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Health Benefits of Vitamin K


Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins. The “k” comes from the German word “koagulation,” which makes sense because it plays a major role in blood clotting and blood metabolism, in addition to the regulation of blood calcium levels and maintenance of healthy bones. Vitamin K1 is a phylloquinone found in leafy green vegetables, while vitamin K2 is a menaquinone found in fermented foods and animal products.

Key Benefits

  • Supports normal blood clotting
  • Supports bone formation 
  • May reduce risk of osteoporosis
  • May support cardiovascular health by reducing calcium deposits in the arteries
  • It reduces inflammation in the skin

History of Usage

Vitamin K was found by chance in 1929 when limited diets in animals caused severe bleeding. It comes in a variety of forms, but the two most prevalent in the human diet are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.

The first vitamin K antagonists were found in the early 1940s and crystallized with one of its derivatives, warfarin, which is now commonly used in therapeutic settings.

The discovery of -carboxyglutamic acid (Gla), a novel amino acid common to all vitamin K proteins, in the 1970s marked a significant advance in our understanding of vitamin K’s methods of action. During this time, scientists also discovered osteocalcin, the first bone vitamin K dependent protein (VKDP). Important investigations on the role of vitamin K in sphingolipid synthesis were also underway, paving the path for future research 15 years later.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the United States concluded in 2001 that there was insufficient data to set an RDA for vitamin K. The relative bioavailability of various vitamin K forms was also unknown. Since then, stable isotope techniques have been used to test the bioavailability of the primary dietary form of vitamin K in both its free and incorporated states in a plant matrix.

Even in affluent countries, vitamin K insufficiency in early childhood remains a prominent cause of cerebral hemorrhage, and the reasons for its higher incidence in particular Asian countries remain unknown. There is widespread agreement on the importance of vitamin K prophylaxis in infants. However, valid biomarkers or clinical endpoints for evaluating vitamin K requirements in adults are currently lacking.


Vitamin K acts as a coenzyme for carboxylation, catalyzing the carboxylation of numerous vitamin K-dependent proteins. In addition to its well-known effects on blood coagulation, it has significant effects on bone and the vascular system.

Vitamin K is essential for osteocalcin carboxylation, which regulates bone mineral accretion. It appears to facilitate the transition of osteoblasts to osteocytes and also inhibits osteoclastogenesis.

Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone)  is the primary dietary form and is obtained from leafy greens and other vegetables. 

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is obtained from meats, cheeses, and eggs and is synthesized by intestinal bacteria. 

Recent Trends

Between 2019 and 2025, the vitamin K1 segment is expected to rise by 8%. Vitamin K1 is available in a variety of dose forms, including injections, powders, and pills, to facilitate patient administration. Additionally, it is found in a variety of skin care treatments designed to alleviate inflammation, redness, and puffiness.

The rising prevalence of osteoporosis, combined with the fact that vitamin K levels in blood plasma decline with age, will contribute to the vitamin K market rise.

The oral vitamin K market was worth more than USD 400 million in 2018. Due to vitamin K’s stability, oral administration is the most effective and safest mode of administration.

Furthermore, the parenteral administration category is predicted to expand by 9%. Parenteral formulations bypass first-pass metabolism, the process by which medicines are degraded in the liver. Vitamin K’s bioavailability via this approach provides rapid delivery.

All of these elements will contribute to the segment’s growth.


  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with their health care provider before taking a vitamin K supplement.
  • Individuals who are taking blood thinners or cholesterol-lowering drugs should not take vitamin K.
  • Vitamin K might be contraindicated for individuals taking weight-loss drugs, antibiotics, and anticonvulsants.
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  2. Fusaro M, Cianciolo G, Brandi ML, Ferrari S, Nickolas TL, Tripepi G, Plebani M, Zaninotto M, Iervasi G, La Manna G, Gallieni M, Vettor R, Aghi A, Gasperoni L, Giannini S, Sella S, M Cheung A. Vitamin K and Osteoporosis. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 25;12(12):3625. doi: 10.3390/nu12123625. PMID: 33255760; PMCID: PMC7760385.
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  4. Ferland G. The discovery of vitamin K and its clinical applications. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;61(3):213-8. doi: 10.1159/000343108. Epub 2012 Nov 26. PMID: 23183291.