The association between vitamin K and the metabolic syndrome: a 10-year follow-up study in adults (Dam V, et al.)

Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities and is associated with increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and higher all-cause mortality. While the prevalence of the MetS is still increasing in the United States and almost one-fourth of the European population is diagnosed with MetS, new research demonstrates how Vitamin K2 can positively impact MetS sufferers.

A healthy lifestyle and diet may prevent MetS, and vitamin K intake has been associated with several components of MetS. High intakes of both phylloquinone and menaquinones have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and with a more favorable lipoprotein profile. Additionally, recent studies have shown associations of high vitamin K intakes with lower body mass index (BMI) and a more favorable body composition.

To that end, Dam et al. grouped participants aged 40-80 years into two cohorts (one of 402 women and one of 400 men) to examine whether the intake of phylloquinone and menaquinones and vitamin K status are associated with MetS and its individual components both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

At baseline 270 (34.5%) participants had MetS and 171 (35.7%) at follow-up. Cross sectionally, high menaquinones intakes were associated (Ptrend = .08) with a lower prevalence of MetS with a prevalence ratio (PR) of 0.74 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-1.03) for the highest vs. the lowest tertile. At follow-up, the highest tertiles of menaquinones intake (PR = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.40-0.95) and vitamin K status (PR = 0.57; 95% CI, 0.38-0.87) were associated (Ptrend = .01) with a lower occurrence of MetS.

This study showed that high intakes of menaquinones and high vitamin K status were associated with a reduced occurrence of MetS, both cross sectionally and longitudinally. These associations were mainly driven by triacylglycerol and waist circumference. Meanwhile, phylloquinone and total vitamin K intake were not significantly associated with MetS.

The researchers report that the different associations for phylloquinone and menaquinones might be explained by their transport and distribution over the body. “They are mainly transported in plasma by lipoproteins, from which phylloquinone is effectively cleared by the liver for activation of clotting factors, while menaquinones are redistributed via low density lipoproteins,” they write.

In conclusion, high intakes of vitamin K2 and high vitamin K status were associated with a reduced occurrence of MetS.


“This is an important study,” says Katarzyna Maresz, PhD, president of the International Science and Health Foundation. “While a number of K-dependent proteins have been discovered, we are just beginning to see the results of studies confirming their mechanisms and how they benefit human health. This study brings us one step closer to seeing how higher Vitamin K2 consumption can help an increasingly large population wrestling with Metabolic Syndrome, a dangerous precursor to serious health issues.”

Reference: Dam V, Dalmeijer GW, Vermeer C, Drummen NE, Knapen MH, van der Schouw YT, Beulens JW. The association between vitamin K and the metabolic syndrome: a 10-year follow-up study in adults. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun;100(6):2472-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4449. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

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