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Vitamin K May Increase Bone Density

As we age, we lose bone density, which can result in an increased risk of fractures. A new study suggests that vitamin K supplementation may improve bone density in postmenopausal women.

The postmenopausal women who participated in the study were divided into four groups. For a period of 12 months, they received one of the following four interventions daily:

1) dairy products fortified with 800 mg calcium and 10 mcg of vitamin D3

2) the same dairy products, plus 100 mcg of vitamin K1

3) the same dairy products, plus 100 mcg of vitamin K2

4) a control group

At the conclusion of the study, participants in all three of the intervention groups had significant increases in vitamin D levels and total body bone density. However, only the participants who received the vitamin K also saw significant increases in the bone density of the lumbar spine.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harokopio University in Greece. It was published in the April 2012 issue of Calcified Tissue International.

Previous studies have linked vitamin K to bone and cardiovascular health. However, a number of recent studies have found that vitamin K may also reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Vitamin K1 can be found in leafy green vegetables and some oils but it has a very short half-life, meaning it loses half of its potency in 1-2 hours. As a result, increasing your K1 intake through diet alone can be very difficult. Vitamin K2 on the other hand has a much longer half-life and is better absorbed. Foods high in vitamin K2 include cheese, egg yolk, chicken liver and ground beef.

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