Does Too Little Vitamin K2 Cause Prostate Cancer?

People with unusual genomes often resemble canaries in a coal mine: More sensitive than the rest of us to bad environments. This is illustrated by a new study of prostate cancer/genome associations.

Repeating earlier work in Europeans, they compared the genetic profiles of Japanese groups of prostate cancer sufferers with non-sufferers. . . . The joint numbers included 7,141 prostate cancer sufferers and 11,804 non-sufferers. The most recently identified loci are on chromosomes 11, 10, 3 and 2. . . .The locus on chromosome 2 is linked with GGCX, a vitamin K-dependent [actually, vitamin K2] enzyme that regulates blood clotting [Vitamin K2 does not regulate blood clotting], bone formation and cancer biology. Japanese foods such as natto and seaweeds are rich in vitamin K, which is thought to protect against cancer. Interestingly, the association of this SNP with prostate cancer was significant in all populations except for the Japanese in the USA, indicating that environmental factors, such as diet, are involved.

Here is the paper. Why would the correlation not show up for Japanese in the USA? Maybe because Japanese in the USA all get too little Vitamin K2.

Neither the press release nor the article make clear what I am saying: These results make it a lot more plausible that Vitamin K2 protects against prostate cancer. A lot of mainstream nutritional advice is based on epidemiology. The K2/prostate cancer connection is especially interesting because it does not suffer from the usual problems of epidemiology: difficulty measuring intake (do you have any idea how much K2 you consume?) and vast confounding (Vitamin K2 intake is probably correlated with many other things).

4 Responses to “Does Too Little Vitamin K2 Cause Prostate Cancer?”

  1. Alex Chernavsky Says:

    Denise Minger says that she experienced a lot problems with tooth decay (i.e., getting cavities) before she started taking K2 supplements. The commenting system won’t allow me to post a hot link, so I’ve had to obfuscate the URL

    rawfoodsos dot com/for-vegans/

  2. Adam Says:

    I can’t recall if I found this link here or not, but it is worth posting again if anyone missed it:

    http://www.metafilter.com/117835/Vitamin-K2

    “… [R]ecent studies have shown that poor Vitamin K2 status is associated with a number of other health issues, including increased risk of coronary artery disease and frature. By directing calcium from soft tissues into your bones, K2 reduces soft-tissue calcificiation, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and increases bone density.

    Studies also suggest that Vitamin K2 improves insulin resistance in older men, can be beneficial for patients with leukemia, and may even help patients with Parkinson’s by improving electron transport within mitochondria.”

  3. Miki Ben Dor Says:

    “Vitamin K2 does not regulate blood clotting”. Do you happen to have a reference for that? A doctor would not allow a friend of mine to supplement K2 due to some pro clotting genetic defect.

    Seth: There is a difference between Vitamin K (blood-clotting) and Vitamin K-2 (other). Apparently that doctor didn’t understand this.

  4. shortdude Says:

    A couple of Israeli doctors have published a series of interesting papers where they suggest that BPH and prostate cancer are caused by incompetent valves in the testicular veins. This prevents normal drainage of blood from the testicles, and necessitates pathological flow of blood from the testicles to the prostate. The prostate is thus exposed to enormous levels of testosterone from the testicles, which causes hypertrophy and eventually cancer. (and also increases the conversion of testosterone to DHT, think male pattern baldness)

    This vitamin K2 study is interesting. I feel like there’s some obvious connection here between the venous pathology and clotting function that I’m missing.