Vitamin K kick-starts a younger, healthier old age


Kevin “Special K” Daley played with the Harlem Globetrotters, and was the body double for a young Michael Jordan in a 2002 Gatorade commercial; Alan “Special K” Kulwicki was the NASCAR 1986 Rookie of the Year; and pro tennis player Athanasios “Special K” Kokkinakis defeated No. 1-ranked Roger Federer in the second round of the 2018 Miami Open. 

All special for sure, but they’ve got nothing on how special vitamin K is when it comes to protecting your longevity. New research out of Tufts University’s USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging found that older adults with low vitamin K levels (below 0.5 nanomoles per liter) had a 19% higher risk of all-cause death over 13 years when compared with those who had adequate blood levels (more than 1.0 nmol/L). 

What’s so special about vitamin K? It is essential for bone and blood vessel health and blood clotting. To make sure you have enough K-power, women 19 and older should consume 90 micrograms daily, men 120. Food sources supply plenty: Half a cup of blueberries delivers 14 mcg; half a cup of edamame, 21 mcg; half a cup of broccoli, 110 mcg; a cup of raw spinach, 145 mcg; and a half a cup of frozen/boiled collards, 530 mcg!

You do make another form of K called K2 (aka menaquinone) in your gut, but little is known about how much is absorbed or what stimulates the production. K2 is also found in fermented foods like nato (fermented soybeans) and sauerkraut. As Dana Carvey’s Church Lady used to say, “Now, isn’t that special?”

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit


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