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Vitamin K

Vitamin K deficiency found to promote osteoporosis in women

Monday, September 25, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: vitamin K, osteoporosis, bone loss


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(NewsTarget) While a deficiency of vitamin K -- a vitamin essential for bone health -- is considered rare by conventional medicine, a recent study by University of Michigan School of Nursing researchers has found that many women in early post-menopause may not have enough of the vitamin in their bodies.

While vitamin D receives a lot of press for its contribution to bone health, as estrogen declines an impairment of vitamin K function may contribute to the development of osteoporosis, said lead author Jane Lukacs Ph.D. and colleagues in the September/October issue of Menopause.

"Our study suggests that the generally accepted level of vitamin K in healthy women is inadequate to maintain bone health just at the onset of menopause," Lukacs said.

Vitamin K is an integral part of carboxylation of the bone protein osteocalcin, which, when bound to calcium, helps bone mineralization.

"In early menopause, increase your intake of dark green vegetables and vegetable oils on a daily basis," Lukacs said, referring to foods rich in vitamin K such as kale, spinach, lettuce and parsley, although she noted that it is unknown whether a high intake of such foods may prevent osteoporosis.

The theory of green vegetables contributing to bone health seems to be supported by studies that show people in poor countries who have higher intakes of such food often have greater bone health than wealthy people who consume more meat products.

Lukacs said that diet was not the only factor in bone health, and recommended an exercise regimen to keep bones strong.

"In adolescence and early adulthood, the incorporation of weight-bearing exercise is crucial because we also observed lower bone density in the hip of pre-menopausal women in their late 40s, well before the onset of menopause," she added.

Health advocate and "Seven Laws of Nutrition" author Mike Adams agreed.

"Weight-bearing exercise such as rebounding is essential to bone health no matter your age or gender, but especially for women," he said. "Also, it is a good idea to restrict or eliminate meat, processed foods and dairy from your diet, because they can actually strip your bones of vital minerals."

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