Monthly Archives: April 2014

Low Vitamin K1, but Not K2, Associated with Hip Fracture


Intake of vitamin K1 and K2 and risk of hip fractures: The Hordaland Health Study.

Evidence of the effect of vitamin K on bone health is conflicting. The aim was to investigate the association between intake of vitamins K1 and K2 and subsequent risk of hip fracture in a general population sample, as well as potential effect modification by apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) status by presence of the E4 allele.
1238 men and 1569 women 71-75 years of age were included in the community-based Hordaland Health Study 1997-1999 in Western Norway. Information on hip fracture was obtained from hospitalizations in the region from enrolment until 31 December 2009. Information on intake of vitamins K1 and K2 collected at baseline was used as potential predictors of hip fracture in Cox proportional hazards regression analyses.
Participants in the lowest compared to the highest quartile of vitamin K1 intake had increased risk of suffering a hip fracture (hazard ratio (HR)=1.57 [95% CI 1.09, 2.26]). Vitamin K2 intake was not associated with hip fracture. Presence of APOE4-allele did not increase the risk of hip fracture, nor was there any effect modification with vitamin K1 in relation to risk of hip fracture.
A low intake of vitamin K1, but not K2, was associated with an increased risk of hip fractures.

Apalset EM, Gjesdal CG, Eide GE, Tell GS
Bone Nov 2011
PMID: 21839190

Review: Vitamin K and Bone Health 1998-2008


Update on the role of vitamin K in skeletal health.

A protective role for vitamin K in bone health has been suggested based on its role as an enzymatic cofactor. In observational studies, vitamin K insufficiency is generally associated with lower bone mass and increased hip fracture risk. However, these findings are not supported in randomized controlled trials (RCT) of phylloquinone (vitamin K(1)) supplementation and bone loss at the hip in the elderly. This suggests that increased vegetable and legume intakes may simultaneously improve measures of vitamin K status and skeletal health, even though the mechanisms underlying these improvements may be independent of each other. Menaquinone-4 (vitamin K(2)), when given at pharmacological doses, appears to protect against fracture risk and bone loss at the spine. However, there are emerging data that suggest the efficacy of vitamin K supplementation on bone loss is inconclusive.

Shea MK, Booth SL
Nutr. Rev. Oct 2008
PMID: 18826451 | Free Full Text

This is a great review of the different forms of Vitamin K and their benefits for bone. The full study includes a table listing many studies dated from 1998 to 2008 with their outcomes. I highly recommend reading the full text.

MK-4 in doses of 45 mg/d is used as a pharmacological treatment for osteoporosis in Japan, so there are numerous randomized control studies that have assessed the efficacy of MK-4 supplementation on skeletal health. Such doses cannot be attained from the diet, regardless of the form of vitamin K consumed. Phylloquinone from the diet is converted to MK-4 in certain tissues, including bone, but the proportion of phylloquinone that is converted is not known and no dose-dependent data are available for this conversion.


As reviewed in an earlier volume of this journal,60 studies indicate a therapeutic dose (45 mg/day) of MK-4 has a beneficial effect on spine or metacarpal BMD and fracture61–76 (Table 2). There is also improvement in bone turnover, as measured by circulating markers of bone formation and bone resorption, in response to MK-4 supplementation studies.71,72,76,77 In a separate systematic review and analysis of randomized clinical trials assessing the influence of vitamin K supplementation on hip fracture, Cockayne et al.78 concluded that supplementation with MK-4 for longer than 6 months reduces risk for hip and vertebral fracture. Included in that analysis were 12 studies that used daily doses of 45 mg/d of MK-4. As discussed by the authors, several of the studies used for the meta-analysis lacked sufficient sample size,64–66,70,73,79 were non-placebo-controlled intervention trials,70–74,76,77,80 and/or used concurrent treatment with calcium and/or vitamin D.62,69,75,76

It was subsequently disclosed that a large unpublished surveillance study conducted in Japan (n > 3000) did not find a protective effect of MK-4 supplementation (45 mg/day) on bone loss and fracture in the elderly, and that inclusion of this study may have altered the results of the meta-analysis.81 More recently, two placebo-controlled studies with large sample sizes reported no protective effect of 45 mg/d of MK-4 on hip BMD.59,67 Prior to these two publications, the majority of MK-4 supplementation studies did not report hip BMD as an outcome (Table 2). Given the heterogeneous quality of the studies used and considering the null findings of more recent, larger, placebo-controlled trials and unpublished surveillance data, prior systematic reviews and meta-analyses may need to be revisited.


