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Integrative Health
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This Underconsumed Nutrient Helps Prevent Falls & Fractures

Nikhita Mahtani
May 26, 2023
Nikhita Mahtani
mbg Contributing Writer
By Nikhita Mahtani
mbg Contributing Writer
Nikhita Mahtani is an NYC-based freelance journalist covering primarily health and design. She graduated with an M.A in Magazine Journalism from New York University.
Image by Fly View Productions / Istock
May 26, 2023

Falls and fractures affect most of the population, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that one in four people 65 years or older fall each year1—and falling once doubles your chances of falling a second time. What's more, these falls can be costly, with up to 20 % of them2 resulting in serious injury, including bone fractures. That's why finding ways to help mitigate your risk of falls and fractures is key. Fortunately, some new research might just point to a nutrient that can help in a big way.

This nutrient is critical to bone health

While we're aware that vitamin D3, calcium4, and protein5 all play huge roles when it comes to bone health, researchers from the United Kingdom and Australia have found that there's another underconsumed nutrient that can help bone health—and it's easier to incorporate than you might think.

The study2 looked at several types of nutrients and their effects on bone health, heavily evaluating one nutrient that most people don't incorporate enough of—vitamin K. The researchers discovered a few key findings regarding vitamin K, namely the following:

The researchers concluded that adequate consumption of vitamin K helps support musculoskeletal growth, which in turn can help prevent falls and fractures. Essentially, they determined that most humans need a daily vitamin K1 intake of a little more than 100 micrograms per day. Therefore, it's important to get enough of this vitamin now to promote bone health down the road and as you age.

How to easily incorporate vitamin K into your life

Invest in a great multivitamin. The easiest way to add more vitamin K to your diet is to take a multivitamin, especially since studies have found that supplementing with vitamin K7 can help prevent chronic bone conditions as you age. Check out the best multivitamins here.

Add more leafy greens to your meals. Consuming dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, as well as cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, has been shown to effectively help you meet your recommended vitamin K intake6. So cook those veggies and add a huge salad to your lunch. You won't regret it!

Get your protein from a few meat sources. One study indicated that vegans were at a higher risk of fractures due to low protein, vitamin D, and vitamin K levels. If you don't eat meat, be sure to incorporate other forms of protein into your diet and up your vitamin K supplementation.

Watch your antibiotic use. According to Harvard researchers, antibiotic medicines may destroy vitamin-K-producing bacteria in the gut. This could potentially decrease vitamin K levels, especially if you take the medicine for more than a few weeks. While antibiotics can be necessary and lifesaving, only take them as needed and follow this gut-restoring protocol after you finish a round.

The takeaway

A recent study has determined that adding adequate amounts of vitamin K to your diet can help prevent fractures and falls, as well as aid bone health, especially among older women. While many people do not consume adequate amounts of this nutrient, there are plenty of easy ways to add vitamin K to your diet on a daily basis, such as taking a supplement or incorporating more leafy greens into your meals.

Nikhita Mahtani author page.
Nikhita Mahtani
mbg Contributing Writer

Nikhita Mahtani is an NYC-based freelance journalist covering primarily health and design. She graduated with an M.A in Magazine Journalism from New York University, and loves to debunk popular health myths. Her idea of wellness includes a sweaty spin class, wine with loved ones, and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. She's written for GQ, InStyle, Conde Nast Traveler, Food Network, Bon Appetit, and more.