Vitamin K supplementation for the primary prevention of osteoporotic fractures: is it cost-effective and is future research warranted?
Lifetime supplementation with vitamin K, vitamin D(3), and calcium is likely to reduce fractures and increase survival in postmenopausal women. It would be a cost-effective intervention at commonly used thresholds, but high uncertainty around the cost-effectiveness estimates persists. Further research on the effect of vitamin K on fractures is warranted.
Vitamin K might have a role in the primary prevention of fractures, but uncertainties about its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness persist.
We developed a state-transition probabilistic microsimulation model to quantify the cost-effectiveness of various interventions to prevent fractures in 50-year-old postmenopausal women without osteoporosis. We compared no supplementation, vitamin D(3) (800 IU/day) with calcium (1,200 mg/day), and vitamin K(2) (45 mg/day) with vitamin D(3) and calcium (at the same doses). An additional analysis explored replacing vitamin K(2) with vitamin K(1) (5 mg/day).
Adding vitamin K(2) to vitamin D(3) with calcium reduced the lifetime probability of at least one fracture by 25%, increased discounted survival by 0.7 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) (95% credible interval (CrI) 0.2; 1.3) and discounted costs by $8,956, yielding an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $12,268/QALY. At a $50,000/QALY threshold, the probability of cost-effectiveness was 95% and the population expected value of perfect information (EVPI) was $28.9 billion. Adding vitamin K(1) to vitamin D and calcium reduced the lifetime probability of at least one fracture by 20%, increased discounted survival by 0.4 QALYs (95% CrI -1.9; 1.4) and discounted costs by $4,014, yielding an ICER of $9,557/QALY. At a $50,000/QALY threshold, the probability of cost-effectiveness was 80% while the EVPI was $414.9 billion. The efficacy of vitamin K was the most important parameter in sensitivity analyses.
Lifetime supplementation with vitamin K, vitamin D(3), and calcium is likely to reduce fractures and increase survival in postmenopausal women. Given high uncertainty around the cost-effectiveness estimates, further research on the efficacy of vitamin K on fractures is warranted.
Gajic-Veljanoski O, Bayoumi AM, Tomlinson G, Khan K…
Osteoporos Int Nov 2012
Effect of a combination of genistein, polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins D3 and K1 on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot study.
Many postmenopausal women desire non-pharmaceutical alternatives to hormone therapy for protection against osteoporosis. Soybean isoflavones, especially genistein, are being studied for this purpose. This study examined the effects of synthetic genistein in combination with other potential bone-protective dietary molecules on bone mineral density (BMD) in early postmenopausal women.
In this 6-month double-blind pilot study, 70 subjects were randomized to receive daily either calcium only or the geniVida™ bone blend (GBB), which consisted of genistein (30 mg/days), vitamin D3 (800 IU/days), vitamin K1 (150 μg/days) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (1 g polyunsaturated fatty acids as ethyl ester: eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid ratio = ~2/1). Markers of bone resorption and formation and BMD at the femoral neck, lumbar spine, Ward’s triangle, trochanter and intertrochanter, total hip and whole body were assessed.
Subjects supplemented with the GBB (n = 30) maintained femoral neck BMD, whereas in the placebo group (n = 28), BMD significantly decreased (p = 0.007). There was also a significant difference (p < 0.05) in BMD between the groups at Ward’s triangle in favor of the GBB group. Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and N-telopeptide significantly increased in the GBB group in comparison with those in baseline and in the placebo group. The GBB was well tolerated, and there were no significant differences in adverse events between groups.
The GBB may help to prevent osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk, at least at the hip, in postmenopausal women. Larger and longer-term clinical trials are warranted.
Lappe J, Kunz I, Bendik I, Prudence K…
Eur J Nutr Feb 2013
PMID: 22302614 | Free Full Text
Vitamin K supplementation does not prevent bone loss in ovariectomized Norway rats.
Despite plausible biological mechanisms, the differential abilities of phylloquinone (PK) and menaquinones (MKn) to prevent bone loss remain controversial. The objective of the current study was to compare the effects of PK, menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7) on the rate of bone loss in ovariectomized (OVX) Norway rats. A secondary aim was to compare the effects of vitamin K with those of bisphosphonates (BP) on bone loss.
Rats (n = 96) were randomized to 6 dosing groups [n = 16/group; Sham; OVX; OVX + BP (100 μg/kg/100 μg/mL saline sc); OVX + PK; OVX + MK-4; and OVX + MK-7] for 6 wk. Equimolar daily doses of 107 mg PK/kg, 147 mg MK-4/kg, and 201 mg MK-7/kg diet were provided.
BP significantly increased bone strength and bone mineral density (BMD) vs. OVX (P < 0.05). However, PK, MK-4 or MK-7 did not change bone strength or BMD compared to the OVX group. Whereas supplementation of PK, MK-4 and MK-7 increased serum and tibia concentrations of each respective form, PK concentrations were consistently higher despite equimolar intakes.
PK, MK-4, and MK-7 do not appear to prevent bone loss in OVX rats when administered concurrent with adequate intake of other nutrients.
Fu X, Moreines J, Booth SL
Nutr Metab (Lond) 2012
PMID: 22348311 | Free Full Text
In conclusion, supplementation of PK, MK-4 or MK-7 did not confer a beneficial effect on bone loss in ovariectomized Norway rats fed a diet that meets nutritional requirements for other nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. This would suggest that equivocal findings in the literature regarding the effect of various forms of vitamin K on bone cannot be attributed to differences among the forms studied. These data are also consistent with a growing number of clinical studies that report no beneficial effect of vitamin K supplementation on bone loss in the elderly who are otherwise calcium and vitamin D-replete [1,18,19].
No association between dietary vitamin K intake and fracture risk in chinese community-dwelling older men and women: a prospective study.
Data on the association between dietary vitamin K intake and fracture risk are limited among Chinese. This study examined such an association in community-dwelling elderly in Hong Kong. We present data from 2,944 subjects (1,605 men, 1,339 women) who participated in a prospective cohort study. Baseline dietary intakes of energy, protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K were assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire. Data on incident hip fracture and nonvertebral fracture during a median of 6.9 follow-up years were collected from a hospital database. Cox regression analyses were performed with adjustments for age, education attainment, smoking status, alcohol use, body mass index, hip bone mineral density, physical activity, use of calcium supplement, and energy-adjusted nutrient intakes. There were 29 (1.8 %) men and 19 (1.4 %) women with incident hip fractures and 97 (6.0 %) men and 88 (6.6 %) women with nonvertebral fractures. The median (interquartile range) of dietary vitamin K intake was 241.8 (157.5-360.8) and 238.9 (162.4-343.6) μg/day in men and women, respectively. Similar dietary vitamin K intakes were observed between subjects with hip or nonvertebral fractures and subjects without hip or nonvertebral fractures. In both men and women, dietary vitamin K intake was not associated with fracture risks at all measured sites in either crude or adjusted models. In Chinese community-dwelling elderly, hip or nonvertebral fracture risk was not associated with dietary vitamin K intake. The high dietary vitamin K intake of the studied group may have limited the ability to detect the association between vitamin K intake and fracture risk.
Chan R, Leung J, Woo J
Calcif. Tissue Int. May 2012
Vitamin K intake and hip fractures in women: a prospective study.
Vitamin K mediates the gamma-carboxylation of glutamyl residues on several bone proteins, notably osteocalcin. High serum concentrations of undercarboxylated osteocalcin and low serum concentrations of vitamin K are associated with lower bone mineral density and increased risk of hip fracture. However, data are limited on the effects of dietary vitamin K. We investigated the hypothesis that high intakes of vitamin K are associated with a lower risk of hip fracture in women.
We conducted a prospective analysis within the Nurses’ Health Study cohort. Diet was assessed in 72327 women aged 38-63 y with a food-frequency questionnaire in 1984 (baseline). During the subsequent 10 y of follow-up, 270 hip fractures resulting from low or moderate trauma were reported.
