Vitamin K Shows Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin K for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease (Review) by Hartley L, Clar C, Ghannam O, Flowers N, Stranges S, Rees K.

“A deficiency in vitamin K has been associated with increased calcium deposition and coronary artery calcification, which may lead to cardiovascular disease.”

Vitamin K is a group of beneficial, fat-soluble vitamins that aid in regulating calcium in the blood, bone metabolism, and blood clotting. This vitamin is essential for producing prothrombin, a protein that is important for the functions mentioned above.

A deficiency of vitamin K can lead to an increase in blood clotting, which can cause excessive bleeding and hemorrhage. The vitamin K group contains two types of vitamins: K1 and K2. The former vitamin is the important one and is mostly found in leafy green vegetables, while the latter is found in animal products and fermented food.

Vitamin K1 Food Sources

  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts

Vitamin K2 Food Sources

  • Natto
  • Soft cheese
  • Pork sausages
  • Hard cheese
  • Chicken (especially the leg and thigh)
  • Pork chop (with the bone)
  • Egg yolk

In order to know which vitamin K reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, you need to know the difference between the two vitamins.

Differences Between Vitamin K1 and K2

As mentioned earlier, the production of prothrombin is how vitamin K boosts the body’s blood clotting process and other functions. However, vitamins K1 and K2 are absorbed and transported differently in the body, which means they benefit the body differently too.

Vitamin K1 is absorbed poorly by the body because it’s plant-based. In fact, less than 10% K1 is absorbed by the body. On the other hand, K2 is found in fatty foods, which means its absorption rate is much better. By eating healthy food, vitamin K is better absorbed, which is why K2 circulates longer in the blood. It can remain in the body for days, which is why it is better used by the tissues. On the other hand, K1 is used by the liver.

Vitamin K and Cardiovascular Disease

Calcium deposits can lead to heart problems. The activation of a protein by vitamin K in the body can prevent calcium deposits from blocking the arteries. Since calcium leads to the buildup of plaque, a deficiency in vitamin K can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Since K2 remains longer in the body, it is better at protecting the heart. According to a study published in the journal of Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases (NMCD), vitamin K2 is good at lowering the risk associated with coronary heart disease. Another study published in the journal Atherosclerosis looked at 564 post-menopausal women who were given phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2). The results showed that K2 worked significantly better than K1 in reducing coronary calcification.

This brings us to the conclusion that vitamin K2 works better at protecting the heart from calcium deposits.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA Linked to Healthy Aging

How many times have you heard that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is good for your health? The first thought that probably comes to your mind after hearing this is, “I’m gonna eat more fish from now on.” Yes, fish is the number one item on the list of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but why are these fatty acids important for your body?

For one, they have numerous health benefits. In total, there are 11 types of omega-3 fatty acids, which include:

  1. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  2. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  3. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
  4. Stearidonic acid (SDA)
  5. Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)
  6. Hexadecatrienoic acid (HTA)
  7. Eicosatrienoic acid (ETE)
  8. Tetracosapentaenoic acid
  9. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
  10. Tetracosahexaenoic acid
  11. Heneicosapentaenoic acid (HPA)

However, not all of these omega-3 fatty acids are created equal. The most important among these are the top three: EPA, ALA, and DHA. ALA is found in plants, while DHA and EPA are found in specific animal foods such as fatty fish.

Understanding Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are beneficial for numerous body functions. According to a research published in the Journal of Lipid Search, they are recognized as a “good source of energy.” They also help in other bodily processes such as brain function, heart health, and preventing inflammation.

Inflammation plays a vital role in leaving the body vulnerable to diseases and infections. According to a study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, increase in inflammation leads to a higher risk of impaired body functions.

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and Healthy Aging

EPA offers numerous health benefits. It improves eye health, promotes brain health, reduces the risk factors associated with heart disease, lowers metabolic syndrome symptoms, fights autoimmune diseases, prevents cancer, alleviates menstrual pain, and enhances sleep.

When it comes to healthy aging, EPA can fight various age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. According to a research published in Neurology, several studies have proved that regular fish consumption can delay the onset of dementia.

Arthritis and osteoporosis are two disorders that affect the skeletal system in the elderly. According to a study published in Aging (Milan, Italy), seniors can strengthen their bones by increasing their calcium intake. It was revealed that EPA enhances calcium absorption, which leads to more calcium being deposited in the bones.

