Longevity: Vitamins D and K increase survival

Vitamins D and K extend life

This is the first study to test for a link between levels of vitamins D and K and life expectancy in the general population. A total of 4,742 men and women, average age 53, enrolled in this 14-year study during which doctors measured blood levels of vitamins D and K, and tracked all causes of death.

Twenty percent of study participants were low in both vitamins D and K, and were 22 percent more likely to have died from any cause compared to 7 percent for participants with high levels of vitamins D and K. Those who were low in both vitamins were also more likely to have heart and circulatory events.

Doctors considered levels of vitamin D below 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/ml), or 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L), to be low. Because doctors can’t measure vitamin K directly, they used matrix Gla protein—which is high when vitamin K levels are low; and which doctors flagged as high when above 361 picomoles per liter.

More vitamin K2?

Doctors can’t directly measure vitamin K in the body, and instead use matrix Gla protein—levels of which are high when vitamin K is low—as a marker for vitamin K. In this study, doctors evaluated vitamin K by measuring matrix Gla protein levels in 491 men and women, aged 19 to 71.

They found a direct link: as levels of matrix Gla protein increased, participants were more likely to have arterial stiffness, high blood pressure, obesity, and a history of heart and circulatory events.

Reference: European Journal of Nutrition; 2020, s00394-020-02352-8

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