Women in quintiles 2-5 of vitamin K intake had a significantly lower age-adjusted relative risk (RR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.93) of hip fracture than women in the lowest quintile (< 109 microg/d). Risk did not decrease between quintiles 2 and 5 and risk estimates were not altered when other risk factors for osteoporosis, including calcium and vitamin D intakes, were added to the models. Risk of hip fracture was also inversely associated with lettuce consumption (RR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.40, 0.78) for one or more servings per day compared with one or fewer servings per week), the food that contributed the most to dietary vitamin K intakes.
Low intakes of vitamin K may increase the risk of hip fracture in women. The data support the suggestion for a reassessment of the vitamin K requirements that are based on bone health and blood coagulation.
Feskanich D, Weber P, Willett WC, Rockett H…
Am. J. Clin. Nutr. Jan 1999
PMID: 9925126 | Free Full Text
Beyond deficiency: potential benefits of increased intakes of vitamin K for bone and vascular health.
Vitamin K is well known for its role in the synthesis of a number of blood coagulation factors. During recent years vitamin K-dependent proteins were discovered to be of vital importance for bone and vascular health. Recommendations for dietary vitamin K intake have been made on the basis of the hepatic requirements for the synthesis of blood coagulation factors. Accumulating evidence suggests that the requirements for other functions than blood coagulation may be higher. This paper is the result of a closed workshop (Paris, November 2002) in which a number of European vitamin K experts reviewed the available data and formulated their standpoint with respect to recommended dietary vitamin K intake and the use of vitamin K-containing supplements.
Vermeer C, Shearer MJ, Zittermann A, Bolton-Smith C…
Eur J Nutr Dec 2004
PMID: 15309455 | Free Full Text
Accumulating evidence suggests that in many aspects arterial calcification mimics bone formation, which prompts interest in the effects of vitamin K on the vasculature. Previous population-based studies reported a significant reduction in aortic calcification with high vitamin K1  and vitamin K2 intake , and a significant inverse correlation was found between vitamin K2 intake, and the incidence of both ischaemic heart disease and cardiovascular mortality . Based on these findings the effect of treatment on arterial characteristics was monitored in the Maastricht osteostudy. These unpublished findings clearly demonstrated that supplementation with vitamin K1 can protect against vascular hardening and loss of arterial elasticity. High dose MK-4 also seems to have cholesterol lowering properties as shown in studies in rabbits  and humans .
Extremely high doses (45–90mg/day) of MK-4 have been used for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis in Japan for several years [66, 67]. After the positive outcomes of the first clinical trials, the treatment is now used on a large scale; thus far, no adverse side-effects have been reported. A number of independent groups have claimed that this medication results in complete prevention of further bone loss in postmenopausal women, and in some women even a significant gain in BMD [68, 69]. The treatment was also reported to be successful in other groups at risk for bone loss such as haemodialysis patients and those treated with corticosteroids.
In considering the potential efficacy of pharmacological doses of MK-4 it should be noted that there is evidence for a secondary function of this analogue over and above its role in glutamate carboxylation. The available evidence (mainly from cell culture experiments) suggests that MK-4 (but not K1) may also be associated with production of interleukin-6, regulate the synthesis of PGE2 , or inhibit the mevalonate pathway in a comparable way to bisphosphonates , but at present only preliminary data exist.
Any risks associated with relatively high consumption of either K1 or K2 appear minimal, with intakes up to 1 mg/d K1 and 45 mg/d MK-4 often having been used without observed adverse events. Two possible exceptions exist. Firstly a potential problem relates to interference with oral anticoagulants. However, a systematic dose-response study among subjects on oral anticoagulant treatment demonstrated that the stability of anticoagulation was not significantly affected by vitamin K supplements at doses below 100 μg/day . Secondly, preliminary studies have suggested that high vitamin K1 supplementation (i. e. above 1 mg/day) can contribute to periodontal disease via a bacterial mechanism on gingival tissue (S. Hodges, unpublished data).
Vitamin K treatment reduces undercarboxylated osteocalcin but does not alter bone turnover, density, or geometry in healthy postmenopausal North American women.
