Insulin resistance, or the body's inability to use the insulin it produces, often leads to diabetes. Researchers have found that in some cases, regularly taking vitamin K can slow the progression of insulin resistance and delay diabetes.
The progression of insulin resistance in older non-diabetics can be slowed by regularly taking vitamin K.
Insulin resistance is a pre-cursor to diabetes. The body’s inability to utilize the insulin it produces has also been termed “pre-diabetes.” The pancreas produces more and more insulin that the body doesn’t use, creating excess glucose, which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes.
The study was done on men and women between 60 and 80 years old to determine if vitamin K would have any effect on age-related bone loss and cardiovascular calcification. The 355 participants were divided into two groups. One was given 500 μg per day of vitamin K and the others took multivitamins without vitamin K. All subjects took calcium and vitamin D. Insulin resistance was measured by the homeostasis model (HOMA-IR) which was unchanged after six months. However, after 36 months there was a significant reduction in HOMA-IR among the men on vitamin K supplementation, but not women.
The researchers believe that because the women in the study tended to have a higher rate of obesity and adipose tissue, the vitamin K was not capable of being metabolized with the efficiency of the men. In other words, gender may not play a significant role, but rather the amount of fat on an individual. The women in the study had a significant increase in body fat percentage.
The size of the study is large enough to warrant more research, but is not significant enough to be definitive. A study focusing on individuals with low body fat may well confirm the findings and help determine whether the results are due to body composition or gender or both.