Association of vitamin K status with adiponectin and body composition in healthy subjects: uncarboxylated osteocalcin is not associated with fat mass and body weight

Br J Nutr. 2012 Sep 28;108(6):1017-24. doi: 10.1017/S000711451100626X. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


Osteocalcin (OC) is a vitamin K-dependent protein found in bone and in circulation. High serum γ-carboxylated OC reflects a high, and high uncarboxylated OC (ucOC) reflects a low vitamin K status. A revolutionary hypothesis is that ucOC acts as a hormone improving glucose handling and reducing fat mass. The objective was to test the logical extrapolation of the ucOC hormone hypothesis to humans that elevated ucOC is associated with higher body weight, BMI and fat mass. In a cross-sectional analysis, the associations of vitamin K status with circulating adiponectin and body composition were investigated in 244 postmenopausal women (study I). The effects of vitamin K treatment on adiponectin, body weight and BMI were investigated in archived samples from forty-two young men and women who received varying doses of menaquinone-7 during 12 weeks (study II) and from a cohort of 164 postmenopausal women who participated in a 3-year placebo-controlled trial on 45 mg menaquinone-4 (MK-4) (study III). No association was found between vitamin K status and circulating adiponectin before or after vitamin K supplementation. A higher carboxylation of OC was significantly correlated with lower body weight, BMI and fat mass of the trunk. Women taking MK-4 maintained their baseline body weight and BMI, whereas women taking placebo showed significant increases in both indices. These findings demonstrate that a high vitamin K status of bone has no effect on circulating adiponectin in healthy people and long-term vitamin K supplementation does not increase weight in healthy postmenopausal women.

Trial registration: NCT00483431 NCT00642551.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Weight
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteocalcin / blood*
  • Osteocalcin / metabolism
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vitamin K / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin K / blood*
  • Vitamin K / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / pathology
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / physiopathology
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Osteocalcin
  • Vitamin K

Associated data