Diabetes Self-Management Blog

People who get enough vitamin K1 from food may have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than people who do not get adequate amounts of this nutrient, according to new research from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Reus, Spain. An estimated 79 million people in the United States currently have prediabetes and are at increased risk of developing Type 2.

To determine whether vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, has a beneficial effect on blood glucose control and insulin resistance, the researchers looked at data from over 1,900 elderly men and women at high risk of cardiovascular disease enrolled in the Prevention with the Mediterranean Diet Trial (a study designed to determine the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet at preventing cardiovascular conditions), in addition to 1,069 people who did not have diabetes at the start of the study. The participants’ diets were assessed using an annual food frequency questionnaire, and intake of vitamin K1 was determined using the USDA nutrient database.

Dietary intake of vitamin K1 was found to be much lower at the start of the study in people who developed Type 2 diabetes during the roughly 5 years of follow-up. After adjusting for various factors, the researchers determined that the risk of developing Type 2 was 17% lower for every 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 consumed per day; people who had increased their intake of vitamin K1 were 51% less likely to have developed Type 2 diabetes than those who had lowered or had not changed their intake.

Foods high in vitamin K1 include raw leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, leaf lettuce, parsley, Swiss chard, and watercress; cooked broccoli; and certain vegetable oils such as canola and soybean oil.

For more information, read the article “Vitamin K1 Reduces Risk of Type 2 by 50 Percent” or see the study’s abstract in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Also be sure to try one of the following recipes that include vegetables rich in vitamin K1:

Garden Italian salad
Parsley, pear, and walnut salad
Spinach and kiwi salad
Spinach salad with strawberries

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