|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and can lead to devastating breaks, especially in the wrists, spine and hips. In a breakthrough study, researchers have established a connection between vitamin K2 intake and improved bone health in postmenopausal women, potentially delaying the onset of osteoporosis.
The study included 244 postmenopausal women between the ages of 55 and 65. over the course of three years, half of the women took 180 mg daily of a low dose vitamin K2 supplement while the other half took a supplement.
At the conclusion of the study, the women taking the placebo had a 1.5% decline in bone mineral density (BMD), while the supplement group had a less than 0.5% decline in BMD. The supplement group had 50% lower levels of circulating inactive osteocalcin, while the placebo group had 4% lower levels.
Inactive osteocalcin is a protein that relies on vitamin K. It helps your body turn calcium into bone tissue but can’t become active without vitamin K.
The study was conducted by researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. It as published in the March 2013 issue of Osteoporosis International.
Vitamin K actually comes in two main forms: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones). Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and makes up about 90% of the vitamin K consumption in a western diet.
Vitamin K2 is harder to come by and therefore makes up only 10% of consumption. It is most common in fermented foods like cheese but can also be found in meat and soybeans. Both vitamin K1 and K2 can also be found in supplement form.