Deficiency of vitamin K involved in age-related disability / frailty

A nice study illustrating that vitamin K deficiency may be one of the reasons people become frail with age. Age-relate disability/frailty is one the leading causes of death in the elderly, behind infections and iatrogenic causes. Given the role of vitamin K in the synthesis of osteocalcin and consequently insulin and steroids, the findings of this study are quite plausible.

Low vitamin K status has been associated with the onset of chronic diseases that lead to disability, but the work to understand this connection is in its infancy,” said Dr. Kyla Shea, a nutrition scientist in the Vitamin K Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University. “Here, we’re building on previous studies that found that low levels of circulating vitamin K are associated with slower gait speed and a higher risk of osteoarthritis.” Dr. Shea and colleagues examined two biomarkers: circulating levels of vitamin K and a functional measure of vitamin K (plasma ucMGP). They used data from 635 men and 688 women ages 70-79 years old, who participated in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study (Health ABC).”

“…They found that older adults with low levels of circulating vitamin K were more likely to develop mobility limitation and disability. The other biomarker, plasma ucMGP, did not show clear associations with mobility limitation and disability. Specifically, older adults with low circulating vitamin K levels were nearly 1.5 times more likely to develop mobility limitation and nearly twice as likely to develop mobility disability compared to those with sufficient levels. This was true for both men and women. “The connection we saw with low levels of circulating vitamin K further supports vitamin K’s association with mobility disability,” said Dr. Sarah Booth, a nutrition researcher and director of the HNRCA at Tufts University. “Although the two biomarkers we looked at are known to reflect vitamin K status, biomarker levels can also be affected by additional known or unknown factors. Further experiments to understand the mechanisms of biomarkers and vitamin K and their role in mobility are needed.”