Reduce the risk of Cancer with Vitamin K
Not as well known or as publicized as many vitamins, recent research is showing that it may be possible to reduce the risk of cancer with vitamin K.
A fat soluble vitamin, vitamin K is essential to blood clotting and for cellular growth and regulation. As well as the prevention of cancer it also helps in the process of bone building and is key factor in maintaining bone mass as we age.
There are two types of naturally occurring vitamin K. The first phylloquinone, vitamin K1 for short, is found in all dark leafy greens, but spinach is one of the best sources. It is found in lesser quantities in other vegetables like red bell pepper and onions, in some fruits such as strawberries and in some vegetable oils such as soybean or canola. Menaquinone, K2 is found mostly in meats and cheeses.
Vitamin K is proven to protect against overall inflammation in the body and a variety of age related diseases including many cancers.
A recent study conducted at German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, over a ten-year period, found basically, that participants in their study with the highest intake of vitamin K2 were about 28% less likely to die of any cancer than those with the lowest intake. This was after other risk factors were taken into account. This is probably because vitamin K is being shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and promote a process called apoptosis is which the cancer cells die off in a controlled, orderly way.
A study of a specific cancer type, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, conducted by scientists at the Mayo Comprehensive Cancer Center in Minnesota and recently announced at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, showed that after taking other factors into consideration the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma was slashed by 45 percent in participants who had the highest vitamin K levels compared to those with the lowest levels. This benefit alone could save up to 10,000 American lives yearly and prevent much suffering from the disease. The National Cancer Institute reports that in 2009 about 66,000 Americans were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The Recommended Daily Allowance, RDA, for vitamin K is 120 micrograms for men and 90 micrograms for women, this amount may be too low. A report published by the USDA and found at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/ar/archive/jan00/green0100.htm suggests that this amount may not be enough to get the full benefits from vitamin K. Unfortunately for our health most of us don't get even the minimum amount recommended.
It is fairly easy to get all the benefits from vitamin K. It is readily available in the foods we eat. Just one cup of spinach or two cups of broccoli a day provides 4 to 5 times the RDA recommended amount. Supplements are also effective but do not take the place of the vitamins in the whole food.
Cancer is a devastating illness. With the studies and evidence showing that cancer can be prevented by diet, it makes sense to eat for health. The benefit of eating a wide variety of vegetable has been well documented. The good quality vitamin K found in many vegetables and offering promise in the fight against cancer make it important to get, at the very least, the recommended 5 servings a day. If you are unable to do this you may want to consider a high quality supplement.