Vitamin K: an old vitamin in a new perspective

Dermatoendocrinol. 2015 Jan 21;6(1):e968490. doi: 10.4161/19381972.2014.968490. eCollection Jan-Dec 2014.


The topic of "Vitamin K" is currently booming on the health products market. Vitamin K is known to be important for blood coagulation. Current research increasingly indicates that the antihaemorrhagic vitamin has a considerable benefit in the prevention and treatment of bone and vascular disease. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is more abundant in foods but less bioactive than the vitamin K2 menaquinones (especially MK-7, menaquinone-7). Vitamin K compounds undergo oxidation-reduction cycling within the endoplasmic reticulum membrane, donating electrons to activate specific proteins via enzymatic gamma-carboxylation of glutamate groups before being enzymatically reduced. Along with coagulation factors (II, VII, IX, X, and prothrombin), protein C and protein S, osteocalcin (OC), matrix Gla protein (MGP), periostin, Gas6, and other vitamin K-dependent (VKD) proteins support calcium homeostasis, inhibit vessel wall calcification, support endothelial integrity, facilitate bone mineralization, are involved in tissue renewal and cell growth control, and have numerous other effects. The following review describes the history of vitamin K, the physiological significance of the K vitamers, updates skeletal and cardiovascular benefits and important interactions with drugs.

Keywords: bone health; cardiovascular health; matrix GLA protein; menaquinone-7; osteocalcin; phylloquinone; vitamin K.