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Low Vitamin K Impacts Older Adults’ Mobility

A study suggested that older adults who lack sufficient amounts of vitamin K in their system are highly likely to develop mobility issues. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis.

In a recent issue of the Journals of Gerontology: Series A, researchers linked insufficient vitamin K intake to the development of mobility problems as people grow older.

As per the study’s first and corresponding author M. Kyla Shea, who also researched on vitamin K at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, low vitamin K levels lead to disability. The team came up with this theory after looking into the relationship between vitamin K and mobility in older adults.

Another study published in Geriatric Nursing found that 30 percent of older adults have limited mobility. They found that insufficient amounts of vitamin K in the body led to slower gait speed and increased the risk of osteoarthritis.

What Is Mobility?

According to a study published in Human Kinetics Journals, mobility is the ability to move independently from place to place.

Physical independence is a sign of healthy aging and determines the quality of life that adults lead. Moreover, adults’ typical activities involve mobility, such as walking and climbing down the stairs.

Mobility and Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble compounds. Its main dietary form is phylloquinone which can be mainly found in leafy greens such as broccoli, kale and spinach, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers of the present study looked at the phylloquinone and uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein (ucMGP) levels of the participants. The latter is a protein that requires vitamin K to function. They then found that ucMGP levels increase when vitamin K is relatively low.

The results indicated that those who had lower levels of vitamin K experienced difficulty in walking a quarter of a mile or climbing 10 steps continuously.

They also found that older people who have low levels of phylloquinone are at higher risk of becoming immobile. Moreover, they also established that developing mobility limitation was 1.5 more likely in people who had lower blood levels of phylloquinone.

Finally, they concluded that those with low phylloquinone were twice susceptible to developing mobility issues than those who had sufficient levels of vitamin K.

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