~ Vitamin K Intake Associated with Increased Bone Mineral Density in Women

A study in the February 2003 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition established a positive association between consumption of dietary vitamin K and bone mineral density. The participants were part of the Framingham Offspring Study, a longitudinal study ongoing since 1971.

Bone mineral density measurements for the hip and spine were obtained for 1112 men and 1479 women who were participants from 1996 to 2000. Food-frequency questionnaires completed by the subjects provided information on diet and nutritional supplement consumption, and vitamin K1 intakes calculated. Fifty-nine men and 108 women participants in the group reported taking vitamin K supplements.

In both young and older women, higher vitamin K intakes were associated with higher hip and spine bone mineral densities, even after adjustment for various factors such as calcium and vitamin D intake. Correspondingly, low vitamin K intake was associated with low bone mineral density, which increases hip fracture risk. This association was not seen in men. In both supplement and nonsupplement users, women who had the highest vitamin K intake had the highest bone mineral density values, however the authors of the study felt that the sample size of supplement users was not large enough to be significant on some of the comparisons.

The authors conclude "These results provide further support to the hypothesis that dietary vitamin K is a modifiable factor that can attenuate age-related bone loss." The fact that the results were observed in women is of note, due to the higher rate of osteoporosis found in this population. (Booth SL et al, "Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men," Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:512-6)

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