“OK” for Bones

Let’s say the K in “OK” stands for vitamin K, but then what would the O be…octomom, orangutang, obliterate? Don’t laugh, those were the first three O words that came to mind. None of the above. K stands for vitamin K, but I’m pairing it with the O in OK so that you will remember that vitamin K and Osteocalcin (protein “O”) work together as a team to build your bones.  Protein O’s job it is to build the frames that calcium fills, and this is our bone mass.  But protein O is completely dependent upon Vitamin K in order to do its work, and so there you have it,  Team O.K.  You don’t have to worry about protein O because it is readily available, but vitamin K must be consumed in order to be adequately present in the body.

Someone could take a sample of your blood and find lots of these O guys just carousing around your blood stream not doing their job.  That would mean that you have not been eating enough Vitamin K rich foods, and protein Os are just riding around the bloodstream because they are unemployed. But when Vitamin K is present, it first gets the Os going on their job, and then recruits and sticks the mineral calcium into the framework built by the Os.  If you are a parent, or have supervision responsibilities of any sort, this must be sounding very familiar. (1)

It is pretty common knowledge that our bones build density up until our mid 20s, and then we strive to maintain what we have for the rest of our lives.  But a shocking seventy-five percent of Americans have idle protein Os surfing through their bloodstream because they simply do not have enough Vitamin K to activate them.(2) 

The two natural forms of Vitamin K are found in abundance in green vegetables like collard greens, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, spinach, parsley, other foods like olive and canola oils, fermented soy, and animal products like egg yolk, some cheeses and chicken.  The general consensus from various studies is that we need at least one serving of green vegetables every day, or more specifically, “an individual would need to eat a little more than 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli or a large salad of mixed greens every day.”(3) 

So are you part of that 75% who have something to worry about, or are you in the group of 25% who are investing in their bones today for payoffs tomorrow? This week’s menu is packed with vitamin K brought to you by broccoli, cabbage, spinach and kale.

Remember that small changes eventually add up to real changes that are healthy, so if you don’t presently eat a lot of dark green vegetables, make it your goal to eat at least one extra this week, O.K?!


molly's avatar


See   http://dannademetre.com/_blog/Growing_Young to read more about growing older and healthy BONES.

1) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2004/mar2004_aas_01.htm

(2) http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamin-k/index.html

(3) http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminK/