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Study: Vitamin K Deficiency Linked to Osteoarthritis

A study titled “Vitamin K Deficiency Linked to Knee Osteoarthritis” is adding further strength to the exciting research showing vitamin K does much more than strengthen your bones. The results indicate it also protects against knee osteoarthritis and knee cartilage lesions.

How it benefits bone health is well established: it’s been shown to improve bone density and reduce fracture rates – even for people with low bone density.
K is a necessary cofactor in carboxylation (meaning ‘chemical reaction’) of several proteins that are involved in bone formation and maintenance.

It is well known to improve your cardiovascular health, as it cleans calcium deposits from your arteries and deposits it where it’s needed – in your bones. K not only blocks new arterial calcium buildup but can also reduce existing levels of calcification – by 37 percent.

On top of that it possesses powerful anti-oxidant anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and insulin-sensitizing actions.

New K Research

The 1,180 people who were included in the 2010 U.S. 30 month osteoarthritis study averaged 62 years of age and 62% were women.

Those who developed osteoarthritis of both knees were nearly three times more likely to have a vitamin K deficiency!

As well, those who were vitamin K–deficient had a nearly threefold increased risk of developing new cartilage lesions on their knee, a precursor to osteoarthritis.

Vitamin K- Best sources

All types of vitamin K are fat-soluble and are all part of chemical category called naphthoquinones. There are three types of vitamin K: one is phylloquinones (vitamin K1) from plants. K1 is mandatory for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting.

Menaquinones (vitamin K2) is the second type, responsible for calcium metabolism within the body, cardiovascular health and it is believed also the remarkable results with osteoarthritis.
Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form. Toxicity has occurred in infants injected with synthetic vitamin K3.

Vitamin K2, unlike vitamin K1, does not concentrate in the liver. Your body stores limited amounts of K in the liver. That’s why it’s critical to have enough bio-available K2 in your body.

K2 was thought to only be synthesized by intestinal bacteria – until 2006 when it was identified by the FDA in animal food sources, after studies revealed its benefit to the human body.

K2 can be found in these amounts here:

Natto 3.5 ounces 1,000 mg
Whole egg mayonnaise 197 mcg
Miso 10-30 mcg
Lamb or duck 1 cup 6 mcg
Beef liver 1 cup 5 mcg
Dark meat turkey 1 cup 5 mcg
Chicken liver 1 cup 3 mcg

Recommended Daily Intakes:

The jury is still out on how much K2 is optimum. The RDI sets it at 65 mcg per day, but Dr.Oz for example recommends 120 mcg per day for men, 90 mcg for women. Others such as Dr. Mercola are even more bullish, advising to get 150 mcg every day.

But if you are on anticoagulants, pregnant or nursing, have experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, or are prone to blood clotting you must speak with your doctor about supplementing with K2.

And as you can see from the food chart above, it’s quite challenging to get optimum amounts of K2 – unless you like natto. However, most people don’t, and unanimously say the taste is close to well used tennis sneakers.

Investing in a high quality supplement with K2 is a simple and affordable strategy that science is telling us will protect not only your bones (and heart), but the joints that hold them in place too!


Although the focus of the study was very specifically knee osteoarthritis, it is unlikely that powerful vitamin K2 reduces osteoarthritis only in your knees. Earlier studies have shown that low vitamin K intake and blood levels are also linked with osteoarthritis of the hand.
K2 may very well be an unsung hero that can prevent all types of aches and pains osteoarthritis inflicts – in every joint in your body.