Comparison of menaquinone-4 and menaquinone-7 bioavailability in healthy women

Nutr J. 2012 Nov 12:11:93. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-93.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / blood
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / metabolism
  • Breakfast
  • Cardiovascular Agents / blood
  • Cardiovascular Agents / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Kinetics
  • Limit of Detection
  • Nutritive Value
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Vitamin K 2 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin K 2 / blood
  • Vitamin K 2 / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Vitamin K 2
  • menatetrenone
  • menaquinone 7