Greater vitamin K intake associated with lower diabetes risk

Reprinted with permission of Life Extension

A study conducted in the Netherlands, reported online on April 27, 2010 in the journal Diabetes Care, has found an association between the intake of both vitamin K1 and K2 with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht analyzed data from 38,094 Dutch participants in the EPIC study cohort who were between the ages of 20 and 70 upon enrollment.  Dietary questionnaire responses were analyzed for intake of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinones (vitamin K2).

Vitamin K1 intake among the study participants averaged 200 micrograms per day and vitamin K2 intake averaged 31 micrograms per day.  Over a median follow-up period of 10.3 years, 918 cases of type 2 diabetes were diagnosed.  Adjusted analysis of the data uncovered a 19 percent lower risk of developing diabetes in men and women whose vitamin K1 intake was among the highest 25 percent of subjects compared with those whose intake was among the lowest fourth.

A linear inverse relationship was observed between vitamin K2 and the development of diabetes.  For each 10 microgram increment increase in intake, a 7 percent reduction in risk was noted.  Greater consumption of vitamin K2 was also associated with improved blood lipids and reduced levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

The study is the first to investigate the relationship between type 2 diabetes and vitamin K intake. The authors of the report remark that vitamin K could lower diabetes risk via an influence on calcium metabolism, yet adjusting for calcium and vitamin D intake did not affect the associations uncovered in the current research. A reduction in inflammation secondary to greater vitamin K intake, which has been suggested by the findings of in vitro and observational studies, could also improve insulin sensitivity and lower diabetes risk.

“The findings of this study show that both phylloquinone and menaquinones intake may be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes,” the authors conclude. “For phylloquinone intake, these risk reductions occurred at higher levels of intake, while for menaquinones a linear inverse association was observed.”

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