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Vitamin K1 linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus - must read

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By David Liu, PHD

Sunday Oct 7, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking a type of vitamin K supplement or vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) rich foods helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a study recently published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

N. Ibarrola-Jurado at Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Reus, Spain and colleagues conducted the study and found high dietary intake of phylloquinone was associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes type 2 in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers set out to conduct the study because few human and animal studies yielded evidence that intake of vitamin K is associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

They analyzed data from 1925 men and women in the Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet Trial to establish cross sectional associations between dietary phylloquinone intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in elderly people at high cardiovascular disease risk.

They also analyzed data from 1069 men and women who were free of diabetes at baseline and followed for 5.5 years to seek a longitudinal association between vitamin k1 intake and risk of diabetes type 2. Biochemical and anthropometric parameters were obtained every year. Dietary intake of phylloquinone was estimated based on dietary information participants reported through a food-frequency questionnaire and the USDA database. 

Participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus were found to have significantly lower dietary vitamin k1 intake at baseline during the study.   After adjustment for potential confounders, each additional intake of 100 μg phylloquinone/d was associated with 17 percent reduced risk of incident diabetes.

Also subjects who increased their dietary intake of vitamin K1 during the follow-up were 51 percent less likely to develop diabetes mellitus type 2, compared with those who decreased or did not change their phylloquinone intake.

The researchers concluded "dietary phylloquinone intake is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes."

Phylloquinone is one type of vitamin K called vitamin K1 and another type is vitamin K2.  Both are naturally occurring while K1 is synthesized by plants and is the predominant form in the diet and K2 is synthesized by intestinal bacteria in animals. Vitamin K2 include a range of forms collectively called menaquinones.

Vitamin K is found high in green vegetables including cooked broccoli, raw kale, raw spinach, raw leaf lettuce, raw Swiss chard, raw watercress and raw parsley.

The study considered dietary intake excluding vitamin K supplements so the study results may suggest that eating vitamin K1 rich vegetables helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.  

Some studies have actually associated eating a plant-based diet, which should be high in vitamin k1, with lower risk of type 2 diabetes.   A. Morimoto at Osaka University and colleagues published a study in 2012 in Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition saying that eating vegetables, potatoes, seaweed, fruits and soybean products was associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus among the Japanese. 

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