Science News

Low levels of vitamin K linked to motor disabilities in the elderly

A study published in the Journal of Gerontology emphasizes the importance of vitamin K in the human body. In particular, this research, which according to the same researchers is the first to assess the association between vitamin K levels in the body and mobility in older people, finds that lower levels of vitamin K are related to higher risks of limitation in mobility and in general of disability in people of advanced age.

The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Tufts, United States, in addition to establishing the fact that vitamin K is associated with the onset of chronic diseases that can cause disability, also makes it clear that this connection is still to be studied in depth with further research in the future. A slower speed in gait but also higher risks of arthritic pathologies can therefore be linked to lower levels of vitamin K, a group of vitamins that in the human body have the task of synthesizing important proteins which in turn are fundamental for the coagulation of blood.

Without or with lower levels of vitamin K, blood coagulation can be seriously compromised and uncontrolled bleeding may occur. Vitamin K can be found mainly in green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach and in certain dairy foods.

In particular, the scientists examined two biomarkers, the one related to vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, and that of the ucMGP plasma. The phylloquinone-related biomarker showed clear connections regarding mobility limitations so that elderly people with low vitamin K levels were more at 1.5-fold risk of developing mobility-related disabilities.

The study made use of an analysis of 635 men and 688 women aged 70 to 79 years whose mobility was assessed every six months for 6-10 years.