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High vitamin K intake may benefit bone health

March 31, 2011

A diet rich in vitamin K may improve bone properties for elderly men and women, says a new Spanish study.

The observational study estimated vitamin K intake of 200 elderly men and women with an average age of 67 based on a food frequency questionnaire (1). Over a two-year period various measures of bone health, including bone mineral density (BMD), were performed. According to an analysis the average intake was
334 micrograms of vitamin K per day for men and 300 micrograms per day for women. The study results showed that high dietary intake of vitamin K was significantly related to better bone properties such as lower losses of bone mineral density and smaller increases in the porosity and elasticity attributed to aging.

The researchers commented that these findings help to explain the previously described protective effect of vitamin K intake against osteoporotic fractures. The causality may be linked to osteocalcin, a vitamin K-dependent protein which is essential for the body as it aids in the process of utilizing calcium in bone tissue. Without adequate vitamin K, the osteocalcin remains inactive.

While the study’s participants consumed a healthy diet, an increased intake of vitamin K in populations with lower vitamin consumptions or poor nutrition could be even more beneficial, the researchers concluded. Despite the positive impacts, vitamin K deficiency may be more common than previously thought, according to latest findings (2).

References

  1. Bullo M. et al. Dietary vitamin K intake is associated with bone quantitative ultrasound measurements but not with bone peripheral biochemical markers in elderly men and women. Bone. 2011.
  2. Cranenberg E.C.M. et al. Vitamin K: The coagulation vitamin that became omnipotent. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2007; 98:120–125.