Vitamins E and K share structurally related side chains and are degraded to similar final products. For vitamin E the mechanism has been elucidated as initial omega-hydroxylation and subsequent beta-oxidation. For vitamin K the same mechanism can be suggested analogously. omega-Hydroxylation of vitamin E is catalyzed by cytochrome p450 enzymes, which often are induced by their substrates themselves via the activation of the nuclear receptor PXR. Vitamin E is able to induce CYP3A-forms and to activate a PXR-driven reporter gene. It is shown here that K-type vitamins are also able to activate PXR. A ranking showed that compounds with an unsaturated side chain were most effective, as are tocotrienols and menaquinone-4 (vitamin K(2)), which activated the reporter gene 8-10-fold. Vitamers with a saturated side chain, like tocopherols and phylloquinone were less active (2-5-fold activation). From the fact that CYPs commonly responsible for the elimination of xenobiotics are involved in the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins and the ability of the vitamins to activate PXR it can be concluded that supranutritional amounts of these vitamins might be considered as foreign.