Is Vitamin K An Anti Aging Vitamin?
Vitamin K is a powerful anti-aging nutrient that is often lacking in people’s modern diets.
Yet, somehow it’s often a vitamin that very few people have heard about. Phylloquinone, also known as vitamin K1, is found in plants. When people eat it, the bacteria in the large intestine convert it into its storage form, vitamin K2, which is then absorbed in the small intestine and stored in fatty tissue and the liver.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a group of compounds that are primarily used to help blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding. This vitamin is also used to help with a number of other bodily functions, including bone metabolism.
This vitamin is not usually used as a dietary requirement and therefore many people suffer from moderate deficiency. Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds, the most important and prominent of these compounds being K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone).
Obtaining the correct amount of Vitamin K is achievable by eating a healthy, balanced diet, though you may be able to find a supplement if you are not getting the correct amount.
However, Vitamin K isn’t just great for day-to-day health improvements, it’s also great for anti-aging in skincare products, helping in supporting the brain throughout aging and supporting bones and producing the protein needed to keep them strong.
The Triage Theory of Aging:
In 2010, Professor Bruce Ames shared his theory of aging with a presentation titled ‘A Diet for Health and Longevity: Micronutrients’. In 2011 he updated the titled to ‘Prevention of Age-Associated Diseases by Optimizing Micronutrient Intake: Triage Theory’.
Within this theory, he predicted that when moderate shortages of even just a single micronutrient could, in the future, have effects and impair for essential, long-term health. Therefore, suggesting even moderate nutrient deficiencies could lead to accelerated aging.
Modest vitamin and mineral deficiencies are quite common and unrecognizable due to the lack of symptoms. If sophisticated supplementation was put in place, improvements could be made with deficiencies and there would be a chance that later life diseases such as; cancer, heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s could be improved.
‘An inexpensive intervention could delay the degenerative diseases accompanying aging, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and immune dysfunction,’ Professor Bruce Ames.
In his research, Professor Bruce Ames came up with the ’40 Essential Micronutrients’ which are needed in order to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These include;
- Vitamin K
- Folic Acid
Due to the research which has been completed, it gives a new consistent strategy for working out the optimal vitamin and mineral intake.
Benefits of Vitamin K:
Vitamin K has a number of health benefits both inside and outside of the body which can lead to a better aging result.
Reducing wrinkles and maintaining skin elasticity with Vitamin K skin care:
Vitamin K is beneficial for a number of reasons including; reduced cancer risk of certain cancers, proper blood clotting and preventing bruising, it’s also great for your skin. You may have noticed that Vitamin K has become more popular with skincare and it’s something companies really like to advertise.
The vitamin K helps maintain the elasticity of your skin which helps prevent wrinkles which of course means you have glowing, youthful skin for longer.
There is a hereditary condition called pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) which results in severe skin wrinkling. This is due to there being calcification of elastic fibers which is caused by a high concentration of calcium and phosphate. This can be reduced by a specific protein which is thought to be activated by Vitamin K dependent enzymes.
As mentioned before, Vitamin K significantly improves blood circulation which has been noticed and used by cosmetic companies. Cosmetic companies mainly use Vitamin K to formulate moisturizers, skin creams, lotions and face masks as a way for the skin to absorb and improve by soaking in as much Vitamin K as possible.
Using a Vitamin K based product will help improve wrinkles in the corner of eyes, enhancing the structure and color of the skin and in normalizing the water-fat balance in at the same time. So, if you’re looking to get plumper, younger looking skin, Vitamin K could be the answer you are looking for.
Vitamin K has also been known to be beneficial for blotchy, problem skin and fighting dark circles underneath the eyes. This is because the Vitamin penetrates the skin pores and reaches the damaged capillary or artery which is causing the decoloring.
When it reaches said capillary or artery, it works to help with the blood clotting process and stops any seepage which causes blotchy, discolored skin. This helps the skin to repair itself to its natural color.
By using a mixture of skin care products which are Vitamin K based, keeping a healthy, balanced diet and using supplements when needed, you should see an impressive improvement with skin coloring and/or damage, whether that be wrinkles or blotchiness.
Brain support through aging:
In our brains, there is a large concentration of Vitamin K (mainly Vitamin K2). It is thought that diets with a higher Vitamin K intake, means that Vitamin K2 builds up in the brain which helps support brain activity throughout the process of aging.
There is an important, powerful, natural antioxidant in our bodies called Glutathione (GSH) which also acts as an anti-inflammatory and antitoxin enzyme. It is thought that having low GSH levels is related to a number of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
A concentrated amount of vitamin K1 and K2 protect neurons in the brain, of course, dependent on the dosage is taken of Vitamin K, but also protect myelin-producing cells from cell death which has been thought to be related to GSH depletion.
