Vitamin K builds strong bones and reduces osteoarthritis

Vitamin K helped kids develop bone and helped keep adult bone healthy, in two new studies.

In a childhood bone study, researchers said that as kids grow, bones don’t always keep pace with height and weight, making bones vulnerable to fracture. Doctors wanted to see if vitamin K, which helps keep calcium in bone and out of the arteries, could help young bones develop.

Scientists enrolled 307 adolescents, average age 11, and measured bone mineral content (BMC), vitamin K, and signs of bone forming and breaking down, finding a wide range of vitamin K levels at the start and end of the study. After two years, kids whose vitamin K levels improved had better BMC and thicker bones than kids whose vitamin K levels had not improved. Study authors noted that if kids get enough vitamin K while growing, bones have a better chance to thicken more fully, lowering risk of fracture later in life.

In an adult bone study, doctors wanted to know if those with osteoarthritis of the hand and knee also had low levels of vitamin K. Researchers measured blood levels of vitamin K in 358 women and 314 men, average age 66, and then took x-rays six years later. Doctors adjusted for age, sex, body mass, bone density and diet, and found that as levels of vitamin K increased, osteoarthritis of the knee and hand decreased. Those with the most vitamin K had the fewest arthritic joints and mildest symptoms. Commenting on the findings, the Arthritis Foundation noted that the results suggest that vitamin K may help slow or stop osteoarthritis and have funded the researchers for another study.

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