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Concepts in Fitness: Super K — A healthy kick for your heart

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June 10, 2019 11:56 am Updated: June 10, 2019 12:00 pm

 

These days we hear a lot about the benefits of supplementing your diet with omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants for disease prevention. But we rarely hear about the importance of vitamin K and its vital role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and osteoporosis. According to researchers from the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Hospital; vitamin K is an “anticalcification, anticancer, bone–forming and insulin–sensitizing molecule.”

So who is at risk for a vitamin K deficiency? Well, according to Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world’s top researchers in the field of vitamin K, “Nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin K, just like most are deficient in vitamin D.”

Discovered in 1929 by Danish scientist Henrik Dam, vitamin K is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten vitamin.” It is one of the four fat soluble vitamins and is best known for the important role it plays in blood clotting. Produced by plants, it can be found in green veggies like kale, broccoli and spinach; it’s also essential for building strong bones and osteoporosis prevention.

Vitamin K2 is produced by the good bacteria in your gut and you can also find it in; yogurt, raw cheese, fish, pastures raised eggs and Japanese Nattowhich is by far the richest source of K 2. Now that you know where to get vitamin K, here are just some of its many benefits.

A study in Integrative Medicine points out that vitamin K helps prevent hardening of arteries because it keeps calcium out of the arteries; not allowing it to form into hard dangerous plaque deposits. Studies have also shown that people who increase their intake of vitamin K have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke mortality.

Plus there is increasing evidence that vitamin K can improve bone health and reduce the risk of bone fractures especially in postmenopausal women who are at risk for osteoporosis. According to recent research, men and women with the highest intake of vitamin K2 are 65 percent less likely to suffer from a debilitating hip fracture compared to those with the lowest intake of vitamin K2.

Vitamin K is also a natural cancer fighter and is effective in reducing the risk of prostrate, colon, stomach, nasal and oral cancer. One study found that high doses of vitamin K helped patients with liver cancer stabilize and improve their liver function.

And there is growing evidence that vitamin K has anti-inflammatory properties; protecting your brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Oxidative stress can damage your cells and it thought to be involved in the development of cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The best way to increase your levels of vitamin K1 and K2 is through a whole foods diet that includes plenty of green leafy vegetables and raw fermented dairy products.

Vitamin K comes with amazing health benefits however; if you use blood thinning medication, please consult your health care practitioner before increasing your intake of vitamin K.

Reach Mary Schoepe at fitnessconcepts001@yahoo.com.