Vitamin K may be very important for preventing obesity and diabetes

August 23, 2007

Osteocalcin is a protein found in bone that binds calcium into the bone structure. Osteocalcin requires Vitamin K to work and to protect bone.

In this new animal study, scientists cooperating from the USA, Canada, and Britain show that damaging genes related to osteocalcin and therefore Vitamin K cause the animals to gain fat and weight and they became glucose intolerant; this is what occurs in the process towards developing diabetes. Osteocalcin regulates the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas and that release it into the bloodstream. Osteocalcin was also shown to increase the release of Adiponectin; a hormone that increases insulin sensitivity protecting you from developing prediabetes so a lack of osteocalcin affects more than bone health. Lacking osteocalcin also decreased the manufacture of beta-cells in the pancreas; the all important cells that create insulin.

In conclusion osteocalcin needs Vitamin K to be created and to work. The osteocalcin in the bone regulates bone formation and maintenance. It also turns out that bone, through osteocalcin, improves insulin sensitivity, decreases glucose intolerance, and improved the manufacture of insulin producing beta-cells in the pancreas. The study is published online ahead of print in the journal Cell.

Lacking Protein Z, a Vitamin K dependent protein, may lead to preeclampsia in pregnancy and even a possible loss of the baby

Protein Z is created by Vitamin K and Protein Z is important for regulating coagulation. If pregnant women have a tendency to form dangerous blood clots (thrombophilia), their lacking of Protein Z is associated with unexplained fetal deaths.

In this study 130 women with preeclampsia were found to be lower in Protein Z across the board when compared with 71 women with a normal pregnancy. Preeclampsia is characterized by a dangerous-sharp rise in blood pressure in the third trimester of pregnancy. There is often swelling of the body and possible damage occurring to the kidneys. The condition occurs in about 5% of all pregnancies.

Fetal demise is when the baby dies in utero (in the womb); this is usually diagnosed via ultrasound. When comparing the normal pregnancy women to those who suffered with fetal demise it was found that a deficiency in Protein Z was more common but in general the level of Protein Z is not much different. The same held true for women who gave birth to SGA babies (small for gestational age babies or babies too small for their age). The study was performed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the US Department of Human Health and Services (DHHS) and is published in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.