Vitamin K, osteoporosis and degenerative diseases of ageing

Menopause Int. 2011 Mar;17(1):19-23. doi: 10.1258/mi.2011.011006.


The function of vitamin K is to serve as a co-factor during the post-translational carboxylation of glutamate (Glu) residues into γ-carboxyglutamate (Gla) residues. The vital importance of the Gla-proteins essential for normal haemostasis is well recognized. During recent years, new Gla-containing proteins have been discovered and the vitamin K-dependent carboxylation is also essential for their function. It seems, however, that our dietary vitamin K intake is too low to support the carboxylation of at least some of these Gla-proteins. According to the triage theory, long-term vitamin K inadequacy is an independent, but modifiable risk factor for the development of degenerative diseases of ageing including osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 1-Carboxyglutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism*
  • Vitamin K / metabolism*
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / metabolism*
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Vitamins / metabolism


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin K
  • 1-Carboxyglutamic Acid