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What Is the Connection between Vitamin K and Osteoporosis?

By Brandon May
Updated Jan 23, 2024
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The link between vitamin K and osteoporosis prevention remains somewhat controversial, yet many researchers believe that vitamin K can help prevent bone fractures in a large number of people. Since vitamin K and vitamin D work together for proper bone formation, it is safe to say that vitamin K plays a role in many bone loss disorders. More research is still needed, however, on vitamin K and osteoporosis prevention, to determine the full role vitamin K can play in the aging body. Although the use of vitamin K is generally regarded as safe, most doctors recommend individuals with osteoporosis seek additional medical help for any bone problems.

Vitamin K is a macronutrient available in most plant foods, and some of the vitamin K within the body is the result of a fermentation of bacteria. Studies suggest that vitamin K and osteoporosis prevention may be possible in women by decreasing excess activity of osteoclasts. These types of cells help break down bone through a process called demineralization, where bone nutrients are removed from bone to be used for other functions in the body. Although osteoclasts are important for proper bone health and formation, the overproduction of these cells may make bones weaker and more prone to fracture.

Calcium is regulated by both vitamin K and vitamin D, so both are needed in the body in adequate amounts for a proper bone dynamic. Without vitamin K, calcium cannot fully move into bone and help rebuild and strengthen bone structure. This can present problems with the body over time, as decalcification of bone naturally occurs with age. Most research shows that vitamin K is an important factor in regulating osteocalcin cells, as well, which help make bones denser. Although both vitamin K and osteoporosis prevention have been linked through scientific study, most researchers point to balancing a proper diet with bone-building exercise.

It is suggested that those who receive an adequate amount of vitamin K in their diet are less likely to fracture bones and less likely to develop osteoporosis. Some studies contradict this research, suggesting that because the bone is stronger, doesn't necessarily mean it is denser. Although there is somewhat of a controversy on this end of vitamin K and osteoporosis research, it still remains clear that vitamin K can be helpful with those who are trying to prevent future bone fracture and breakage. It is often recommended that an individual on an osteoporosis prevention plan supply his or her diet with adequate vitamin K from foods like spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts.

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