Within the brain, there are some Vitamin K dependent Gla proteins like Gas6 which are thought to have a role in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Studies have shown that Vitamin K in both of its forms (Vitamin K1 and K2) help prevent block injury to the brain cells which are caused by free radicals.
By consuming more Vitamin K, alongside other vitamins and minerals, it is thought that the brain’s activity and cells will be healthier and more protected from the effects which are known for causing later life neurological diseases.
Improved bone health with Vitamin K:
Vitamin K plays an important role in our bone metabolism and in optimizing bone health. It is required for a successful chemical modification of certain proteins in a process called carboxylation.
In this, Vitamin K helps activate a protein called Matrix Gla Protein which circulates the blood and comes together in supporting cartilage and bone. As well as this, Vitamin K is needed to activate osteocalcin, the protein which circulates the blood and binds calcium ions together with the matrix of the bone.
Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease due to low bone mass and micro-architectural deterioration of bone tissue. Due to this, bones brittle and more likely to break due to bones becoming denser. In this process, there is more osteoclast activity than there is osteoblast activity – meaning osteoporosis is formed.
In the human body, there it is unlikely that any bone is more than 10 years old. Old bone is continually being soaked up and new bone is being built. Your body uses Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and protein to do this.
If you have a low Vitamin K2 intake, the proteins which need to activate to support your cartilage and bone could have a significant play as to whether or not you experience osteoporosis later on in life.
Are you getting enough Vitamin K?
Making sure you consume enough Vitamin K is important not only for your aging process keeping your bones strong and less frail, skin looking youthful and glowing, but also help avoid excessive bleeding which are common factors with this process.
If you are not sure you are suffering from a Vitamin K deficiency lookout for symptoms and speak to your doctor if you are concerned.
- Gum bleeding
- Problems with blood clotting
- Heavy menstruation for women
- Gastrointestinal tract bleeding
Though these are not directly linked with ‘aging’ keeping your body strong and healthy, will help with the aging process and mean your body can stay strong throughout. Each of these symptoms could play a part in making you look and feel as though you are aging quicker than expected, so making sure your Vitamin K intake is right is incredibly important.
How to get more Vitamin K:
It is very uncommon to find yourself with a Vitamin K deficiency if you maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet. It is rather uncommon to find yourself with this sort of deficiency as leafy greens, animal meats and products are a common factor and base of many meals.
Why modern diets often lack Vitamin K:
With fad diets becoming more popular and more people turning to vegetarianism and veganism as part of their lifestyle, Vitamin K is starting to lack in some people’s diets. On the other hand, with highly processed foods becoming more convenient and popular for many people receiving enough Vitamin K is becoming considerably harder.
If you have recently turned to veganism/vegetarianism you may be worrying about how to get the correct amount of Vitamin K. Vitamin K1 is found in plant-based foods which means that this type of Vitamin is easy for you to consume in your diet. However, even though Vitamin K2 is something which our gut bacteria can produce, it is said the best and easiest way to make sure you are getting enough is to eat animal produced products. Therefore, if you are a vegetarian, consumer products such as cheese and eggs are a great source for Vitamin K2, however, if you are vegan it may be worth looking at introducing a Vitamin K2 supplement for at least the first few months so your body can use to the change.
Highly processed foods are becoming a lot more popular and are being consumed a lot more by a large number of people. Because of this, many people are not receiving the correct, ‘healthy’ number of vitamins and minerals they should be getting. Processed foods tend to not include foods which are not high in Vitamin K. Simply swapping out these foods for healthier, greener foods will help with increasing your daily Vitamin K intake.
Both forms of vitamin K can be found in foods but Vitamin K1 and K2 are found in different food groups. If your diet is full of ultra-processed foods and refined sugars, it may be harder for you to consume a healthy amount of Vitamin K and therefore you may find you suffer from a Vitamin K deficiency and need to take a supplement.
Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone):
This is the most common source for Vitamin K and is found in plant foods like leafy greens and vegetables. K1 is fat-soluble and our bodies are able to store some in the liver though these foods aren’t the most popular in a large number of people’s diets.
K1 is the nutrient which primarily helps with blood clotting.
- Leafy greens such as; kale, spinach etc.
- Spring onions
- Swiss chard
- Brussel Sprouts
- Dried Basil
Vitamin K2 (menaquinone):
Vitamin K2 is found in animal products and fermented foods such as meat, dairy, and natto. It is also produced by the good bacteria that is found in your gut microbiome. You will find that meats from animals which are grass fed are a great source of Vitamin K2.
