Osteoporosis and Vitamin K.




Arthritis & Rheumatism

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Vitamin K Arthritis, Osteo
Professional Data: Vitamin K Arthritis, Osteo


If you are a woman over forty, you may be starting to worry about bone health. Everyone loses bone as they age. By the time a women is told she has osteoporosis, her gradual loss of bone mass has been progressing for years. Men lose bone too, but only about half as fast as women. Medically speaking, osteoporosis is characterized by low bone density and structural deterioration of bone tissue. The soft spongy bone in the wrists, hips, and spine are the most vulnerable to osteoporosis and prone to breakage as a result.

Unlike the dead, brittle skeleton hanging in the high school biology lab, bone is a living, metabolically active tissue. Throughout life, bone is constantly rebuilding itself. Bone serves as a storehouse for minerals, chiefly calcium, which can be tapped to meet the body's mineral requirements. Bone is broken down through a process called "resorption," releasing its minerals into the general circulation. New bone is then formed to replace the reabsorbed bone, preventing a net loss of bone. This is called bone "remodeling." As we age, however, bone formation begins to fall behind, causing the gradual bone loss that culminates in osteoporosis.

A recent study acknowledged that a low intake of vitamin K can result in abnormal bone and cartilage mineralization. This study examined the role of vitamin K and the prevalence of osteoarthritis. Using participants from the Framingham Offspring Study, levels of phylloquinone (primary source of vitamin K) were measured in 672 people aged 65.5 years. Radiographs were also performed on hands and knees. The results were adjusted for sex, age, BMI, and vitamin D levels among others. The results showed that the prevalence ratios for osteoarthritis decreased as levels of phylloquinone increased. The author concluded that, “These observational data support the hypothesis of an association between low plasma levels of vitamin K and increased prevalence of OA manifestations in the hand and knee.”1


1. Neogi T, et al. Low vitamin K status is associated with osteoarthritis in the hand and knee. Arth & Rheum. Apr 2006;54(4):1255-61.