Vitamin K may improve bone health in transplant patients

March 25, 2010

Vitamin K supplements may benefit bones in people following organ transplants, says a new study.

In the study, 35 lung and 59 heart recipients were assigned to receive either 180 microgram vitamin K2 supplements or placebo daily for one year (1). At the end of the study, bone mineral density at the lumbar spine region had improved in people supplementing vitamin K following heart or lung transplants.

The results suggest that dietary supplementation with vitamin K2 could have a favorable effect on bone mass, more for bone mineral density in the heart than the lung recipients, whereas for bone mineral content only in the lung recipients, the researchers said.

On the other hand, the researchers noted increases in levels of a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is a marker of vitamin D status. This indicated a greater need for vitamin D in these patients, the researchers commented.

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass, which leads to an increased risk of fractures, especially the hips, spine and wrists. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

References

  1. Forli L. et al. Dietary Vitamin K2 Supplement Improves Bone Status After Lung and Heart Transplantation. Transplantation. 2010; 89(4):458–464.