Winter 2018

A Surprising Source of Vitamin K

Researchers find dairy foods contain significant amounts of the micronutrient.

Vitamin K, known for helping blood to clot, is commonly thought to come from leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli. Now researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts have found that dairy products also contain a surprising amount of the micronutrient.

The researchers, led by scientists Xueyan Fu and Sarah Booth, director of the center’s vitamin K lab, analyzed hundreds of samples of cheese, milk, and yogurt and found they contain significant amounts of the menaquinones form of vitamin K, known as MK. Low-fat and nonfat versions had just a fraction of the MK found in the full-fat versions. Among cheeses, the soft varieties had the highest concentration, followed by blue, semisoft, and hard.

This less-studied form of vitamin K deserves attention because observational studies from Europe suggest that MK from dairy products is associated with heart-health benefits.

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