Research from Edith Cowan University’s Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute has revealed there may be something you can do to help reduce your risk of fractures later in life.

As we age, hip fractures can become particularly damaging and result in disability, chronic disease, loss of independence and a higher mortality risk.

 In collaboration with the University of Western Australia, they conducted a study that looked at the relationship between fracture-related hospitalisations and vitamin K1 intake in almost 1400 older Australian women over a 14.5-year period from the Perth Longitudinal Study of Aging Women.

The study found that women who ate more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K1, which is equivalent to about 125g of dark leafy vegetables, or approximately 1-2 serves of vegetables , were 31 per cent less likely to have any fracture compared to participants who consumed less than 60 micrograms per day, which is the current vitamin K adequate intake guideline in Australia for women.

There were even more positive results regarding hip fractures, with those who ate the most vitamin K1 cutting their risk of hospitalisation by 49 per cent.

Study lead Dr Marc Sim said the results were further evidence of the benefits of vitamin K1, which has also been shown to enhance cardiovascular health.

“Our results are independent of many established factors for fracture rates, including body mass index, calcium intake, Vitamin D status and prevalent disease,” he said.

“Basic studies of vitamin K1 have identified a critical role in the carboxylation of the vitamin K1-dependant bone proteins such as osteocalcin, which is believed to improve bone toughness. A previous ECU trial indicates dietary vitamin K1 intakes of less than 100 micrograms per day may be too low for this carboxylation.”

“Vitamin K1 may also promote bone health by inhibiting various bone resorbing agents.”

Another great reason to eat your colourful vegies, particularly the dark green leafy vegetables.

Dr Sim said eating more than 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 daily was ideal.  This can easily be achieved by consuming between 75-150g, equivalent to one to two serves, of vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage.

Vitamin K1-rich foods

Vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, green beans

Fruits: Prunes, kiwi, avocado

Vitamin K2 is also important for bone health, it is high in beef, liver and cod liver oil.

Note: If you are taking warfarin or other blood thinners, talk to your doctor before you increase your vitamin K intake.


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