Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. But here a question arises, whether it is essential for health or not? The answer is yes it is because the deficiency of vitamin k appears to have a negative effect on overall health, especially bone health.
Vitamin K is a group of a compound and most important of these compounds are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is obtained from leafy green and some vegetables while vitamin K2 is obtained from cheeses, eggs, meats, and synthesized by bacteria. The proteins that are involved in the mineralization and bone formation are activated by vitamin k.
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Scientists Kyla Shea of the Vitamin K Laboratory at the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University and Chris Hernandez of Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering tell that vitamin k produced by specific bacteria that colonize the gut could support bones too.
A 2013 study shows that the risk of bone loss is reduced in a healthy woman who had been through menopause by taking 180 mcg of vitamin k daily.
Hernandez contacted to collaborate with the Vitamin K Laboratory that is headed by HNRCA Director Sarah Booth, after observing a decrease in bone strength but unaltered bone density in mice whose gut microbiome was modified. Hernandez found that vitamin K had frequently been related to fracture risk, however not bone density.
The research was published three years before in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
In this research, Hernandez said that the perfect place to study this inquiry is the HNRCA. It is a fact that it has the world’s best experts in the biochemistry of vitamin k, but it additionally has unique facilities that make it possible to control the type of vitamin that is included here and to screen the process.
Women, who not even consume 109 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K per day were more likely to get bone fracture while the risk of hip fracture is higher in women if the vitamin k intake is lower.
Shea said that a large portion of the vitamin K in the eating routine comes from green vegetables, yet the gut microscopic organisms synthesize an alternate type of it. It’s this type of vitamin K that could be influencing bone strength, although the specific mechanism is yet to be determined.
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Shea said, “Many clinical trials with vitamin K measure bone mineral density outcomes, but there may be links with bone strength independent of density. What kind of links might these be? Vitamin K is an enzymatic cofactor that’s required for certain proteins to function. One of these, osteocalcin, is the predominant non-collagenous protein in bone.”
Hernandez tells that Osteocalcin structures a soft and string-like material inside the mineralized portion of the bone and makes the whole bone matrix less brittle. Also, there are a number of treatments for osteoporosis focus on improving bone mineral density, but there are not a lot of approaches to improve bone matrix quality.
“What if we could change the gut microbiome so it makes more vitamin K, which could give people those benefits without having to eat more kale or take a regular vitamin supplement?”
The most recent outcomes of Hernandez and Shea are published in the journal BONE. Both are looking for a grant from the National Institutes of Health to research to confirm the role of vitamin k for bone changes in mice with the modified microbiome.