Role of vitamin K in bone metabolism

Annu Rev Nutr. 1995;15:1-22. doi: 10.1146/


Vitamin K is a cofactor required for the formation of gamma-carboxyglutamate (Gla) residues in proteins. Osteoblasts produce at least three different Gla-containing proteins: osteocalcin, matrix Gla-protein, and protein S. After cellular secretion of these proteins, the main part of each remains bound to the hydroxyapatite matrix in bone, but their function remains unclear. Part of the newly synthesized osteocalcin is also set free into the bloodstream, where it may be used as a diagnostic marker for bone formation. Several studies have demonstrated that a poor vitamin K status is associated with an increased risk of osteoporotic bone fractures. Whether vitamin K supplementation will reduce the rate of bone loss in postmenopausal women remains a matter of debate.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / chemistry
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Osteocalcin / analysis
  • Osteocalcin / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Vitamin K / physiology*
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / metabolism
  • Vitamin K Deficiency / physiopathology


  • Osteocalcin
  • Vitamin K