Bone fractures can be life-changing events, especially as we age, when hip fractures can become particularly damaging, leading to disability, compromised independence, and increased risk of mortality.
But research from Edith Cowan University’s Health and Nutrition Innovation Research Institute has revealed that there may be something you can do to help reduce your risk of fractures in the future.
In collaboration with the University of Western Australia, the study looked at the relationship between fracture-related hospitalizations and vitamin K1 intake in nearly 1,400 older Australian women over a 14.5-year period from the Perth Longitudinal Study of Elderly Women.
It found that women who consumed more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K1, equivalent to about 125 g of dark, leafy vegetables, or one to two servings of vegetables, were 31% less likely to suffer a fracture compared with participants who they consumed less than 60 micrograms per day, which is the current adequate intake guideline for vitamin K in Australia for women.
There were even more positive results regarding hip fractures, with those who ate the most vitamin K1 cutting their risk of hospitalization by almost half (49 percent).
Study leader Dr. Marc Sim said the results were further evidence of the benefits of vitamin K1, which has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health.
“Our results are independent of many established factors for fracture rates, including body mass index, calcium intake, vitamin D status, and prevalent disease,” he said.
“Basic studies of vitamin K1 have identified a critical role in the carboxylation of vitamin K1-dependent bone proteins, such as osteocalcin, which is believed to improve bone hardness.
“A previous ECU trial indicates that dietary vitamin K1 intake of less than 100 micrograms per day may be too low for this carboxylation.
“Vitamin K1 may also promote bone health by inhibiting various bone resorption agents.”
So what should we eat and how much?
Dr. Sim said that eating more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 a day was ideal, and luckily not too difficult to achieve.
“Daily consumption of this amount of vitamin K1 can be easily achieved by consuming 75 to 150 g, equal to one to two servings, of vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage,” he said.
“It’s another reason to follow public health guidelines, which recommend a higher intake of vegetables, including one to two servings of green, leafy vegetables, which is in line with the recommendations from our study.”
Foods rich in vitamin K1
Vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, green beans
fruits: prunes, kiwi, avocado
Materials provided by Edith Cowan University. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.