Effect of vitamin K on bone mineral density and fractures in adults: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Osteoporos Int. 2019 Aug;30(8):1543-1559. doi: 10.1007/s00198-019-04949-0. Epub 2019 May 10.


Vitamin K may affect bone mineral density and fracture incidence. Since publication of a previous systematic review the integrity of some of the previous evidence has been questioned and further trials have been published. Therefore an update to the systematic review was required.

Introduction: This systematic review was designed to assess the effectiveness of oral vitamin K supplementation for increasing bone mineral density and reducing fractures in adults.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, CINAHL, clinicaltrials.gov, and WHO-ICTRP were searched for eligible trials. Randomised controlled trials assessing oral vitamin K supplementation that assessed bone mineral density or fractures in adult populations were included. A total of 36 studies were identified. Two independent reviewers extracted data using a piloted extraction form.

Results: For post-menopausal or osteoporotic patients, meta-analysis showed that the odds of any clinical fracture were lower for vitamin K compared to controls (OR, 0.72, 95%CI 0.55 to 0.95). Restricting the analysis to low risk of bias trials reduced the OR to 0.76 (95%CI, 0.58 to 1.01). There was no difference in vertebral fractures between the groups (OR 0.96, 95%CI 0.83 to 1.11). In the bone mineral density meta-analysis, percentage change from baseline at the lumbar spine was higher at 1 year (MD 0.93, 95%, CI - 0.02 to 1.89) and 2 years (MD 1.63%, 95%CI 0.10 to 3.16) for vitamin K compared to controls; however, removing trials at high risk of bias tended to result in smaller differences that were not statistically significant. At 6 months, it was higher in the hip (MD 0.42%, 95%CI 0.01 to 0.83) and femur (MD 0.29%, 95%CI 0.17 to 0.42). There was no significant difference at other anatomical sites.

Conclusions: For post-menopausal or osteoporotic patients, there is no evidence that vitamin K affects bone mineral density or vertebral fractures; it may reduce clinical fractures; however, the evidence is insufficient to confirm this. There are too few trials to draw conclusions for other patient groups.

Keywords: Bone health; Bone mineral density; Fracture; Osteoporosis; Systematic review; Vitamin K.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Spinal Fractures / prevention & control
  • Vitamin K / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin K / therapeutic use


  • Vitamin K