A diet containing foods rich in vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of cancer, according to a recent study supporting the potential anti-cancer benefits of this emerging nutrient.


Maintaining intakes


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recent published a study that appears to confirm the cancer preventing properties of vitamin K2, with the majority of its consumption derived from cheese.


The study adds to an ever-growing body of science supporting the benefits of vitamin K2, most well established for bone and cardiovascular health. Emerging evidence also supports a potential role for reducing the risk of prostate cancer.


The German Research Centre for Environmental Health conducted the study.  Dr. Jakob Linseisen reviewed and analyzed the information obtained from the 24,340 participants  between 35 and 64 participating in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study.


They were followed for over a decade.  There were almost 1800 (1755) cancer cases, and 485 of them were terminal.  The findings showed that the people with the highest daily intake of vitamin K were 14 per cent less likely to develop cancer, compared to the persons with the lowest intake amounts.


Additionally, the people with the highest intakes experienced almost 30 per cent (28%) reduction in cancer deaths.


Dr. Linseisen and his co-workers also report that significant associations with prostate cancer, as observed in previous studies, meant that the cancer risk reduction was more pronounced in men.


Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study found that the highest intakes of vitamin K2, but not vitamin K1, were linked to a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer deaths, with approximately one third of deaths reduced.


In 2009,  American researchers,  Dr.  Joyce McCann, PhD,  Dr. Bruce Ames of the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute reported last year, because the current recommended vitamin K intake isn’t being reached,  the low levels are putting adults at greater risk for developing age-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease.


The current amounts are  based on reaching levels high enough to maintain normal blood clotting, but do not ensure long-term optimal levels of the vitamin, which may accelerate bone fragility, arterial and kidney calcification, cardiovascular disease, and possibly cancer, wrote the researchers in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


There are two forms of vitamin K:  vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.  Vitamin K1 primarily exists in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce.  It comprises approximately 90 per cent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet; while Vitamin K2, constitutes almost 10 per cent of Western vitamin K intake and is made in the intestinal tract by bacteria. 



American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
“Dietary vitamin K intake in relation to cancer incidence and mortality: results from the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Heidelberg)”