Between 5 and 30 per cent of the population experience varicose veins, yet a new study indicates that with higher levels of vitamin K, this number may be reduced.
Published in the Journal of Vascular Research, a report from the University of Mastricht found that inadequate vitamin K might reduce the activity of a protein that lowers vascular proliferation and mineralisation, thereby ‘stopping' the development of varicose veins.
Though the exact triggers for varicose veins are unclear, risk factors include age, obesity, physical activity, standing occupations, genetic predispositions, multiple pregnancies and connective tissue abnormalities.
The study indicates that vitamin K levels may play a ‘preventative' role, as the protein MGP – crucial to the health of the vascular system and arterial vessel wall – is dependent upon the vitamin.
Researchers compared healthy veins from 36 patients aged 30 to 83, and varicose veins from 50 patients aged 40 to 81. Inactive MGP was identified as a key player in the development of varicosis, leading them to surmise that adequate dietary vitamin K intake may help prevent varicose veins.
Dietary sources of vitamin K
- Green leafy vegetables
- Soy beans