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The Surprising Longevity Benefits of Vitamin K

September 2014

By Judy Ramirez

Vitamin K And Cancer

Studies of vitamin K intake reveal potent preventive properties against several types of cancer, including prostate, colon, and liver cancers.46

When prostate cancer cells in culture are treated with vitamin K2, both those sensitive to male hormones (androgens) and those resistant to male hormones are unable to reproduce, and eventually die.47 Vitamin K2 has been associated with a 63% lower risk of advanced prostate cancer in men with the highest intake of the nutrient.7 Similarly, a higher ratio of vitamin K-activated osteocalcin versus inactive osteocalcin correlates closely with reduced prostate cancer risk, demonstrating the molecular connection.48

In human colon cancer cells, vitamin K2 has been shown to induce cancer cell death by several different mechanisms and to suppress the growth of colon tumors implanted into mice.49,50

Supplementation studies also reveal vitamin K’s powerful effect on the most common kind of liver cancer, called hepatocellular carcinoma. This cancer is almost always associated with alcoholism or hepatitis B or C infection.51 Although surgical or radiation treatment can destroy the primary tumor, recurrence is common and typically determines the long-term prognosis.52,53 Several human studies show that vitamin K2 supplementation can dramatically reduce the recurrence rate in hepatocellular carcinoma and may impact the survival rate as well.52,53

As with most nutrients, vitamin K is not the single answer to cancer prevention, but it shows tremendous promise, which highlights the importance of maintaining adequate levels through boosting your intake. A large European study showed that cancer death was 28% less likely overall in those with the highest versus lowest intakes of vitamin K2.54

Impact Of Vitamin K2 Supplement On Liver Cancer Patients53

Recurrence Rate, %

Survival Rate, %

12 mo

24 mo

36 mo

12 mo

24 mo

36 mo

Vitamin K2 45 mg/day

12.5

39.0

64.3

100

96.6

87.0

Controls

55.2

83.2

91.6

96.4

80.9

64.0

Summary

A recent large study confirms that people with the highest vitamin K intakes are significantly less likely to die from any cause, compared with those having the lowest intakes.

Because of its unique ability to activate proteins involved in atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, diabetes, and cancer, vitamin K is capable of opposing many of the leading causes of death in modern-day Americans. A host of new studies details the impact of vitamin K supplementation on preventing these, and possibly other, major age-related diseases.

Once considered just a blood coagulation vitamin, vitamin K2 has now achieved the status of a multi-function vitamin. If you are interested in a longer and healthier life, consider supplementing with this often- overlooked nutrient.

If you are taking a blood-thinning drug, check first with your doctor to coordinate doses and follow-up testing.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

The Dangers Of Blood Thinners
Tart Cherry Juice Versus Extract

People at risk for dangerous blood clots include those with various heart rhythm abnormalities (e.g., atrial fibrillation),59 as well as those with artificial heart valves,60 stents, and other hardware, and those at risk for certain kinds of strokes. For these people, blood-thinning drugs known as anticoagulants offer significant protection.26

But many traditional blood thinners, such as Coumadin® (warfarin), act specifically by inhibiting the action of vitamin K to produce clotting proteins. The emerging science of vitamin K is revealing a disturbing fact: While inhibiting vitamin K action on blood clotting proteins, these drugs also inhibit other vitamin K-dependent proteins, including the matrix Gla protein that naturally prevents arterial calcification.26

Studies in both animals and humans now show that the use of anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin), while effective at clot prevention, do indeed accelerate arterial calcification, placing patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disasters.61,62 The good news is that by supplementing with low-dose vitamin K, you may help rescue arteries from calcification induced by warfarin.63

However, if you are taking a blood-thinning drug, DO NOT stop using it and DO NOT begin any vitamin K supplementation on your own. Instead, speak with your doctor about starting a vitamin K supplement at a proper dose. With careful monitoring of coagulation tests, you are likely to find a balance between the benefits and the risks of anticoagulant use.64,65

Newer blood-thinning drugs such as Pradaxa® (dabigatran) and Eliquis® (apixaban) are not affected by vitamin K intake, meaning you can take full-dose vitamin K and not compromise the desired anticoagulant effects.

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