Vitamin K Intake Cut Cancer Risks

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A study published in the March 24th issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that higher dietary intake of vitamin K may reduce the incidence of cancer and cancer-related mortality, particularly lung or prostate cancers.

Vitamin K exists in two natural forms: vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, found in green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils, such as canola and soybean oils; and vitamin K2, or menaquinone, found mostly in meat and cheese.

The researchers collected the dietary data on 24,340 German adults and followed them for 10 years on the incidence cancers.

The results of the study indicated that vitamin K2 was linked to a reduce risk of developing or dying from cancer, whereas vitamin K1 was not.  In particular, subjects in the highest quartile of vitamin K2 intake were 28% less likely to have died of any one of the cancers, especially lung and prostate cancers, than those in the lowest quartile.

Since this was an observational study, the investigator could not fully confirm that the observed reduction in cancer risk is entirely due to vitamin K2 and not to the other components inside the food that contained vitamin K2.

Future studies are required to evaluate the relationship between people’s blood levels of vitamin K and levels of cancer risks.

In the U.S., the recommended daily intake for vitamin K, in all forms, is 120 ug for men and 90 ug for women. In the current study, men in the highest quartile got 92 ug/day or more; their female counterparts got at least 84 ug/day.

Am J Clin Nutr 2010.

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