Researchers infer relationship between Alzheimers and vitamin K deficiency.




Med Hypotheses

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Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of senile dementia, accounts for more than 60 percent of the cognitive function disorders in the aging population. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that results in a slow deterioration of memory, reasoning and behavior. The loss of intellectual function interferes with daily life, and after a disease course that may last many years, eventually results in death. Death is usually due to factors such as malnutrition, complications of the immune system such as pneumonia or infection, injury and even choking.1

Research into cause and cure of Alzheimer’s disease has been the focus of multitudes of studies in the past few decades and many theories have been proposed. As the baby-boomer generation ages, the race to understand this debilitating disease has progressed even faster. One of the most recent theories that has come to light, regards the possible role of vitamin K in development and progression of Alzheimer’s.

A study published in the August issue of Medical Hypotheses reviews this potential vitamin K link. Vitamin K was only recognized in the mid to late 1930’s and it is thought that deficiencies of this blood-clotting vitamin are thought to be rare because of the food sources available. The best sources of vitamin K are liver, green leafy vegetables and members of the cabbage family. Since vitamin K is also produced by bacteria in the intestines, humans are not dependent upon diet for this nutrient. Yet as older individuals have reportedly less circulating vitamin K than younger individuals.

The proposed link is based on the knowledge that individuals who are carriers of apolipoprotein E4 genotype have a greater risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease as they age. In addition, individuals that carry this particular genotype have lower levels of vitamin K circulating than those who carry a different genotype. The study suggests that as we learn more about the role of vitamin K in the brain, the proposed relationship with Alzheimer’s disease may become more than a theory.2


1. Beard CM, et al. Cause of death in Alzheimer's disease. Ann Epidemiol. May1996;6(3):195-200.
2. Allison AC. The possible role of vitamin K deficiency in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and in augmenting brain damage associated with cardiovascular disease. Med Hypotheses. Aug 2001;57(2):151-5.