Vitamin K is an enzyme cofactor required for the carboxylation of vitamin K dependent proteins, several of which have been implicated in diseases of aging. Inflammation is recognized as a crucial component of many chronic aging diseases and evidence suggests vitamin K has an anti-inflammatory action that is independent of its role as an enzyme co-factor. Vitamin K-dependent proteins and inflammation have been implicated in cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis, which are leading causes of disability and mortality in older adults. The purpose of this review is to summarize observational studies and randomized trials focused on vitamin K status and inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis. Although mechanistic evidence suggests a protective role for vitamin K in these age-related conditions, the benefit of vitamin K supplementation is controversial because observational data are equivocal and the number of randomized trials is few.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; inflammation; menaquinone; older adults; osteoarthritis; phylloquinone; vitamin K.