Written by Jessica Patella, ND. Study of 117 post menopausal women found that 4 groups containing combinations of calcium, vitamin D3 and K1 & K2 all significantly increased total mineral bone density compared to control; however, only the Vitamin K1 & K2 groups increased bone density in the lower spine.
Women have an increased rate of bone loss during and after menopause (2). With an estimated 37.5 million women reaching or currently menopausal, there is an increased concern with bone loss and menopause (3). Recent research suggests vitamin K, in addition to calcium and vitamin D, has a favorable role in bone health (1).
Recent research included 173 postmenopausal women (aged 54-73 years) that were divided into four groups. Group 1 received 800 mg of calcium and 10 mircograms of vitamin D3 (n=38). Group 2 received 800 mg of calcium, 10 mircograms of vitamin D3, and 100 micrograms of vitamin K1 ( phylloquinone) (n=38). Group 3 received 800 mg of calcium, 10 mircograms of vitamin D3, and 100 micrograms of vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) (n=39). All nutrients in groups 1-3 were obtained through fortified milk and yogurt. Group 4, the control group, did not receive any dietary intervention for the 12-month period (n=58) (1).
Participants in the three intervention groups also attended biweekly lifestyle counseling sessions at the local university. The goal was to increase awareness on osteoporosis and motivate lifestyle and dietary changes for health improvement (1). They were also encouraged to increase their walking measured by pedometer (1). All intervention groups increased their walking by approximately 3,000 steps per day or an average of 1.5 miles by the 12-month follow-up (1).
Significant increases in total body bone mineral density, were observed in all intervention groups compared to the control group (P<0.05). Although increased bone density in the lower spine (L2-L4) was only observed in the vitamin K groups compared to baseline.
Markers of bone breakdown were significantly decreased in the intervention groups taking vitamin K 1 and K2, Indicating vitamin K1 and K2 decreased bone breakdown.
|Triglycerides after meals (“postprandial”)||No change|
(94 to 94 mg/dL)
(125 to 147 mg/dL)
(100 to 125 mg/dL)
(108 to 145 mg/dL)
|Triglycerides upon waking (fasting)||3% decrease|
(101 to 98 mg/dL)
(122 to 114 mg/dL)
(97 to 97 mg/dL)
(108 to 119 mg/dL)
|LDL cholesterol upon waking ("fasting")||1.2% decrease|
(84 to 83 mg/dL)
(95 to 102 mg/dL)
(93 to 102 mg/dL)
(91 to 107 mg/dL)
|LDL cholesterol after meals ("postprandial")||1.3% decrease|
(81 to 80 mg/dL)
(89 to 99 mg/dL)
(89 to 99 mg/dL)
(86 to 105 mg/dL)
In conclusion, dietary intake of Vitamin K1 and K2 with calcium and vitamin D is likely to lead to suppression of bone breakdown, which is associated with a lower risk of bone fracture (1). Changes in bone metabolism should be attributed to both the diet and increase in walking (1). Further research with higher doses of Vitamin K should be considered in the future (1).
Source: “Changes in Parameters of Bone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women Following a 12-Month Intervention Period Using Dairy Products Enriched with Calcium, Vitamin D, and Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) or Menaquinone-7 (Vitamin K2): The Postmenopausal Health Study II.” from Calcified Tissue International. Posted June 27, 2012. r/km
Jessica Patella, ND, is a naturopathic physician specializing in nutrition and homeopathic medicine and offers a holistic approach to health. Visit her website at www.awarenesswellness.com
- Kanellakis S, et al. Changes in Parameters of Bone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women Following a 12-Month Intervention Period Using Dairy Products Enriched with Calcium, Vitamin D, and Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) or Menaquinone-7 (Vitamin K2): The Postmenopausal Health Study II. Calcif Tissue Int. 2012. Doi: 10.1007/s00223-012-9571-Z.
- Ahlborg HG, et al. Bone loss and bone size after menopause. 2003. N England J Med 349: 327-334.
- Menopause – see the Centers for Disease Control website.