Low vitamin K status is associated with low BMD and increased fracture risk. Additionally, a specific menaquinone, menatetrenone (MK4), may reduce fracture risk. However, whether vitamin K plays a role in the skeletal health of North American women remains unclear. Moreover, various K vitamers (e.g., phylloquinone and MK4) may have differing skeletal effects. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of phylloquinone or MK4 treatment on markers of skeletal turnover and BMD in nonosteoporotic, postmenopausal, North American women. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 381 postmenopausal women received phylloquinone (1 mg daily), MK4 (45 mg daily), or placebo for 12 mo. All participants received daily calcium and vitamin D(3) supplementation. Serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSALP) and n-telopeptide of type 1 collagen (NTX) were measured at baseline and 1, 3, 6, and 12 mo. Lumbar spine and proximal femur BMD and proximal femur geometry were measured by DXA at baseline and 6 and 12 mo. At baseline, the three treatment groups did not differ in demographics or study endpoints. Compliance with calcium, phylloquinone, and MK4 treatment was 93%, 93%, and 87%, respectively. Phylloquinone and MK4 treatment reduced serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin but did not alter BSALP or NTX. No effect of phylloquinone or MK4 on lumbar spine or proximal femur BMD or proximal femur geometric parameters was observed. This study does not support a role for vitamin K supplementation in osteoporosis prevention among healthy, postmenopausal, North American women receiving calcium and vitamin D supplementation.
Binkley N, Harke J, Krueger D, Engelke J…
J. Bone Miner. Res. Jun 2009
PMID: 19113922 | Free Full Text
Two-year randomized controlled trial of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin D3 plus calcium on the bone health of older women.
Dietary supplementation with vitamin K(1), with vitamin D(3) and calcium or their combination, was examined in healthy older women during a 2-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Combined vitamin K with vitamin D plus calcium was associated with a modest but significant increase in BMC at the ultradistal radius but not at other sites in the hip or radius.
The putative beneficial role of high dietary vitamin K(1) (phylloquinone) on BMD and the possibility of interactive benefits with vitamin D were studied in a 2-year double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy Scottish women > or =60 years of age.
Healthy, nonosteoporotic women (n = 244) were randomized to receive either (1) placebo, (2) 200 microg/day vitamin K(1), (3) 10 microg (400 IU) vitamin D(3) plus 1000 mg calcium/day, or (4) combined vitamins K(1) and D(3) plus calcium. Baseline and 6-month measurements included DXA bone mineral scans of the hip and wrist, markers of bone turnover, and vitamin status. Supplementation effects were tested using multivariate general linear modeling, with full adjustment for baseline and potential confounding variables.
Significant bone mineral loss was seen only at the mid-distal radius but with no significant difference between groups. However, women who took combined vitamin K and vitamin D plus calcium showed a significant and sustained increase in both BMD and BMC at the site of the ultradistal radius. Serum status indicators responded significantly to respective supplementation with vitamins K and D. Over 2 years, serum vitamin K(1) increased by 157% (p < 0.001), the percentage of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (%GluOC) decreased by 51% (p < 0.001), serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] increased by 17% (p < 0.001), and PTH decreased by 11% (p = 0.049).
These results provide evidence of a modest synergy in healthy older women from nutritionally relevant intakes of vitamin K(1) together with supplements of calcium plus moderate vitamin D(3) to enhance BMC at the ultradistal radius, a site consisting of principally trabecular bone. The substantial increase in gamma-carboxylation of osteocalcin by vitamin K may have long-term benefits and is potentially achievable by increased dietary intakes of vitamin K rather than by supplementation.
Bolton-Smith C, McMurdo ME, Paterson CR, Mole PA…
J. Bone Miner. Res. Apr 2007
Effect of vitamin K supplementation on bone loss in elderly men and women.
Vitamin K has been implicated in bone health, primarily in observational studies. However, little is known about the role of phylloquinone supplementation on prevention of bone loss in men and women.
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of 3-yr phylloquinone supplementation on change in bone mineral density (BMD) of the femoral neck bone in older men and women who were calcium and vitamin D replete.
In this 3-yr, double-blind, controlled trial, 452 men and women (60-80 yr) were randomized equally to receive a multivitamin that contained either 500 mug/d or no phylloquinone plus a daily calcium (600 mg elemental calcium) and vitamin D (400 IU) supplement.
