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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2012 Nov 12;11:93.
doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-93.

Comparison of menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7 Bioavailability in Healthy Women

Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Comparison of menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7 Bioavailability in Healthy Women

Toshiro Sato et al. Nutr J. .
Free PMC article


Background: Vitamin K₂ contributes to bone and cardiovascular health. Therefore, two vitamin K₂ homologues, menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7), have been used as nutrients by the food industry and as nutritional supplements to support bone and cardiovascular health. However, little is known about the bioavailability of nutritional MK-4. To investigate MK-4 and MK-7 bioavailability, nutritional doses were administered to healthy Japanese women.

Findings: Single dose administration of MK-4 (420 μg; 945 nmol) or MK-7 (420 μg; 647 nmol) was given in the morning together with standardized breakfast. MK-7 was well absorbed and reached maximal serum level at 6 h after intake and was detected up to 48 h after intake. MK-4 was not detectable in the serum of all subjects at any time point. Consecutive administration of MK-4 (60 μg; 135 nmol) or MK-7 (60 μg; 92 nmol) for 7 days demonstrated that MK-4 supplementation did not increase serum MK-4 levels. However, consecutive administration of MK-7 increased serum MK-7 levels significantly in all subjects.

Conclusions: We conclude that MK-4 present in food does not contribute to the vitamin K status as measured by serum vitamin K levels. MK-7, however significantly increases serum MK-7 levels and therefore may be of particular importance for extrahepatic tissues.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Change in serum vitamin K2 levels following a single oral dose (420 μg) of MK-4 or MK-7. Each point represents the mean ± SEM of 5 subjects at 0, 2, 4, 6, 10, 24, 48 and 72 h. ■=MK-4; ○=MK-7
Figure 2
Figure 2
Increased serum vitamin K2 levels in subjects after 7 days of consecutive administration (60 μg/day). Each value is expressed as the mean ± SEM of 5 subjects. ■=MK-4;□=MK-7

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