Review: Vitamin K Evidence is Mixed


Vitamin K and bone health in older adults.

Vitamin K is one of several nutrients that have been linked with bone health. In particular, there is an emerging literature regarding the questionable efficacy of vitamin K supplementation in reducing age-related bone loss. This review aims to summarize the role of vitamin K in bone health in older adults and discuss the clinical implications from a select few human studies. The evidence for vitamin K supplementation in older adults is mixed. Although the observational studies have shown linkages between vitamin K intake and lower risk of fractures in this population, the current evidence from randomized controlled trials is not strongly supportive of vitamin K supplementation in older adults for the intent of improving bone health.

Shah K, Gleason L, Villareal DT
J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr 2014
PMID: 24597993

Review: Vitamin K May Reduce Fractures


Vitamin K and bone health.

Vitamin K has been purported to play an important role in bone health. It is required for the gamma-carboxylation of osteocalcin (the most abundant noncollagenous protein in bone), making osteocalcin functional. There are 2 main forms (vitamin K1 and vitamin K2), and they come from different sources and have different biological activities. Epidemiologic studies suggest a diet high in vitamin K is associated with a lower risk of hip fractures in aging men and women. However, randomized controlled trials of vitamin K1 or K2 supplementation in white populations did not increase bone mineral density at major skeletal sites. Supplementation with vitamin K1 and K2 may reduce the risk of fractures, but the trials that examined fractures as an outcome have methodological limitations. Large well-designed trials are needed to compare the efficacies of vitamin K1 and K2 on fractures. We conclude that currently there is not enough evidence to recommend the routine use of vitamin K supplements for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures in postmenopausal women.

Hamidi MS, Gajic-Veljanoski O, Cheung AM
J Clin Densitom. 2013 Oct-Dec
PMID: 24090644

Vitamin K1 and K2 Reversed Bone Loss in Obese Mice


Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone-4) supplementation improves bone formation in a high-fat diet-induced obese mice.

Several reports suggest that obesity is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Vitamin K plays an important role in improving bone metabolism. This study examined the effects of vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 supplementation on the biochemical markers of bone turnover and morphological microstructure of the bones by using an obese mouse model. Four-week-old C57BL/6J male mice were fed a 10% fat normal diet group or a 45% kcal high-fat diet group, with or without 200 mg/1000 g vitamin K1 (Normal diet + K1, high-fat diet + K1) and 200 mg/1000 g vitamin K2 (Normal diet + K2, high-fat diet + K2) for 12 weeks. Serum levels of osteocalcin were higher in the high-fat diet + K2 group than in the high-fat diet group. Serum OPG level of the high-fat diet group, high-fat diet + K1 group, and high-fat diet + K2 group was 2.31 ± 0.31 ng/ml, 2.35 ± 0.12 ng/ml, and 2.90 ± 0.11 ng/ml, respectively. Serum level of RANKL in the high-fat diet group was significantly higher than that in the high-fat diet + K1 group and high-fat diet + K2 group (p<0.05). Vitamin K supplementation seems to tend to prevent bone loss in high-fat diet induced obese state. These findings suggest that vitamin K supplementation reversed the high fat diet induced bone deterioration by modulating osteoblast and osteoclast activities and prevent bone loss in a high-fat diet-induced obese mice.

