Vitamin K: Infection, Inflammation, and Auto-Immunity

J Inflamm Res. 2024 Feb 20:17:1147-1160. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S445806. eCollection 2024.


Vitamin K (VK) comprises a group of substances with chlorophyll quinone bioactivity and exists in nature in the form of VK1 and VK2. As its initial recognition originated from the ability to promote blood coagulation, it is known as the coagulation vitamin. However, based on extensive research, VK has shown potential for the prevention and treatment of various diseases. Studies demonstrating the beneficial effects of VK on immunity, antioxidant capacity, intestinal microbiota regulation, epithelial development, and bone protection have drawn growing interest in recent years. This review article focuses on the mechanism of action of VK and its potential preventive and therapeutic effects on infections (eg, asthma, COVID-19), inflammation (eg, in type 2 diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis) and autoimmune disorders (eg, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis). In addition, VK-dependent proteins (VKDPs) are another crucial mechanism by which VK exerts anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. This review explores the potential role of VK in preventing aging, combating neurological abnormalities, and treating diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Although current research appoints VK as a therapeutic tool for practical clinical applications in infections, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases, future research is necessary to elucidate the mechanism of action in more detail and overcome current limitations.

Keywords: VK-dependent proteins; auto-immune disease; infection; inflammation; vitamin K.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the General Project of Liaoning Provincial Department of Education (JYTMS20230566 to Yuyuan Li) and the China Health Promotion Association (Z093001 to Shuzhuang Li).