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Around this time last year, The Council for Responsible Nutrition revealed data they collected from their Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements… and guess what?
They reported the highest overall dietary supplement usage to date, in the 20 years since they’ve been performing the survey. They found that 77 percent of adults age 18 and up supplement regularly and that adults between the ages of 35 and 54 have the highest usage — a whopping 81 percent in this age range.
Yet, with all of the vitamins we’re taking, there’s one that many people either don’t know about or simply don’t realize how necessary it is for good health…
And that’s vitamin K.
According to Sarah Booth, Ph.D., director of the Vitamin K Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, too many of us, especially older adults (older men in particular) get very little of it in our diets.
Yet, without enough vitamin K, healthy cognition, heart function, and even mobility can become a challenge.
In fact, multiple clinical studies have proven the necessity of the vitamin for fighting off age-related concerns.
Take the study by the vitamin K lab itself earlier this year that proved that low levels of K in older adults is linked to difficulty staying physically active.
And, another study found that if you’re over the age of 65, consuming at least 207 micrograms of K per day can lead to better performance on cognitive tests.
But that’s just the beginning…
The magic behind the vitamin
In fact, vitamin K affects the health of everything from your bones and cartilage to your blood vessels and other tissues.
It’s involved in proper blood clotting as well as the production of proteins that keep your bones, cartilage, and blood vessels healthy.
And recently, scientists have even found that vitamin K is vital to ensure that tissues which are not supposed to be calcified stay that way.
Why is that important?
Well, take your knees for example. If the cartilage that lies in your knee joint begins to calcify and harden, the result is osteoarthritis, stiff achy joints, and pain when you walk.
But even more important, vitamin K2 is associated with inhibiting arterial calcification and arterial stiffening because it activates a protein that inhibits the deposits of calcium on vessel walls.
Yup, vitamin K is a health powerhouse!
Getting more vitamin K
Clearly, we should all take steps to get more vitamin K in our daily diet, either through the food we eat or a high-quality supplement.
But, there are a few things you need to know…
The first is that there are two types of this vitamin — K1 and K2.
You’ll find K1 in foods like dark green veggies, including:
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
K1 can be converted by the body to K2, but the process is rather inefficient. And if you want to avoid calcification, it’s lots of K2 that you want. K2 levels are highest in egg yolks, beef, and fermented foods.
If you’re like me, you probably don’t eat much red meat or fermented foods, and that’s why vitamin K2 is one vitamin I supplement. You should plan to shoot for a minimum of at least 90 mcg of the vitamin if you’re a woman. The magic number for men is 120 mcg. Of course, these are the minimal RDA guidelines
And, the good news is that just a single cup of most green vegetables allows you to easily hit that mark. For bonus points, add a little good fat (like olive oil) to your veggies and you’ll increase your absorption of the vitamin. But if you’re not getting much from food, there have not been reported problems with taking higher doses. However, it’s a good idea to always follow the recommendations on the supplement label.
There is one thing to remember though… if you’re taking certain blood thinners, like Coumadin, you need to talk to your doctor about how vitamin K could affect the medication and learn what the right amount is for you on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to skip vitamin K or the healthy veggies it’s found in, it just means that your blood levels may need to be monitored if you supplement.
Remember, vitamin K is vital to your health, especially your blood vessels, brain, bones, and cartilage. So, don’t miss out on this often overlooked vitamin to take your health to the next level.
Dietary Supplement Use Reaches All Time High — The Council for Responsible Nutrition
Why You Need More Vitamin K — Consumer Reports