Kim M, Na W, Sohn C
J Clin Biochem Nutr Sep 2013
PMID: 24062608 | Free Full Text

Vitamin K is related to blood coagulation, assisting the promotion of OC carboxylation of γ-glutamic acid, which is produced by osteoblasts, and aiding in bone formation by coupling carboxylated OC with phosphine.(15) Many studies have demonstrated that low intake of vitamin K decreases bone density, and that this is a factor that increases osteoporosis and bone fracture.(16) In the study by Booth et al.,(17) low intake of vitamin K1 led to low bone density, and was a factor for increased risk of bone fracture. When vitamin K1 was administered to human bone marrow culture, osteoclast formation was inhibited.(13) After administering vitamin K2 to osteoblasts, real-time gene expression analysis found that the OC, OPG, and RANKL genes were expressed, demonstrating that vitamin K2 has an influence on osteoblasts and osteoclasts.(18) In addition, vitamin K2 supplementation in patients with osteoporosis necessitated by the administration of glucocorticoids inhibited OPG decrease, and had effects of bone loss prevention.(19) Vitamin K2 supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis accompanied with osteoporosis decreased RANKL levels and inhibited osteoclast activation.(20) Therefore, vitamin K affects bone condition both in healthy adults and in patients with specific diseases.


The results of the bone density analysis revealed an increase with the vitamin K1 and K2 supplementation in high-fat diets. Studies on the relationship between bone density and vitamin K generally have used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or ultrasonic densitometry,(32) but this study used high-resolution 3D micro-CT to analyze the morphologic microstructure of trabecular bone. In the study by Fujikawa et al.,(24) the Tb.N increased when vitamin K2 and calcium were fed to ovariectomized mice, and the Tb.Sp decreased. Yamaguchi et al.,(33) also fed vitamin K2 to ovariectomized rats, and reported that it prevented bone loss. These two studies used osteoporosis-induced animals, and the methods differed from those in this study, in which obesity-induced mice were fed vitamin K supplements. In this study, even though there was no significantly statistical difference in the microstructure analysis between the groups, but BV, Tb.N, and Tb.Sp were seemed to be better in the vitamin K2-supplemented group than those in the HF group, indicating that vitamin K2 may play a role in protecting the structures of trabecular bone.


The effects of vitamin K1 and K2 supplementation in normal diet on bone metabolism were not statistically significant. However, vitamin K1 and K2 supplementation in a high-fat diet could prevent a decrease in bone density, and vitamin K2 had a greater effect on this parameter. Therefore, vitamin K2 increases OPG, a marker related to bone density and the metabolism of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, and it decreases RANKL, and thus has an influence on bone metabolism. This study has showed the effects of vitamin K on bone density and metabolism in animals, but further studies are needed to determine whether the same holds true for obese humans. Future studies would need to perform bone measurement and biochemical examinations on the bone microstructures and metabolism in humans.


Review: MK-4 Stimulates Osteoblasts


[Effect of vitamin K on bone material properties].

Collagen cross-links are determinants of bone quality. Because vitamin K is thought to ameliorate bone quality, we summarized the literature regarding the effect of vitamin K such as menatetorenone (MK-4) on bone matrix property in the review. MK-4 seems to stimulate the osteoblastic activity. This results in the increase in collagen accumulation and lysyl oxidase controlled enzymatic cross-links in bone. Furthermore, vitamin K stimulates the secretion of collagen binding protein regulating proper fibrillogenesis such as leucine-rich repeat protein (tsukushi). This kinds of non-collagenous proteins induced by the treatment of vitamin K may also affect proper collagen cross-link formation and show the favorable effect on bone material quality.

Saito M
Clin Calcium Dec 2009
PMID: 19949271

Vitamin K1 at 600mcg for 6 Months Doesn’t Significantly Increase Bone Density in Women


Vitamin K supplementation does not significantly impact bone mineral density and biochemical markers of bone in pre- and perimenopausal women.

Because of its role in osteoblastic metabolism, vitamin K has been studied with respect to bone. However, there has been limited research examining the influence of long-term vitamin K supplementation on bone mineral density (BMD). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the impact of 6 months of vitamin K supplementation on BMD and biomarkers of bone in pre- and perimenopausal women. Based on previous work, we hypothesized that vitamin K would improve BMD and biochemical markers of bone formation. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial is an effective way to study the impact of long-term supplementation. Thus, 14 pre- and perimenopausal women, 25 to 50 years of age, were randomly assigned to an experimental group (E) that received 600 microg/d of vitamin K in the form of phylloquinone (K(1)) or a control group (C) that received identical-looking placebo tablets. Regional BMD and percent body fat, measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, and serum osteocalcin and urinary N-telopeptide levels were all assessed at 0, 3, and 6 months. When BMD was measured across time, C had a significant increase (P = .011) in greater trochanter BMD compared to E. The E group had a nonsignificant increase (P = .067) in shaft BMD compared to the C group. There was no significant difference between E and C in serum osteocalcin concentrations over time. Urinary N-telopeptide levels increased significantly over time in E compared to C (P = .008). Six months of 600 microg/d vitamin K(1) supplementation did not improve regional BMD in this group of pre- and perimenopausal women.