K2 is the nutrient which helps regulate calcium within the body which helps prevent problems with the cardiovascular, strengthening bones and therefore lowers the risk of Osteoporosis.
- Natto (Japanese fermented soy dish)
(This popular Japanese dish is one of the reason it is thought that the Japanese population tends to suffer less with incidences such as hip fractures and osteoporosis. Though natto is not usually compatible with Western tastes, it can be found in a taken as a daily concentrated supplement.)
- Meats, especially organ meat like liver, kidney etc.
- Egg yolks
- Butter from grass-fed cows
- Meats of grass-fed animals
- Hard cheeses Swiss cheese is popular
If you do find that you are not getting enough Vitamin K or you are worried you may suffer from skeletal and cardiovascular symptoms taking Vitamin K supplements will help in fitting these problems.
It is recommended that adults should consume 0.001mg of Vitamin K a day for each kilogram of their body weight.
Choosing the right Vitamin K supplement:
There are a number of factors to bear in mind when picking out your Vitamin K supplement. Firstly, always speak to a doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about your health and the possibility of having a vitamin deficiency. Speaking to a medical professional is the most effective and efficient way to pick out the best supplement for your needs as they will be able to discuss symptoms you may be experiencing with you in detail.
If you decide you want to add a supplement into your daily routine to help with a moderate vitamin/mineral deficiency, there are a few basic questions to ask yourself and steps to take to help you make the best choice for you.
- Ask yourself why
Asking yourself why you are taking this supplement will make the decision of which supplement to take a lot easier. By narrowing down the reasons why you are taking the supplement, you will be narrowing down the choices of supplements which will help you in improving what you want to improve.
- Long-term, short-term
When it comes to supplements, whether they are made for long-term use or short-term use is a really important factor to think about. Deciding whether you want to add a supplement regularly into your bodily routine will help you in making the decision of which one to pick out from the hundreds which sit on the shelves and warehouses waiting for you to order. Of course, care must be taken when thinking about taking a supplement for a long period of time and research, care and medical advice should be taken when making this decision.
Making sure you pick out the right dosage for what your body need is one of the most important factors. What works for one person may not work for another. Your height, weight, food intake, and age should all be taken into consideration. You should try to avoid exceeding your daily needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Only when it is impossible for you to reach your daily takings through food or if your body cannot contain what it should be, should taking a supplement to be considered.
- Buy on facts, not deals
When researching and purchasing your supplement, make sure you buy on facts, not on deals. So, if you’ve got two supplements and you’re a bit stuck on which to go for, why not look over some customer reviews or take some time to research which one will be more beneficial to your needs. Just because one pot of supplements is a few pounds/dollars cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right one for you, sometimes it’s worth spending those extra few pennies in order to get better results.
Once you’ve picked out the right supplement for you it is important you get into a routine with taking your supplements. You will only see improvements if you take them regularly. Whether you keep it on your bedside table so you are reminded to take either first thing in the morning or last thing at night, whether you decide to set alarms on your phone at a specific time in the day you know you’ll be able to reach over and grab your tablet, getting into a routine of taking your supplement is something that should be a priority, especially at the beginning.
Vitamins which work well alongside Vitamin K:
When taking supplements or when you are trying to up your intake of a certain vitamin or mineral, it is important to find out what other vitamins and mineral are good to support. When taking vitamins and minerals there may be other ones you need in order for them to work at the prime or to help protect from side effects.
If you are taking a Vitamin D supplement, you need Vitamin K2. This is because Vitamin K2 helps with the distribution of calcium to get to where it needs in the body, like bones. If your dosage of Vitamin D is high, but your Vitamin K2 low, your body may react and begin to show signs of a Vitamin D toxicity.
If you are looking to up your intake of Calcium, it is suggested that you do so by consuming calcium high foods like dairy and some vegetables rather than taking a supplement. This is because foods that contain calcium are also high in Vitamin K2. These two vitamins and minerals work really well together because Vitamin K2 helps with the distribution of calcium (as explained above) and that’s why they are found in foods together.
As Vitamin K2 helps to play a part in protecting your body from heart disease, magnesium is also a great component for that by lowering your blood pressure which plays an important part in heart disease.
Note: The best way to ensure your body has sufficient nutrients is to eat a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Supplements should only be used in case of deficiency, and then, under medical supervision.
No tolerable upper limit has been recognized for vitamin K. Toxicity is rare and unlikely to result from eating foods containing vitamin K, but Vitamin K can interact with several common medications. So please use vitamin K and other supplements under advisement