Double Blind Study Finds That Natural Vitamin K2 Helps Prevent Bone Loss*
March 11, 2015
by Katie Jodscheidt, NASM-CPT, FNS
Vitamin K2 is essential for calcium-dependent processes in tissues throughout the body, including bone. Since the discovery of vitamin K in 19351 researchers have elucidated many important roles and sources of vitamin K2. Even though many research milestones have been realized with vitamin K2, the researchers at Innerzyme continue to study this incredible nutrient to gain additional knowledge; including how it enters the body and moves throughout cells and tissues, how it is stored and how it is metabolized2. A major nuance of studying the role of vitamin K2 in the human body is that it is present in relatively low levels, making it hard to detect and measure. All this being said, a number of recent reports from diverse research groups have found promising results related to vitamin K2 and bone health, particularly in postmenopausal women.
A recent peer reviewed study from the Netherlands sought out to determine the effects of a natural form of vitamin K2, menaquinone-7 (MK-7), in postmenopausal women3. This work was driven by the European Food Safety Authority’s acceptance of claims that vitamin K had a role in bone health. To test this, the researchers carefully designed their double blind and randomized experiment, in which they measured bone mineral density before the treatment, as well as 1, 2 or 3 years after taking the vitamin K2 supplement daily. Bone mineral density scans are used to estimate the strength of an individual’s skeletal system, a fairly common test for postmenopausal women. Moreover, they looked for fractures and determined vitamin K status throughout the study. In all, the study finished with 223 women, with roughly half the participants receiving MK-7 (180 μg) and the other half receiving a placebo, serving as a control or baseline for the experiment.
Within the first year of the supplementation study, maximal levels of circulating vitamin K were achieved, being maintained throughout the 3-year duration. When examining the effects of vitamin K supplementation on bone loss, a pattern of improvement was achieved between year 1 and year 2, but it wasn’t until year 3 that there was a significant benefit for all three bone areas analyzed. In terms of bone strength, the femoral neck was significantly stronger with supplementation. These results support the original claims that drove this work, providing strong evidence of the long-term benefits of vitamin K on bone health. Prior to this study, only two other one-year studies were done on vitamin K2 MK-7.4,5. These encouraging results with the natural form of vitamin K2, MK-7, are most likely due to its chemical properties, including its increased stability and higher potency, compared to other forms.
Altogether, this research provides well-documented results that contribute significantly to the growing knowledge base concerning the health benefits of vitamin K2 supplementation, including increased bone health. For healthy bone and soft tissue support, the recommended dosage of vitamin K2, MK-7 is 300mcg per day, or as directed by a licensed healthcare practitioner. In healthy individuals, research has not reported any side effects, adverse reactions or known toxicity as a result of large doses of vitamin K2, MK-7.
- Dam and Schønheyder, “The occurrence and chemical nature of vitamin K” Biochem J 30(5):897-901 (1936).
- Card et al., “Vitamin K metabolism: Current knowledge and future research” Mol Nutr Food Res 58(8):1590-600 (2014).
- Knapen et al., “Three-year low-dose menaquinone-7 supplementation helps decrease bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women” Osteoporos Int 24(9):2499-507 (2013).
- Emaus et al., “Vitamin K2 supplementation does not influence bone loss in early menopausal women: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial” Osteoporos Int 21:1731-40 (2009).
- Kanellakis 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 K(1)) or menaquinone-7 (vitamin K (2)): the Postmenopausal Health Study II” Calcif Tissue Int 90:251-62 (2012).
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.