Recently I met a Switzerland based blood cancer professor at the Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel and we had brief discussion about the role of vitamin K in cancer therapy.
Vitamin K has a physiologic role that goes beyond coagulation. It plays a big role in the reduction of cancer growth and progression.
It is also very important in the pathology of atherosclerotic diseases, modulation of bone metabolism and risk reduction of diabetes.
Vitamins are relatively safe agents without side effects, when compared to the toxic anti-cancer drugs used in chemotherapy.
There is no single treatment for cancer, and the treatment chosen depends on various factors such as age, history, lifestyle, and type of cancer.
The underlying principle of treatment is to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. Apoptosis or programmed cell death is a key process regulating cancer development and progression. Therapies that cause apoptosis of cancer cells, with limited side effects are critical in the treatment of cancer.
Vitamins play essential roles in cellular reactions and maintain human health. There is a growing realization that a lack of micronutrients can create an environment where cancer can begin.
There is also a realisation that suffusing the body in those nutrients can help the body resist and combat disease. Research has begun on supplements and micronutrients such as vitamin K as a way to reduce the odds of getting cancer, or improve the odds of surviving cancer.
Vitamin K exists in two natural forms; the phylloquinone and menaquinone. There is also the manmade form called menadione. The two natural forms of vitamin K are fat soluble and are usually chemically ready for use with no potential toxicity.
Phylloquinone known as the vitamin K1 can be found largely in green leafy vegetables, some vegetable oils, such as canola and soybean oils.
Menaquinone also vitamin K2 is extracted from animal products such as meat and cheese. This vitamin do possess high absorption rate.
Vitamin K1 has been studied in various clinical cancer trials and has been found to play a big role in various types of cancer.
For example in the management of hepato-cellular carcinoma, some results have shown that patients with liver cancer usually need vitamin k1 because the liver with cancer cannot process this vitamin.
Vitamin K1 can be taken with chemotherapy to improve its effectiveness or taken alongside sorafenib. Vitamin K1 has also been found to inhibit cancer cells in patients with leukemia, gastric cancer, nasopharynx cancer, breast, and oral epidermoid cancer.
Both vitamins K1 and K2 are very important in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer typically presents at an advanced stage and therefore tends to be incurable.
The high recurrence rate of hepatocellular carcinoma determines the prognosis for patients with the disease and any therapy that decreases recurrence will always improve outcomes on a long term basis. It is therefore believed that combination of vitamin k2 and other chemical agents in the treatment of liver cancer can minimize the rate of recurrence.
Vitamin K2 is an important treatment for patients with leukemia. Leukemia is a progressive cancer that starts in the bone marrow and other blood forming organs that cause large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced. Leukemia usually starts in the white blood cells and spreads to the spleen, liver, lymph nodes and other areas of the body. There are various types of leukemia cancer.
Patients with prostate cancer also need vitamin K2 dosages. Vitamin K2 can prevent prostate cancer and inhibit disease progression.
Studies published in 2013 European oncology journals showed that VK2 is able to suppress both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines via apoptosis. Tumor growth was substantially reduced following treatment with vitamin K2.