Maximal dose-response of vitamin-K2 (menaquinone-4) on undercarboxylated osteocalcin in women with osteoporosis

Tusar K. Giri, David Newton, Opal Chaudhary, Elena Deych, Nicola Napoli, Reina Villareal, Kathy Diemer, Paul E Milligan, Brian F. Gage

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6 Scopus citations


Low concentrations of serum vitamin K accompany high concentrations of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) and osteoporotic fractures. Although vitamin K2 (MK-4) is approved as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of osteoporosis in some countries, the doseresponse is unknown. The objective of this study was to assess the improvement in carboxylation of osteocalcin (OC) in response to escalating doses of MK-4 supplementation. A nine-week, open-labeled, prospective cohort study was conducted in 29 postmenopausal women who suffered hip or vertebral compression fractures. Participants took low-dose MK-4 (0.5 mg) for 3 weeks (until the second visit), then medium-dose MK-4 (5 mg) for 3 weeks (until the third visit), then high-dose MK-4 (45 mg) for 3 weeks. The mean ± SD age of the participants was 69 ± 9 years. MK-4 dose (p < 0.0001), but neither age nor other relevant medications (e.g. bisphosphonates) correlated with improvement in %ucOC. As compared to baseline concentrations (geometric mean ± SD) of 16.8 ± 2.4, 0.5 mg supplementation halved %ucOC to 8.7 ± 2.2 (p < 0.0001) and the 5-mg dose halved %ucOC again (to 3.9 ± 2.2; p = 0.0002 compared to 0.5-mg dose). However, compared to 5 mg/day, there was no additional benefit of 45 mg/day (%ucOC 4.6; p = NS vs. 5-mg dose). MK-4 supplementation resulted in borderline increases in γ-carboxylated osteocalcin (glaOC; p = 0.07). There were no major side effects of MK-4 supplementation. In postmenopausal women with osteoporotic fractures, supplementation with either 5 or 45 mg/day of MK-4 reduces ucOC to concentrations typical of healthy, pre-menopausal women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Carboxylation of osteocalcin
  • Dose-finding
  • Postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • Vitamin K2 (MK-4)
  • hip or vertebral compression fractures


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