Volpe SL, Leung MM, Giordano H
Nutr Res Sep 2008
PMID: 19083462

Review: Vitamin K1 Improves Bone Strength and Reduces Fractures


[Postmenopausal osteoporosis. Role of vitamin K in the prevention of osteoporosis].

Low vitamin K1 intake and low plasma vitamin K1 levels are associated with low bone mineral density (BMD) and increased osteoporotic fracture risk in postmenopausal women. Despite the lack of a significant change or the occurrence of only a modest increase in bone mineral density, high-dose vitamin K(1) supplementation improved indices of bone strength in the femoral neck and reduced the incidence of clinical fractures.

Malinova M
Akush Ginekol (Sofiia) 2013
PMID: 24294745

Review: Vitamin K and Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women


Effects of vitamin K in postmenopausal women: mini review.

Possible benefits of vitamin K on bone health, fracture risk, markers of bone formation and resorption, cardiovascular health, and cancer risk in postmenopausal women have been investigated for over three decades; yet there is no clear evidence-based universal recommendation for its use. Interventional studies showed that vitamin K1 provided significant improvement in undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) levels in postmenopausal women with normal bone mineral density (BMD); however, there are inconsistent results in women with low BMD. There is no study showing any improvement in bone-alkaline-phosphatase (BAP), n-telopeptide of type-1 collagen (NTX), 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, and urinary markers. Improvement in BMD could not be shown in the majority of the studies; there is no interventional study evaluating the fracture risk. Studies evaluating the isolated effects of menatetrenone (MK-4) showed significant improvement in osteocalcin (OC); however, there are inconsistent results on BAP, NTX, and urinary markers. BMD was found to be significantly increased in the majority of studies. The fracture risk was assessed in three studies, which showed decreased fracture risk to some extent. Although there are proven beneficial effects on some of the bone formation markers, there is not enough evidence-based data to support a role for vitamin K supplementation in osteoporosis prevention among healthy, postmenopausal women receiving vitamin D and calcium supplementation. Interventional studies investigating the isolated role of vitamin K on cardiovascular health are required. Longterm clinical trials are required to evaluate the effect of vitamin K on gynecological cancers. MK-4 seems safe even at doses as high as 45 mg/day.

Guralp O, Erel CT
Maturitas Mar 2014
PMID: 24342502

Vitamin K1 and Vitamin D are Independently and Synergistically Associated with Lower Hip Fracture in Elderly


Vitamin K1 and 25(OH)D are independently and synergistically associated with a risk for hip fracture in an elderly population: A case control study.

The incidence of hip fractures in Oslo is among the highest in the world. Vitamin D, as well as vitamin K, may play an important role in bone metabolism. We examined if vitamin K1 and 25(OH)D were associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, and whether the possible synergistic effect of these two micronutrients is mediated through bone turnover markers.
Blood was drawn for vitamin K1, 25(OH)D, and the bone turnover marker osteocalcin upon admission for hip fracture and in healthy controls.
Vitamin K1 and 25(OH)D were independently associated with a risk of hip fracture. The adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) per ng/ml increase in vitamin K1 was 0.07 (0.02-0.32), and that per nmol/L increase in 25(OH)D was 0.96 (0.95-0.98). There was a significant interaction between 25(OH)D and vitamin K1 (p < 0.001), and a significant correlation between total osteocalcin and vitamin K1 and 25(OH)D (rho = 0.18, p = 0.01; rho = 0.20, p = 0.01, respectively).
Vitamin K1 and 25(OH)D are lower in hip fracture patients compared with controls. Vitamin K1 and 25(OH)D are independently and synergistically associated with the risk of hip fracture when adjusting for confounders. Intervention studies should include both vitamins.

Torbergsen AC, Watne LO, Wyller TB, Frihagen F…
Clin Nutr Jan 2014
PMID: 24559841