Older adults are more likely to suffer from mobility limitation and disability if they are deficient in vitamin K, according to a new study. Researchers from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University conducted the study.
The is the first time a link has been made between biomarkers of vitamin K status and the onset of mobility limitation and disability in older adults. "Because of our growing population of older people, it's important for us to understand the variety of risk factors for mobility disability," study author Kyla Shea, a nutrition scientist in the Vitamin K Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University, told a news portal. Adding, "Low vitamin K status has been associated with the onset of chronic diseases that lead to disability, but the work to understand this connection is in its infancy. Here, we're building on previous studies that found that low levels of circulating vitamin K are associated with slower gait speed and a higher risk of osteoarthritis."
For the study, researchers investigated two biomarkers: circulating levels of vitamin K (phylloquinone) and a functional measure of vitamin K (plasma ucMGP).They used data from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (Health ABC) for their research, which included 635 men and 688 women between the ages 70-79 years old. Mobility of these adults was assessed every six months for almost 10 years. The results showed older adults were 1.5 times more likely to develop mobility limitation and disability if they had low levels of circulating vitamin K. However, the results were unclear on whether plasma ucMGP, the second biomarker has the same impact.
"The connection we saw with low levels of circulating vitamin K further supports vitamin K's association with mobility disability," Sarah Booth, a vitamin K and nutrition researcher, and director of the HNRCA, told a news portal. Adding, "Although the two biomarkers we looked at are known to reflect vitamin K status, biomarker levels can also be affected by additional known or unknown factors. Further experiments to understand the mechanisms of biomarkers and vitamin K and their role in mobility are needed."
Kale, spinach and broccoli are very rich sources of vitamin K you should add to your diet. The study's findings were originally published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.