Background/objectives: Vitamin K status has been linked to fat and glucose metabolism by several authors, but whether high vitamin K intake influences body weight or composition has remained unclear. Here we tested the hypothesis that increased vitamin K intake decreases body fat or fat distribution.
Subjects/methods: In a randomized placebo-controlled human intervention trial, 214 postmenopausal women, 55-65 years of age, received either 180 mcg/day of vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7, MK-7) or placebo for 3 years. Osteocalcin (OC) carboxylation was used as a marker for vitamin K status, and fat distribution was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry total body scan.
Results: In the total cohort, MK-7 supplementation increased circulating carboxylated OC (cOC) but had no effect on body composition. In those with an above-median response in OC carboxylation ('good responders'), MK-7 treatment resulted in a significant increase in total and human molecular weight adiponectin and a decrease in abdominal fat mass and in the estimated visceral adipose tissue area compared with the placebo group and the poor responders.
Conclusions: The fact that changes in body composition measures or markers for fat or glucose metabolism were not associated with changes in uncarboxylated OC (ucOC) does not support the assumption that ucOC stimulates fat metabolism in humans. Instead, high vitamin K2 intake may support reducing body weight, abdominal and visceral fat, notably in subjects showing a strong increase in cOC. A causal relation between the changes in cOC and body fat or distribution cannot be concluded from these data.