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The health benefits of vitamin K – Oct 2015

Open Heart 2015;2: doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000300
James J DiNicolantonio1, Jaikrit Bhutani2 and James H O'Keefe1
1Mid America Heart Institute at Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
2Pt. BD Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
Correspondence to: Dr James J DiNicolantonio; jjdinicol at gmail.com

Vitamin K has important functions within the body, some of which are still being discovered. Research has shown that vitamin K is an anticalcification, anticancer, bone-forming and insulin-sensitising molecule. Recent data indicate that subclinical vitamin K deficiency is not uncommon. Additionally, vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin may cause detrimental side effects, which may partly be blunted through vitamin K supplementation.

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The health benefits of vitamin K (taken from box 1 in the PDF)

Bone health

May help to prevent fractures due to osteopenia and osteoporosis18–20
Trial evidence

  • Vitamin K1 (5 mg daily) given to 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia for 2 years in a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial caused a greater than 50% reduction in clinical fractures (9 vs 20, p=0.04) versus placebo.
  • A recent meta-analysis has shown that vitamin K2 (45 mg/day) significantly reduces hip (77% reduction), vertebral (60% reduction) and all non-vertebral fractures (81% reduction).20

Cancer (especially liver cancer)

May help to prevent liver cancer and death in patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)54–61
Trial evidence

  • Five randomised controlled trials tested vitamin K2 (45 or 90 mg/day) in patients with HCC. Vitamin K2 significantly improved 1-year overall survival, (RR=1.03, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.05, p=0.03)74

Vascular calcifications

May help to prevent vascular calcifications (especially in patients on warfarin) 5 26 75
Trial evidence

  • Significantly delayed the development of coronary artery calcium in a 3-year, double-blind, randomised controlled trial of 452 patients.
  • In a 3-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, vitamin K1 (along with vitamin D) significantly delayed the deterioration of arterial elasticity37 in 181 postmenopausal women. This was not found with vitamin D alone.

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

May reduce the risk of CHD, CHD mortality and all-cause mortality 5 26 76

Insulin sensitivity

  • May help improve insulin sensitivity 40
  • Warfarin international normalised ratio (INR)
  • May help to stabilise INR in patients on warfarin 45

See also VitaminDWiki

Pages listed in BOTH the categories Vitamin K and Cardiovascular

Pages listed in BOTH the categories Vitamin K and Calcium

Pages listed in BOTH the categories Vitamin K and Bone

Pages listed in BOTH the categories Vitamin K and Liver

The health benefits of vitamin K – Oct 2015        
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