The Health Benefits of Vitamin K (DiNicolantonio JJ, et al.)

Open Heart, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing research in all areas of cardiovascular medicine, has published a paper detailing the benefits of Vitamin K. Most importantly, the paper differentiates between the K1 and K2, their activity in certain functions in the body, and the evidence confirming that activity.

Vitamin K has important functions within the body, some of which are still being discovered. Research has shown that vitamin K is an anticalcification, anticancer, bone-forming, and insulin-sensitising molecule. Recent data indicate that subclinical vitamin K deficiency is not uncommon. Additionally, vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin may cause detrimental side effects, which may partly be blunted through vitamin K supplementation.

“Vitamin K has a plethora of potential implications, including prevention and treatment of arterial calcifications, coronary heart disease and cancer, improvements in bone strength and reduced risks of fractures as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity,” the authors conclude. “Additionally, vitamin K may even play a vital role in the stabilization of INR control for patients on warfarin. On the basis of previously presented data, warfarin may increase arterial calcifications and osteoporosis through the inhibition of vitamin K. Larger trials should be performed to further elucidate the negative long-term health consequences of warfarin and if these can perhaps be prevented through the institution of supplemental vitamin K.”

“This paper is an important overview of the science supporting that K vitamins – K1, but specifically Vitamin K2 – serve vital functions for human health,” says Dr. Katarzyna Maresz, president of the International Science and Health Foundation. “There is always room for more study, particularly in areas of early understanding, such as K2’s ability to inhibit the growth of human cancer cells; but it is promising to see this compilation, which promotes further understanding of the differences between K1 and K2, and where further clinical work is most needed.”


DiNicolantonio JJ, Bhutani J, O’Keefe JH. “The Health Benefits of Vitamin K.” Open Heart 2015;2:e000300. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000300.

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