Eat foods rich in certain vitamin to ‘protect’ against arthritis
Osteoarthritis: Elaine reveals her experience of the condition
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There are many factors that can cause or contribute to arthritis. Many of us associate the condition with age, as it is more prevalent among older people. However, it can also be affected by injury, other illnesses and lifestyle habits.
One such lifestyle habit is diet, and whether or not you are getting the right nutrients.
Research has shown that a lack of vitamin K in particular could raise your risk of arthritis.
Vitamin K is a group of vitamins that can be found in foods such as green leafy vegetables, cereal grains and some meat.
It is mainly needed to help wounds heal by allowing blood clotting, however, the NHS states that it can also help keep bones healthy.
And studies have shown it could have a direct effect on arthritis.
One paper, published in Nutrients journal in 2020, analysed various existing studies into the link between vitamin K and osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK, and causes joint pain and stiffness among other symptoms.
The study explained: “The current literature generally agrees that a sufficient level of vitamin K is associated with a lower risk of osteoarthritis and pathological joint features.”
It was theorised that the vitamin could help prevent cartilage calcification, a process which is linked to osteoarthritis.
“It is tempting to speculate that vitamin K, a dietary component, can influence cartilage calcification through carboxylation of MGP, and prevent the occurrence of osteoarthritis (OA),” the study said.
It added: “The current literature generally agrees that a sufficient level of vitamin K is associated with a lower risk of OA and pathological joint features.
“However, evidence from clinical trials is limited. Mechanistic study shows that vitamin K activates matrix gla proteins that inhibit bone morphogenetic protein-mediated cartilage calcification.”
The research concluded that future studies to establish how much vitamin K is necessary to prevent arthritis are needed.
It said: “Human observational studies show that vitamin K could prevent OA but evidence from clinical trials is limited.
“Some important questions concerning the intake level, dose of supplementation, and vitamin K type that is the most effective against OA awaits further studies.”
The study added: “Although the current data are insufficient to establish the optimal dose of vitamin K to prevent OA, ensuring sufficient dietary intake seems to protect the elderly from OA.”
A separate study, published in Rheumatology Patient Summaries in the British Medical Journal in 2021, highlighted the link between vitamin K and osteoarthritis.
A trial of more than 3,000 participants found that those who took anticoagulant medicines that inhibit vitamin K were more at risk for the condition.
It said: “The main finding was that people taking acenocoumarol were twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis, or have progression of existing osteoarthritis.
“The risk of progression was four-times higher for people who had a variant in the gene coding for the MGP protein. This adds to the evidence that there is an association between vitamin K and osteoarthritis.”
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