Vitamin K for Healthy Knees

Knee osteoarthritis was more likely in people who had low levels of vitamin K in the blood

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Vitamin K supports bones and cartilage. So researchers wanted to know if low vitamin K was linked to joint damage and osteoarthritis.

The study found that people who had low levels of vitamin K in their blood were about 33 percent more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.

Also, people with low vitamin K levels were about two times more likely to show signs of damaged cartilage in their knees.

The authors suggested that vitamin K may be important for keeping knees healthy.

"Ask a doctor how to keep your knees healthy."

Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. So very low levels of vitamin K can cause bleeding problems. However, vitamin K also works to maintain bone and cartilage.

Researchers, led by Devyani Misra, MD, of the Boston University School of Medicine, thought that low levels of vitamin K might affect knee health.

In the study, 1,180 people who were at risk for osteoarthritis had their knees imaged and their blood tested for vitamin K.

At the start of the study, the participants underwent a blood test, a knee radiograph and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the knee. The knee scans were done again 30 months later.

Participants were considered to have low vitamin K if their blood showed levels lower than the normal range but they were not showing any signs of bleeding problems.

A total of 9.2 percent of participants had vitamin K levels below normal. The researchers compared knee scans of people with low vitamin K levels to those of people with normal levels.

People who had low vitamin K were about two times more likely to have cartilage lesions show up in their MRI.

Overall, people with low vitamin K were about 33 percent more likely to develop osteoarthritis in one or both knees during the study.

The authors concluded that low vitamin K levels may put people at risk for developing knee osteoarthritis.

“Future studies evaluating the efficacy of vitamin K as a therapeutic or preventative agent for incident osteoarthritis appear warranted," they said.

Vitamin K is found in foods. Green leafy vegetables have the highest concentration of the vitamin. Synthetic forms of vitamin K are also available.

This study was published in the March issue of The American Journal of Medicine. The study was funded by grants from the Arthritis Foundation, the Boston Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and the National Institute on Aging. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 19, 2013
Last Updated:
August 16, 2013