Eat Your Healthy Veggies: Vitamin K Deficiency is Associated With Knee Arthritis

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Vitamin K arthritis

What is Vitamin K arthritis and is vitamin K deficiency related to knee arthritis? The story of how nutrition could be related to arthritis is now unfolding  I’ve blogged on the controversy about whether Vitamin D deficiency is associated with arthritis. Now comes a new research study that seems to connect a lack of vitamin K to knee arthritis. What the heck is Vitamin K? Well, it’s found in mostly healthy veggies like Kale, Spinach, Collards, Chard, Turnips, Broccoli  Brussels Spouts, Cabbage, and Asparagus. In this study, the researchers looked at the Vitamin K status of more than 1,000 people and found that those with the lowest Vitamin K levels had more knee arthritis on x-ray and MRI. What can cause Vitamin K deficiency outside of not eating healthy? The drug Coumadin (a.k.a. Warfarin) is a big cause. This powerful drug given to prevent blood clots actually works by blocking the body from naturally recycling Vitamin K, which is usually involved in blood clotting. Patients on antibiotics also can develop Vitamin K deficiencies through the medication killing off normal gut bacteria. Vitamin K2 has also been shown to prevent fractures by 87% in patients with osteoporosis. A word of caution, this was an observational study, so while it looks like this study showed an association, we really don’t know yet if taking more Vitamin K or eating your veggies will prevent arthritis. Are there other studies that draw similar conclusions? Yes. One showed that Vitamin K might be involved in bone turnover as lower levels were found in arthritic knee bones. In addition, a large Japanese study also showed that low Vitamin D intake was associated with more knee arthritis. Finally, a 2008 study of almost 400 patients with hand arthritis showed trends toward less arthritis in those patients who were vitamin K deficient and were given Vitamin K supplements (but this didn’t get to statistical significance). The authors thought a larger trial should be done. This study used 500 mg of Vitamin K1 a day. The upshot? Concerned about vitamin K arthritis? It can’t hurt to eat your healthy veggies every day!

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