Role of Vitamin K in Intestinal Health

Front Immunol. 2022 Jan 5:12:791565. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.791565. eCollection 2021.


Intestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) and colorectal cancer (CRC) generally characterized by clinical symptoms, including malabsorption, intestinal dysfunction, injury, and microbiome imbalance, as well as certain secondary intestinal disease complications, continue to be serious public health problems worldwide. The role of vitamin K (VK) on intestinal health has drawn growing interest in recent years. In addition to its role in blood coagulation and bone health, several investigations continue to explore the role of VK as an emerging novel biological compound with the potential function of improving intestinal health. This study aims to present a thorough review on the bacterial sources, intestinal absorption, uptake of VK, and VK deficiency in patients with intestinal diseases, with emphasis on the effect of VK supplementation on immunity, anti-inflammation, intestinal microbes and its metabolites, antioxidation, and coagulation, and promoting epithelial development. Besides, VK-dependent proteins (VKDPs) are another crucial mechanism for VK to exert a gastroprotection role for their functions of anti-inflammation, immunomodulation, and anti-tumorigenesis. In summary, published studies preliminarily show that VK presents a beneficial effect on intestinal health and may be used as a therapeutic drug to prevent/treat intestinal diseases, but the specific mechanism of VK in intestinal health has yet to be elucidated.

Keywords: IBDs; VK; VKDPs; intestinal disease; intestinal health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / microbiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / microbiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / microbiology
  • Vitamin K Deficiency* / immunology
  • Vitamin K Deficiency* / microbiology
  • Vitamin K* / immunology
  • Vitamin K* / therapeutic use


  • Vitamin K