Vitamin K1 shows benefits for memory in healthy older adults

October 01, 2013

Normal aging is frequently accompanied by a decline in various memory abilities in many cognitive tasks; the phenomenon is known as age-related memory impairment (AMI). This mild condition is light-years away to the level of memory loss seen in Alzheimer’s disease which occurs in far fewer people.

Episodic memory refers to memory in the correct context for instance remembering where you last put your wallet or your car key; it’s important for everyday life. It connects time and place, events and even emotions. Remembering the day you started to drive your first car is episodic memory. It allows you to travel back in time to remember the event that took place at that particular time and place.

Episodic memory suffers with age. Studies comparing the effects of aging on different aspects of memory find that episodic memory is especially impaired in normal aging; some types of short-term memory are also impaired.

Doctors performing research as part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study examined data of 320 elderly men and women over the age of 70. Healthy elderly men and women with the highest average blood level of Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) had better performance for episodic memory compared to those with lower blood levels indicating an important and specific role for Vitamin K in memory consolidation. The study is published in the December 2013 issue of the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Technical Data; plausible reasons why Vitamin K1 positively affects memory;
> Vitamin K is needed specifically for the function of the Gas6 protein (growth arrest-specific gene 6). Gas6 is an important regulator of cell survival, cell growth and myelination of nerve tissue for greater nerve function.
> Vitamin K is needed to activate Protein S. Protein S is known to protect brain tissue from injury during times of hypoxia (low brain oxygen levels) or during periods of ischemia (diminished blood flow in the brain) such as during a mild ischemic attack (mini stroke).
> Vitamin K takes part in sphingolipid metabolism; sphingolipids are major constituents of the myelin sheath and neuronal membranes which surround nerve tissue and are needed for nerve conduction.