Measurements of the femoral neck, spine (L2-L4), and total-body BMD, bone turnover, and vitamins K and D status were measured every 6-12 months. Intent-to-treat analysis was used to compare change in measures in 401 participants who completed the trial.
There were no differences in changes in BMD measurements at any of the anatomical sites measured between the two groups. The group that received the phylloquinone supplement had significantly higher phylloquinone and significantly lower percent undercarboxylated osteocalcin concentrations compared with the group that did not receive phylloquinone. No other biochemical measures differed between the two groups.
Phylloquinone supplementation in a dose attainable in the diet does not confer any additional benefit for bone health at the spine or hip when taken with recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
Booth SL, Dallal G, Shea MK, Gundberg C…
J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. Apr 2008
PMID: 18252784 | Free Full Text
Vitamin K to prevent fractures in older women: systematic review and economic evaluation.
To determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of vitamin K in preventing osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.
Searches were conducted in May 2007 in MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, BIOSIS, CINAHL, DARE, NHS EED and HTA databases, AMED, NRR, Science Citation Index and Current Controlled Trials. The MEDLINE search was updated in March 2009.
Selected studies were assessed and subjected to data extraction and quality assessment using standard methods. Where appropriate, meta-analysis was carried out. A mathematical model was constructed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of vitamin K1.
The electronic literature searches identified 1078 potentially relevant articles. Of these, 14 articles relating to five trials that compared vitamin K with a relevant comparator in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or osteopenia met the review inclusion criteria. The double-blind ECKO trial compared 5 mg of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) with placebo in Canadian women with osteopenia but without osteoporosis. Four open-label trials used 45 mg of menatetrenone (vitamin K2) in Japanese women with osteoporosis; the comparators were no treatment, etidronate or calcium. The methodological quality of the ECKO trial was good; however, all four menatetrenone trials were poorly reported and three were very small (n < 100 in each group). Phylloquinone was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the risk of clinical fractures relative to placebo [relative risk 0.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.22 to 0.99]; morphometric vertebral fractures were not reported. The smaller menatetrenone trials found that menatetrenone was associated with a reduced risk of morphometric vertebral fractures relative to no treatment or calcium; however, the larger Osteoporosis Fracture (OF) study found no evidence of a reduction in vertebral fracture risk. The three smaller trials found no significant difference between treatment groups in non-vertebral fracture incidence. In the ECKO trial, phylloquinone was not associated with an increase in adverse events. In the menatetrenone trials, adverse event reporting was generally poor; however, in the OF study, menatetrenone was associated with a significantly higher incidence of skin and skin appendage lesions. No published economic evaluations of vitamin K were found and a mathematical model was thus constructed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of vitamin K1. Comparators were alendronate, risedronate and strontium ranelate. Vitamin K1 and alendronate were markedly more cost-effective than either risedronate or strontium ranelate. The base-case results favoured vitamin K1, but this relied on many assumptions, particularly on the efficacy of preventing hip and vertebral fractures. Calculation of the expected value of sampled information was conducted assuming a randomised controlled trial of 5 years’ duration comparing alendronate with vitamin K1. The costs incurred in obtaining updated efficacy data from a trial with 2000 women per arm were estimated to be a cost-effective use of resources.
There is currently large uncertainty over whether vitamin K1 is more cost-effective than alendronate; further research is required. It is unlikely that the present prescribing policy (i.e. alendronate as first-line treatment) would be altered.
Stevenson M, Lloyd-Jones M, Papaioannou D
Health Technol Assess Sep 2009
PMID: 19818211 | Free Full Text
This is a huge 158 page report. The reason they used K1 instead of K2 was:Vitamin K to prevent fractures in older women: systematic review and economic evaluation
No formal evaluation of vitamin K2 has been undertaken for a number of reasons. This intervention is currently not permitted as a food supplement in the EU because there is no evidence for its independent role in health26 and the price of the intervention is unknown. Additionally, the fracture efficacy data have wide confidence intervals, all of which spanned unity, and the only large (n > 1500 patients per arm) RCT reported a RR of 1.01 for vitamin K2 compared with calcium or no active intervention.