Do you know what vitamin you need to keep your heart healthy? Find out in this week’s Nutrition News article, which covers the very latest in nutritional research.

Vitamin K for heart health

A recent study that looked at data covering 50,000 participants found that those who consumed more vitamin K in their diet had better heart health than those who consumed notably less of the vitamin.

The research, which was carried out by New Edith Cowan University and reported in this Science Daily article, studied data from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study that took place over a 23 year period. It found that, among those with the highest intakes of vitamin K, they had a 31% lower risk of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease, which are conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels.

The findings applied to both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 and acknowledged that further research “into the different dietary sources and effects of different types of vitamin K2 is a priority”. Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils, whist vitamin K2 is found in meat, eggs and fermented foods such as cheese.

Speaking of the findings, University of Western Australia researcher and research author Dr Jamie Bellinge said, “These findings shed light on the potentially important effect that vitamin K has on the killer disease and reinforces the importance of a healthy diet in preventing it."

Vitamin D and calcium to support bone health in vegan women

Women following vegan diets, in particular, are known to be at higher risk of bone health complications but a recent study has found that vitamin D and calcium could mitigate against this.

The Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2), reported on by NutraIngredients, followed non-Hispanic white men and peri and postmenopausal women aged 45 and older, split into 5 diet categories; vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian (those who don’t eat meat or fish but do consume eggs and dairy), pesco-vegetarian (don’t eat meat but do eat fish, dairy and eggs), semi-vegetarian (eat meat and fish no more than once a week) and non-vegetarian.

The study found that 32% of the vegan group supplemented with both vitamin D and calcium and that they had a significantly lower risk of hip fracture than the vegans who did not supplement their diet. In the study, vegans had a 53% higher age-adjusted risk of fracture than the non-vegetarian group, however, the vegans who supplemented with vitamin D and calcium had the same risk or lower risk of fracture as the other non-vegan dietary groups.

The health benefits of turmeric

Turmeric is what gives curry its yellow colour but it also has a whole range of health benefits due to its nutritional profile. This recent video by Healthline list out some of the most prolific health benefits of this colourful spice.

One of the main health benefits of turmeric is its anti-inflammatory properties. Another benefit is its effects on brain health.

Inflammation is useful to the body, it is triggered in response to a foreign entity such as a disease or virus and works to protect the body. However, inflammation can also be caused by the body incorrectly identifying own cells or tissues as harmful and that is where inflammation can become damaging. Anti-inflammatories work by reducing the effects of the inflammatory response, reducing swelling, redness, and other symptoms. It is the curcumin, which is the substance in turmeric that makes it yellow, that has anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric is also beneficial to brain health due to its antioxidant content and potential in raising levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which is thought to help the brain repair and grow new neurons.

Research into the nutritional benefits of turmeric is ongoing but there are already some promising results in current studies.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.