Life Extension Magazine October 2010
Block Absorption of Fat Calories Safely
By Julius Goepp, MD
Vitamin K was first discovered for its role in the blood coagulation system. Overt deficiencies in vitamin K produce dangerous bleeding disorders. More recently we’ve learned that vitamin K (like D and E) has a host of other critical functions that are less obvious but no less dangerous. Vitamin K is a crucial factor for enzymes that modify important structural proteins throughout the body.51,52 That makes vitamin K essential for functions in addition to blood clotting, such as bone development, cellular signaling, and growth control, including cancers.52,53 But large segments of the adult population already don’t get adequate vitamin K to support those critical processes.53,54 Further depletion of vitamin K by orlistat, therefore, puts you in danger of losing essential vitamin K-dependent functions.10
Of greatest concern is that vitamin K deficiency (or depletion) is associated both with blood vessel calcification and with osteoporosis.55 That’s because vitamins D and K interact in a delicate ballet to determine where calcium winds up in your body.56 At the right levels, it goes into bone, preventing osteoporosis. But with deficiency of vitamin K, the opposite happens. Calcium leaves bone, instead becoming deposited in arterial walls.56 Indeed, normal cells in the vessel wall transform into bone-forming cells—essentially turning your arteries into bone!57,58 Meanwhile, in bone tissue the effects of vitamin K depletion are the opposite—low K levels are associated with calcium loss, lower bone mass and increased fracture risk.59
Fortunately, supplementation with the proper form of vitamin K can help prevent consequences of vitamin K depletion. A supplement containing both vitamins D and K had a beneficial effect on the elasticity of arterial walls.60 And in people who already have coronary arterial calcification, vitamin K supplementation can prevent progression of the disease.61 Indeed, high intake of vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is associated with lower overall risk of death from coronary heart disease.62
Vitamin supplementation with menaquinone (K2) is also protective against osteoporosis and fractures.62,63 It helps reduce blood levels of bone-resorption markers and increases markers of bone formation.64 Vitamin K supplementation also enhances overall bone metabolism in active women65 and improves bone geometry and strength in postmenopausal women.66
A groundbreaking study conclusively demonstrated that dieting is not only ineffective; it can also be dangerous. Repeated dieting is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and altered immune function.
Life Extension recommends that in lieu of dieting, an effort should be made to adjust one’s food intake to gradually reduce the number of calories ingested each day.
The lipase inhibitor orlistat and the special fiber propolmannan can help facilitate the effects of a modestly reduced fat calorie diet by helping to impede absorption of some fat calories.
Since impeding dietary fats can also reduce absorption of fat-soluble nutrients (including vital omega-3 fatty acids), you should adjust your supplement regiment to make sure you take these nutrients at a time of the day furthest removed from your last dose of orlistat and/or propolmannan.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at
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