Vitamin K has been purported to play an important role in bone health. It is required for the gamma-carboxylation of osteocalcin (the most abundant noncollagenous protein in bone), making osteocalcin functional. There are 2 main forms (vitamin K1 and vitamin K2), and they come from different sources and have different biological activities. Epidemiologic studies suggest a diet high in vitamin K is associated with a lower risk of hip fractures in aging men and women. However, randomized controlled trials of vitamin K1 or K2 supplementation in white populations did not increase bone mineral density at major skeletal sites. Supplementation with vitamin K1 and K2 may reduce the risk of fractures, but the trials that examined fractures as an outcome have methodological limitations. Large well-designed trials are needed to compare the efficacies of vitamin K1 and K2 on fractures. We conclude that currently there is not enough evidence to recommend the routine use of vitamin K supplements for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures in postmenopausal women.
Interventional studies showed that vitamin K1 provided significant improvement in undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) levels in postmenopausal women with normal bone mineral density (BMD); however, there are inconsistent results in women with low BMD. There is no study showing any improvement in bone-alkaline-phosphatase (BAP), n-telopeptide of type-1 collagen (NTX), 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, and urinary markers. Improvement in BMD could not be shown in the majority of the studies; there is no interventional study evaluating the fracture risk.
Low intakes of vitamin K may increase the risk of hip fracture in women. The data support the suggestion for a reassessment of the vitamin K requirements that are based on bone health and blood coagulation.
Low dietary vitamin K intake was associated with low BMD in women, consistent with previous reports that low dietary vitamin K intake is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture. In contrast, there was no association between dietary vitamin K intake and BMD in men.
MK-4 stimulates testosterone production in rats and testis-derived tumor cells via activation of PKA. MK-4 may be involved in steroidogenesis in the testis, and its supplementation could reverse the downregulation of testosterone production in elders.
Vitamin K is often supplemented alongside Vitamin D, since they both support bone health. In fact, taking both together will improve the effects of each, since they are known to work synergistically. Vitamin K may attenuate the risk for vitamin D overdosing.