Vitamin K May Prevent or Even Reverse Osteoporosis

Vitamin K comes in two forms, vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) found primarily in green vegetables, and vitamin K2 (menaquinone) found in fermented foods. Two recent review articles focus on the considerable roles that both forms of vitamin K play in preventing, and even reversing, osteoporosis.

Human studies have shown that vitamin K supplements can increase bone mineral density and reduce fracture rates in osteoporotic individuals. Other studies have shown that vitamin K and vitamin D work synergistically on bone density.

Although most studies used vitamin K2 at pharmacological doses ranging from 45 to 90 mg per day, there is consistent evidence to suggest that much lower doses of vitamin K1 (80 to 1,000 mcg per day) may achieve similar results, especially if combined with vitamin D (Curr Opin Nutr Metab Care, 2001;4:483-7 and Nutrition, 2001;17(10):880-7).

If you are concerned about osteoporosis, it may be worthwhile to have a blood test to evaluate your vitamin K status. Testing directly for vitamin K in blood is expensive and may not be entirely accurate; however, a blood test for osteocalcin levels is simple, inexpensive and provides an indirect measure of vitamin K status.

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