Woman with a risk of Alzheimer's looking at family photos

Want to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s? Remember to Take Your Vitamin K

Want to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s? Remember to Take Your Vitamin K

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

Are you getting enough vitamin K? It's time to find out, because a new scientific review published in Nutrients proposed that the same vitamin linked to healthy bones and arteries may potentially also cut down your risk of Alzheimer's disease, a severe state of cognitive decline with no cure that affects more than six million Americans—and is estimated to affect 11 to 16 million individuals by 2050 in the United States alone.

How vitamin K helps prevent the risk of Alzheimer's

Vitamin K has a long-standing reputation as an essential vitamin, because of its power to not only strengthen our bones, but also help keep our arteries healthy.

A recent review of scientific literature suggested that vitamin K might also benefit brain health. Researchers compiled all the various benefits of the vitamin, indicating that one form showed promise in potentially helping to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, which is known for causing cognitive decline.

According to the Alzheimer's Organization, "Vitamin K reduces nerve cell death by protecting nerves from harmful substances in the brain. Furthermore, the gene which often results in Alzheimer's also results in a lower metabolic production of Vitamin K in the individual."

In addition, an earlier study found that patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease consumed less vitamin K than the control subjects who showed no signs of the disease.

What form of vitamin K may help with Alzheimer's disease?

Vitamin K comes in various forms, and each one provides different benefits for your body, especially when it comes to maintaining cardiovascular and bone health. So let's take a look at the two most common forms of vitamin K and how they differ.

    Vitamin K1

    Vitamin K1 is the most common form in our diets and plays a vital role in blood clotting and regulating bone calcium levels.

    Vitamin K2

    Vitamin K2, meanwhile, is essential to maintaining strong, healthy bones and flexible arteries. The new review article suggests that K2 may help stave off neuroinflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, while promoting healthy cognition, cardiovascular health and more.

What are food sources of vitamin K?

So now that you know that vitamin K is chock full of benefits, you'll probably be asking yourself, "How can I get more of it in my diet?" Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as it seems. Green leafy vegetables, which are great for your health, are chock full of vitamin K1. The problem is that vitamin K1 is poorly absorbed when our diet is the only source.

Vitamin K2 is the form that scientists believe is taking the point position in the fight against Alzheimer's. You can find many of the K2 forms in meat, eggs and dairy products.

But that leads us to a good news, bad news situation. The good news? The amount of K2 you need is primarily measured in micrograms (that's mcg—a very small amount). The bad news? There are only trace amounts of these nutrients in even the food considered to be "rich" in vitamin K2.

So, in order for you to get the clinically studied doses of vitamin K2 for bone and artery health, you would need to put away over 17 pounds of hard cheddar cheese to get the various forms!

A much healthier plan of attack is intake of a scientifically validated vitamin K.



About Our Story Sources

The Life Extension Health News team delivers accurate information about vitamins, nutrition and aging. Our stories rely on multiple, authoritative sources and experts. We keep our content accurate and trustworthy, by submitting it to a medical reviewer.