A study published in the BMJ journal studies the effects of different mega-3 fatty acids in great detail. 2,622 participants aged 74 were given food items such as fish, leafy green vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Their n-3 PUFA (omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) levels were measured for EPA, DHA, and ALA between 6 and 13 years. The results showed that amongst the 3 fatty acids, EPA levels were the highest and the acid was 24% effective in promoting healthy aging.

This brings us to the conclusion that while the body needs all omega-3 fatty acids, a boost in EPA can help the elderly live a healthy and happy life.

Spice Check –The Anti-Inflammatory Response of Turmeric and Ginger

The color yellow carries various meanings. It denotes clarity, energy, positivity, happiness, and more. You might have never thought about this, but even the color of your food plays a huge role in whether you will eat it or not. Today, “leading a healthy lifestyle” has become a mantra. People are gravitating towards natural foods and supplements. From vitamin tablets to protein powder… the diet food market offers everything you need to fulfill your recommended nutrients intake.

But wait a minute… are diet supplements really what you should be going for? Well, if your body lacks certain vitamins or other minerals, then you should definitely consider this option. What we are talking about here are natural supplements… spices to be exact. There are hundreds of spices, each with their unique ability. Cinnamon is known for being loaded with antioxidants, rosemary is known as the perfect arterial protector, thyme is a strong infection inhibitor, oregano is known as a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent, mint is known for the gastrointestinal relief it provides, and the list goes on.

The spices we are going to talk about today are ginger and turmeric. Before we begin, let’s discuss their origin:

The Origin of Ginger

Ginger Root

The ancient Chinese and Indians used ginger root to create tonics for treating common ailments. It is believed ginger was first cultivated in Southeast Asia, and it soon spread to other countries. The spice dates back 5,000 years and was celebrated by the Romans for its healing powers. In the 1st century, ginger reached the Mediterranean regions. It was considered one of the most powerful spices in Rome, but with the downfall of the Roman Empire, ginger lost its worth. After a few years, it rose back up again and was then used for making delicacies.

The Origin of Turmeric

Turmeric dates back 4,500 years, and its traces were found in pots in New Delhi. These pots dated back to 2,500 BCE. It wasn’t until 500 BCE that this spice emerged in Ayurvedic medicine. It was discovered that inhaling turmeric fumes can alleviate congestion and the juice helped with wounds and bruises. Turmeric is known for its compound curcumin, which can tackle just about any degenerative condition linked to the nervous system, heart, and brain.

The Power of Curcumin – An Anti-Inflammatory Compound

Inflammation is great for the body as it helps in fighting against foreign infectious invaders and repairing the damage. Without inflammation fighting bacteria, there’s a possibility that harmful pathogens might kills you.

The compound curcumin is so effective that it even surpasses the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. It helps block the molecule NF-kB, which travels to different cell nuclei and stimulates inflammation genes.  

According to a study published in the Foods journal on the health benefit of curcumin, the spice increased inflammation-related neutrophil function. The participants of the study aged between 40 and 60 years old were given 400 mg powder/day that contained 80 mg curcumin, for four weeks. *These adults had no specific ailments. The results revealed that not only their inflammation response was improved but the spice also lowered triglyceride levels, salivary amylase activity (marker of stress) and beta amyloid plaque (brain aging marker). Further test showed that curcumin also helped people manage exercise-induced muscle soreness and inflammation.

Ginger’s Anti-Inflammatory Response

The studies on ginger relating to its anti-inflammatory response are quite contradictory. However, there are hundreds of studies conducted on its benefits. The compounds in ginger are known for their ability to treat a common health problem called Osteoarthritis (OA). This disease involves degeneration of joints that lead to symptoms such as joint stiffness and pain. Ginger has somewhat the same NF-kB response.

According to a study published in the Arthritis & Rheumatology journal, ginger has great anti-inflammatory response. 261 participants with OA having different level of pain took part in the study. For 6 weeks, the patients receive extract of ginger, which they had to take twice daily. The results showed that pain from the OA in the knee reduced significantly.

So now you know how powerful these two spices are! Why not start using them daily in your food? As studies have proved, even if you are not sick, they will still benefit your health.