While a generous person is often described as having a big heart, an actual big heart, the one that pumps your blood, is something to be avoided as it is a sign of inefficient heart function. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition has found a link between vitamin K-1 intake and heart structure in teens.
Vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone) is found in abundance in greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and also in olive oil.
In a review of the diets of 766 seemingly healthy volunteers aged 14-18, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia discovered those eating the least amount of vitamin K-1 were 3.3 times more likely to have an unhealthy enlargement of the heart's major pumping chamber, known as left ventricular hypertrophy. Vitamin K-1 is a known blood thinner and anti-clotting agent that has also been shown in other studies to reduce the risk for cataracts.
The structure and function of the heart was assessed by echocardiography in the study and even at their young age, nearly 10 percent of study participants were already showing signs of an enlarged heart. At the same time there was a progressive decrease in the incidence rate of LV hypertrophy in those who had the highest intake of vitamin K-1.
"Our adolescent data suggest that subclinical cardiac structure and function variables are most favorable at higher phylloquinone intakes," said researcher Dr. Norman Pollock. "Those who consumed less had more risk.”
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