In a new study, researchers found that low levels of vitamin K in the body are linked to low mobility and high disability in older adults.
This finding shows that vitamin K deficiency is a new risk factor for maintaining mobility and independence in older age.
The study is the first to examine the link between vitamin K and mobility limitation and disability in older adults.
The research was conducted by a team from Tufts University.
Previous research has shown that low vitamin K is linked to chronic diseases that lead to disability.
However, why the connection exists has been unknown.
In the new study, the team found that low levels of vitamin K in the body are linked to slower gait speed and a higher risk of osteoarthritis.
They examined circulating levels of vitamin K and a functional measure of vitamin K in the body in 635 men and 688 women ages 70-79 years old.
Mobility limitation was defined as having any amount of difficulty either with walking a quarter of a mile or climbing 10 steps without resting.
Mobility disability was defined as having a lot of difficulties or inability to walk or climb the same amount.
The researchers found that older adults with low levels of circulating vitamin K were more likely to develop mobility limitation and disability.
These people were nearly 1.5 times more likely to develop mobility limitation and nearly twice as likely to develop mobility disability compared to people with sufficient levels.
This effect was true for both men and women.
The finding supports the view that vitamin K plays an important role in older people’s mobility.
The researchers suggest older people add food high in vitamin K in their daily diet. This includes leafy greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli and some dairy products.
For an average adult, one cup of raw spinach can provide 145 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K1, which is 181% of the Daily Value.
One cup of raw kale provides 113 mcg or 141% of the daily value, and half of a cup of chopped boiled broccoli provides 110 mcg or 138% of the daily value.
The lead author of the study is Kyla Shea, a nutrition scientist in the Vitamin K Laboratory.
The study is published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
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