Vitamin K effects in human health: new insights beyond bone and cardiovascular health

J Nephrol. 2020 Apr;33(2):239-249. doi: 10.1007/s40620-019-00685-0. Epub 2019 Dec 19.


Vitamin K is a cofactor for the function of the enzyme γ-glutamyl carboxylase, necessary for the activation of multiple vitamin K dependent-proteins. Vitamin K dependent-proteins (VKDPs) have important roles in bone health, vascular health, metabolism, reproduction as well as in cancer progression. Vitamin K deficiency is common in different conditions, including kidney disease, and it may influence the activity of VKDPs. This review discusses vitamin K status in human health and the physiologic and pathologic roles of VKDPs, beyond the established effects in skeletal and cardiovascular health.

Keywords: Bone disease; Cancer; Chronic kidney disease; Vascular calcifications; Vitamin K.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Vitamin K / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin K