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Vitamin K Combats Insulin Resistance in Elderly Men
By Daniel H. Rasolt
Posted: Friday, November 28, 2008
(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- A recent study has
demonstrated that vitamin K slows the progression of insulin resistance in
elderly men, but has little effect on elderly women.
is a precursor, as well as a characteristic of, type 2 diabetes. Insulin
resistance results in high blood-glucose levels, which occur because of
diminished ability to utilize insulin, which is produced in the pancreas.
Insulin's primary function is to convert sugar into energy, hence the higher
levels of glucose in the blood associated with insulin resistance. Weight,
genetics and age are some of the leading risk factors for insulin
The study focused on 355 elderly men and women between 60-80
years of age. None had diabetes, but due to their age are a high risk group with
high incidence of insulin resistance. 500 milligram vitamin K supplements were
given to both the men and women, while a control group was established that only
received a multivitamin with significantly less vitamin K. Both groups were also
given calcium and vitamin D supplements, though those played little role in the
observations of the study. It's noted by the authors that while vitamin K
supplements were given to the participants in this study, sufficient levels of
vitamin K can be attained by consuming vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and
other leafy greens.
The results of the study were very clear. "Men who
received vitamin K supplementation had less progression in their insulin
resistance by the end of the clinical trial. Conversely, we saw progression in
insulin resistance in women who received vitamin K supplementation, and in the
men or women who were not given vitamin K supplements," says study author Dr.
While it appears clear that vitamin K can slow down insulin
resistance in elderly men, there are some potential complications to the
correlation, both in men and women. Dr. Booth cautions that "Vitamin K is stored
in fat tissue. If there is excess fat, vitamin K may not be readily available to
cells that require it to process glucose." This means that for overweight
individuals, both men and women, supplemental vitamin K may not be as effective.
And to confuse matters more, Dr. Booth admits that "In our study, there was a
higher prevalence of obese or overweight women in the vitamin K supplementation
group compared to the male supplementation group," making the seemingly negative
results of vitamin K supplementation with women somewhat more inconclusive. The
study was also only conducted on caucasians, giving no firm basis for whether
the connection can translate to all races. "Also, our study is limited to
caucasian adults. We acknowledge our findings may not apply to the general
population," says Dr. Booth.
Even with the limitations of the study, the
results provide a substantial basis for further investigation into the
connection. Insulin resistance, and the progression towards diabetes, is of
frequent occurrence in the elderly, and any way to halt this process, would
invariably bring a better quality of, and perhaps a longer, life.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Booth, Sarah. Grossman, Andrea. Diabetes Care news release. November 2008.
Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.
Copyright © 2008 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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