jonothon Mainland ND is a naturopathic doctor with an extensive background in naturopathic medicine, business & economics and health sciences. He holds the Vice-President Medical Director position at CanPrev & Orange Naturals and has over a decade of product formulation, business development and education experience in the natural health industry.
Canprev products are available at Optimum Health Vitamins in Edmonton, Alberta. They can be ordered by mail by calling toll-free 1-844-259-8590