A healthy and balanced diet is important for our well-being as it supplies nutrients for our body to function effectively. This is especially so for our elderly. Eating well will boost our elderly’s immune system, reduce their blood pressure, manage their cholesterol and sugar levels, and increase cognitive function. The 6 essential nutrients for our health are proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, water, mineral, and vitamins.
Vitamins are vital for fighting off disease. One unfamiliar vitamin that is not much talked about is vitamin K. Vitamin K is known for its blood clotting properties and plays a critical role in preventing excessive bleeding. In recent years, many experts suggest that vitamin K for aging adults has deeper benefits.
Vascular calcification is a built-up of calcium in the blood vessels and also in the valves of the heart. It is a prevalent condition in aging adults, commonly conceptualized as arterial stiffness. There is currently no effective treatment for escalated arterial stiffness. Experts suggest that vitamin K protects against this hostile calcium build-up in the vascular system, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Our cognitive abilities decline gradually as we age, including impairments to attention, problem-solving, and memory retrieval. However, a rapid cognitive decline is usually an indicator of dementia. According to a review, at least six studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between inferior vitamin K levels and deteriorated cognitive performances in and above 65 years group. One of the studies reported a superior verbal episodic memory in a group above 70 years with higher vitamin K levels.
Bone and Joint Health
Several human intervention studies have demonstrated that vitamin K helps to increase bone mineral density in people with osteoporosis and helps reduce fracture rates. There are several proteins essential for bone health that require the presence of vitamin K in the body to work effectively. Osteocalcin is one of the vitamin K-dependent proteins that are present in bone involved in bone mineralization or turnover. Matrix Gla-protein that has a high proclivity binding to calcium ions is another vitamin K-dependent protein. This protein is present in vascular smooth bone, cartilage, and muscle to reduce abnormal calcification. There is also evidence that vitamin D works synergistically with vitamin K to modulate bone metabolism. In some countries, vitamin K is prescribed for osteoporosis treatment.
Source of Vitamin K
The main source of vitamin K from our body is produced through the synthesis of proteins in bacteria found in the large intestine. Vitamin K which is a lipid-soluble vitamin is stored throughout the body: liver, brain, pancreas, bone, and heart. Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon in most people as you should be able to get sufficient vitamin K from a balanced diet. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale contain high levels of vitamin K. You can also get vitamin K from soybean, blueberries, carrots, meat, and eggs.
Vitamin K, just like other body essential nutrients, is vital for our body to function effectively. This is especially important for our elderly as a well-balanced diet can help our loved ones prevent chronic health conditions, feel stronger and enjoy their golden years.