Could a few changes in diet help us avoid cancer? Research suggests that a form of Vitamin K –– known for its contributions to building bones, promoting blood clotting and managing certain cellular functions – may also help to reduce the risk of developing or dying from prostate or lung cancer in men.
The study came from the German Research Center for Environmental Health where more than 24,000 adults completed a dietary questionnaire and were followed over a decade. Results showed that a higher intake of Vitamin K2 (consumed mostly through cheese) was linked to a reduced risk of developing or dying from certain cancers, particularly in men.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common form among American men, and lung cancer is the second most common for both men and women. It is welcome news to find we may put the odds more in our favor by changing what we put on our plates.
Vitamin K is fat-soluble and actually has two forms. Vitamin K1 is found mostly in leafy, dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce and kale, while Vitamin K2 is found mostly in meat and cheese. This study only found a significant relationship between intake of Vitamin K2 and a protective effect. The authors attributed their results to the relatively stronger biological effect of Vitamin K2 as compared to Vitamin K1 that has been observed in lab studies, particularly in promoting the death of tumor cells.
Of course, Vitamin K is just one element to consider in terms of a healthy diet. Another article on this site provides a wide range of information on “The Truth About Nutrition.” Also, check the article “7 Super Foods to Elevate Healthy Eating” to add more smart choices to your menu plan.
Change isn’t for everyone, however. Anyone taking blood thinning medication such as warfarin (Coumadin®) should consult their physician before increasing dietary Vitamin K from food or supplements. Dietary consistency is usually counseled to avoid adjustments in blood thinners, but your doctor will be able to advise you on a more personal level.