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Healthy Bones, Joints & Muscles

What is the effect of vitamin K supplementation on bones?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael T. Murray, Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Although vitamin K1 from green leafy vegetables is important to healthy bone, vitamin K2 supplements may have an even more powerful influence in women with existing osteoporosis. A number of clinical trials in Japan have shown that vitamin K2 at high dosages (45 mg daily) can actually increase bone density and reduce hip fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis when used in conjunction with calcium and vitamin D. In fact, the results from one study of 200 elderly female patients receiving either a placebo or 45 mg of vitamin K2 (menatetrenone), 1,000 IU of vitamin D, and 600 mg of calcium showed that bone density increased by 2.3 percent in the treated group and decreased by 5.2 percent in the placebo group. Twenty-two patients in the untreated group sustained fractures (15 had hip fractures), but there were only three fractures (two hip fractures) in the group getting the vitamin therapy. That translates to a reduction of 87 percent in the risk of hip and other fractures in this high-risk group (compared with a placebo group), a reduction significantly better than that achieved with bisphosphonates.

  • Vitamin K is needed to create two proteins found in bone and plays a significant role in activating osteoblasts (bone-forming cells). Without it, bones produce an abnormal form of these proteins that can’t bind to the minerals that normally form them. One Japanese study suggests that low vitamin K levels play a role in the breakdown of bone after menopause. Some researchers contend that postmenopausal women are at risk for a low-level vitamin K deficiency that the traditional blood-clotting test would not detect. In addition, the Framingham Heart Study found that seniors with a high dietary intake of vitamin K had a 65 percent lower risk of hip fractures.
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