The Significance of achieving strong bones
Bones grow and develop most intensively during childhood and adolescence. During late 20s to mid 30s our peak bone mass is achieved, after which bone mineral diminishes slowly as we age. Thus, the higher the peak bone mass gained at younger age, the longer the bone mass can be preserved.
Binding calcium to healthy bone matrix serves one goal – to maximize bone mineral density in order to maintain bone mass and strength later in life. Without adequate vitamin K and osteocalcin, calcium cannot be properly used to build healthy, strong bones38, 39. Population based studies and clinical trials have tightly linked better K vitamin status in children (meaning higher levels of K vitamins found in blood serum) to the achievement of strong and healthy bones. In a new study published in 2008, research conducted by van Summeren, et al. showed that improving vitamin K status in children over a two-year period resulted in stronger and denser bones40.
Young bones are highly active and osteocalcin levels are 8 –10 times higher as compared to adults, hence the requirement of vitamin K is also higher. Recent research has shown that the majority of children are unfortunately vitamin K deficient. The average dietary intake of K vitamins has dropped significantly over the last 50 years, and today’s intake seems insufficient for optimal development and maintenance of bone41. The consumption of more processed food, less vegetables and generally less food naturally rich in K vitamins has resulted in sub-optimal K vitamin intake. Leading experts within this field strongly recommend foods enriched with vitamin K2, alternatively to give children vitamin K2 supplement.