Vitamins B and C may be hot topics in the world of wellness, but when was the last time you thought about your vitamin K consumption? Not only does it have a number of incredible health benefits like fighting arthritis and improving your vision, but according to one study, vitamin K could also be key for long-term heart health.
Recently, Australian researchers from New Edith Cowan University wanted to see how vitamin K impacts people’s overall cardiovascular well-being and call into question whether current daily vitamin K recommendations are enough to aid in heart heart. Using data from the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health survey over a 23-year period, they tracked the vitamin K consumption and the prevalence of heart issues and hospitalizations in over 50,000 participants. In particular, they looked at two key types of the compound: Vitamin K1, which comes from leafy greens and plant-based oils, and vitamin K2, which is largely found in dairy products like eggs and cheese, as well as fermented foods.
From their research, scientists discovered that participants who had higher levels of vitamin K1 consumption had up to a 21 percent lower risk of being hospitalized for a heart-related episode. People with high vitamin K2 consumption also saw a 14 percent decrease in risk of a heart-related hospitalization. Even more impressive, all subjects who ate bigger amounts vitamin K saw their risk of heart disease drop 34 percent, particularly when it comes to atherosclerosis, which is a common medical problem where plaque builds up in the arteries.
While scientists think there’s still more work to do, they believe that their study shows that daily vitamin K guidelines may need to undergo a change. “Current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate,” Nicole Bondonno, a senior researcher on the study, said in a statement. “However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis.” Going forward, they want to focus on increased upticks in vitamin K2 consumption.
Want to improve your own vitamin K intake and get those heart health benefits? Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are an excellent start, as are vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts. Chicken, kiwi, avocado, eggs, and cheeses can also do the trick. Just make sure you talk to your doctor before you make any bigger changes to your diet!