This Underconsumed Nutrient Helps Prevent Falls & Fractures
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
- Increased intake of leafy greens, which contain high doses of vitamin K, over the course of four weeks increased the amount of vitamin K1 in the body6, which in turn improved bone health.
- Poorer vitamin K status was associated with a 31% greater risk of an injurious fall in older women (average age of 75 years).
- Lower vitamin K levels have been associated with 62% and 75% greater odds of frailty over 13 years, according to a longitudinal study.
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
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!
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.
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 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.