The role of vitamin K in the diet-microbiome-health axis: the secret to healthy aging

Researchers investigated how Vitamin K dietary supplementation may promote healthy aging in a new narrative review published in the Nutrients Journal.

Dietary vitamin K is a diet-microbiome-health axis modulator, thus researchers are looking for evidence of how it affects the gut microbial composition and metabolic activities linked to host health outcomes, particularly in the general population’s older individuals.

People over the age of 60 outweighed children under the age of five in 2020, and by 2050, the elderly population would nearly treble to 2.1 million, outnumbering children.

As a result, there is an urgent need to develop lifestyle treatments that can successfully decrease, prevent, or reverse chronic illnesses and physiological perturbations associated with aging.

The Role of a Vitamin K-rich Diet in healthy aging
Diet or dietary pattern is a key predictor of good human health. According to the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019, a poor diet, defined as a diet low in vegetables/fruits, and whole grains, and rich in processed foods, sugar, and salt, is the second and third leading cause of mortality among 13.5% and 14.6% of girls and men worldwide.

Similarly, the EAT-Lancet Commission urged for a move from an industrialized to a plant-based diet, claiming that it may prevent around 11 million deaths.

Healthy eating as a preventative and therapeutic technique to counteract aging might have a massive influence. Another important component moderating the association between nutrition and age-related health is the gut flora.

Unraveling the connection between nutrition, gut microbiota, and host health might thus aid in the development of a comprehensive approach to promote healthy aging and close the health-life span gap.

Green vegetables are the principal source of vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone. Convenience foods, such as burgers, pizza, and french fries, include additional amounts of phylloquinone, owing to the use of phylloquinone-rich vegetable oils in their preparation, implying an underestimating of dietary vitamin K1 intake in existing food consumption data pools.

Menaquinones, or Vitamin K2, are a consequence of gut microbiota production, whereas vitamin K1 is a dietary source of vitamin K. Another good source of K2 is cheese, which is high in saturated fats.

Because phylloquinone produced from ready meals may have higher bioavailability than phylloquinone derived from fresh fruits and vegetables, basic concerns about the dietary supply and bioavailability of phylloquinone and menaquinones remain unsolved.

Observational research and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the function of vitamin K in age-related disorders have shown inconclusive findings. Elucidating the relationship between food and health, such as portion size estimate, might aid in resolving these ambiguous findings from epidemiological research measuring vitamin K nutritional consumption by dietary memory.

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Though many other bioactive chemicals have been involved in aging research, observational studies have revealed that Vitamin K and Vitamin K-dependent proteins (VKDPs) are connected with a wide range of age-related disorders. However, there is little evidence that vitamin K has a direct influence on cellular senescence.

Though the beneficial effect of vitamin K on human health is unknown, studies have shown that it has an influence on aging markers such as genomic instability, cellular senescence, mitochondrial malfunction, and epigenetic dysregulation.

Vitamin K promotes cellular and macromolecular aging by directly absorbing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and minimizing their damage. Its anti-inflammatory action also slows the progression of chronic low-level inflammatory loads associated with aging. Furthermore, vitamin K decreases the function of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-кB).

In the absence of nutritional supplementation, the human body maintains limited quantities of vitamin K, and its reserves diminish fast. Surprisingly, the human body contains a vitamin K recycling mechanism that allows for the use of modest quantities of vitamin K in the -carboxylation of VKDPs while minimizing the negative consequences of insufficient dietary vitamin K consumption.

VKDPs are implicated in a variety of pathophysiologic processes, including the coagulation system, and extrahepatic Gla proteins, such as matrix Gla protein (MGP), play an important role in bone and vascular health.

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Furthermore, dietary K1 or K2 may aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the elderly. Adherence to high-quality foods may so boost well-being and support healthy aging.

The researchers emphasized the need of recognizing many crucial caveats regarding the relationship between nutrition, vitamin K, gut flora, and host health, which is critical for understanding the function of vitamin K in aging.

Vitamin K research and its involvement in human aging and age-related dysfunctions is advancing at a rapid pace. Future research on the clinical influence of vitamin K on human health may assist to explain some of the contradictory findings from clinical trials involving vitamin K supplements and health outcomes that ignore the gut flora profile.

So, while a healthy eating pattern is important in establishing vitamin K intake and its influence on human health, a complete evaluation of the interplay between diet and microbiota is required to evaluate vitamin K’s impact on human health.

Surprisingly, a decrease in good food intake may result in an increase in vitamin K intake from an unhealthy food source.

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