vitamin K - essential to human health

Vitamin K's Anticancer Effects

Various forms of vitamin K could help prevent or treat cancer, including liver cancer, prostate tumors, and leukemia.

Can vitamin K help prevent or treat cancer? As scientists continue to determine the effects of vitamin K and vitamin K-dependent proteins, there are indications that vitamin K may have some impact on the development and growth of tumors.

Dietary Vitamin K and Cancer Rates

Population studies show a positive relationship between vitamin K and lower cancer rates. Data from food intake questionnaires in one long-term study suggest that dietary intake of vitamin K2 is linked to a reduced risk of cancer.(41)

This study followed over 24,000 adult male and female cancer-free participants. It tracked what they ate, along with cancer incidence and deaths from cancer for 10-14 years. The anti-cancer benefit linked to vitamin K2 was more common in men — especially rates of prostate cancer and lung cancer.(41)

There was no decreased cancer risk associated with dietary intake of K1, which is the form of vitamin K found primarily in vegetables. Vitamin K2 is mainly found in dairy products (e.g., cheese, yogurt, milk) and fermented foods.(1441)

How Might Vitamin K Work Against Cancer?

The vast majority of research literature and solid clinical trials show that different forms of vitamin K have antitumor effects in certain cancers.(25)

Some examples include:

  • Vitamin K2 decreases activity of proteins that promote liver cancer growth.(25)
  • Compounds derived from vitamin K are potent inhibitors of CDC25, a protein that promotes the production and growth of tumor cells. Blocking CDC25 may also support genetic stability in healthy tissue. This could prevent the mutations that activate dysfunctional (cancerous) cell activity.(67)
  • Production of abnormal prothrombin proteins (DCPs) are linked to helping the aggressive metastatic behavior of HCC liver cancer. DCPs promote the production and spread of tumor cells. DCP-positive HCC are more aggressive than DCP-negative HCC tumors. In fact, DCP levels are often used as a measure of early detection and prognosis in HCC patients. Vitamin K deficiency appears to promote the production of DCP, while administration of certain forms of vitamin K appears to block HCC's aggressive behavior.(68)

Vitamin K Helps With Cancer Treatment

A number of lab, animal, and human clinical studies suggest that forms of vitamin K, either by themselves or in combination with pharmaceutical drugs, could help prevent or treat various types of cancer:

Results of a pilot clinical trial suggest vitamin K cream may also help prevent skin rashes caused by certain cancer treatments.(45)

Hepatocellular carcinoma.(68)
Des-γ-carboxy prothrombins.(68)
Para-quinonoid and para-quinoid compounds.(67)
Specifically, Cx43 tumor promoters.(25)
European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.(41)
Also known as menaquinone, or MK-4.(41)
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