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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
Vitamin K is needed for bone formation. People with osteoporosis have been reported to have low blood levels1, 2 and low dietary intake of vitamin K.3, 4 One study found that postmenopausal (though not premenopausal) women may reduce urinary loss of calcium by taking 1 mg of vitamin K1 per day.5 People with osteoporosis given large amounts of vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinine-4 (45 mg per day) have shown an increase in bone density after six months6 and decreased bone loss after one7 or two8 years. Supplementation with vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-7 (180-375 mcg per day) has been reported to improve bone quality and to slow both bone loss and the loss of vertebral height in postmenopausal women.9, 10
1. Hart JP. Circulating vitamin K1 levels in fractured neck of femur. Lancet 1984;2:283 [letter].
2. Tamatani M, Morimoto S, Nakajima M, et al. Decreased circulating levels of vitamin K and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in osteopenic elderly men. Metabolism 1998;47:195-9.
3. Feskanich D, Weber P, Willett WC, et al. Vitamin K intake and hip fractures in women: a prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:74-9.
4. Booth SL, Tucker KL, Chen H, et al. Dietary vitamin K intakes are associated with hip fracture but not with bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71:1201-8.
5. Knapen MHJ, Hamulyak K, Vermeer C. The effect of vitamin K supplementation on circulating osteocalcin (Bone Gla protein) and urinary calcium excretion. Ann Intern Med 1989;111:1001-5.
6. Orimo H, Shiraki M, Fujita T, et al. Clinical evaluation of Menatetrenone in the treatment of involutional osteoporosis—a double-blind multicenter comparative study with 1-alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3. J Bone Mineral Res 1992;7(Suppl 1):S122.
7. Iwamoto I, Kosha S, Noguchi S, et al. A longitudinal study of the effect of vitamin K2 on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women a comparative study with vitamin D3 and estrogen-progestin therapy. Maturitas 1999;31:161-4.
8. Shiraki M, Shiraki Y, Aoki C, Miura M. Vitamin K2 (menatetrenone) effectively prevents fractures and sustains lumbar bone mineral density in osteoporosis. J Bone Miner Res 2000;15:515-21.
9. Ronn SH, Harslof T, Pedersen SB, Langdahl BL. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) prevents age-related deterioration of trabecular bone microarchitecture at the tibia in postmenopausal women. Eur J Endocrinol 2016;175:541–9.
10. Knapen MHJ, Drummen NE, Smit E, et al. Three-year low-dose menaquinone-7 supplementation helps decrease bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int 2013;24:2499–507.
The malabsorption that occurs in celiac disease can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies. The most common nutritional problems in people with celiac disease include deficiencies of essential fatty acids, iron, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and folic acid.1Zinc malabsorption also occurs frequently in celiac disease2 and may result in zinc deficiency, even in people who are otherwise in remission.3 People with newly diagnosed celiac disease should be assessed for nutritional deficiencies by a doctor. Celiac patients who have not yet completely recovered should supplement with a high-potency multivitamin-mineral. Some patients may require even higher amounts of some of these vitamins and minerals—an issue that should be discussed with their healthcare practitioner. Evidence of a nutrient deficiency in a celiac patient is a clear indication for supplementation with that nutrient.
After commencement of a gluten-free diet, overall nutritional status gradually improves. However, deficiencies of some nutrients may persist, even in people who are strictly avoiding gluten. For example, magnesium deficiency was found in 8 of 23 adults with celiac disease who had been following a gluten-free diet and were symptom-free. When these adults were supplemented with magnesium for two years, their bone mineral density increased significantly.4
1. Connon JJ. Celiac disease. In: Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1994, 1062.
2. Crofton RW, Glover SC, Ewen SWB, et al. Zinc absorption in celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis: a test of small intestinal function. Am J Clin Nutr 1983;38:706-12.
3. Solomons NW, Rosenberg IH, Sandstead HH. Zinc nutrition in celiac sprue. Am J Clin Nutr 1976;29:371-5.
4. Rude RK, Olerich M. Magnesium deficiency: possible role in osteoporosis associated with gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Osteoporos Int 1996;6:453-61.
In people with Crohn's disease, vitamin K deficiency can result from malabsorption due to intestinal inflammation or bowel surgery, from chronic diarrhea, or from dietary changes necessitated by food intolerance. In addition, Crohn's disease is often treated with antibiotics that have the potential to kill beneficial vitamin K–producing bacteria in the intestines. Vitamin K levels were significantly lower in a group of people with Crohn's disease than in healthy people. Moreover, the rate of bone loss in the Crohn's disease patients increased with increasing degrees of vitamin K deficiency.1 When combined with earlier evidence that vitamin K is required to maintain healthy bones, this study suggests that vitamin K deficiency is a contributing factor to the accelerated bone loss that often occurs in people with Crohn's disease.
Vitamin K and vitamin C, taken together, may provide relief of symptoms for some women. In one study, 91% of women who took 5 mg of vitamin K and 25 mg of vitamin C per day reported the complete disappearance of morning sickness within three days.1 Menadione was removed from the market a number of years ago because of concerns about potential toxicity. Although some doctors still use a combination of vitamin K1 (the most prevalent form of vitamin K in food) and vitamin C for morning sickness, no studies on this treatment have been done.
Vitamin K is needed for proper bone formation and blood clotting. In both cases, vitamin K does this by helping the body transport calcium. Vitamin K is used by doctors when treating an overdose of the drug warfarin. Also, doctors prescribe vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding in people taking warfarin but requiring surgery.
There is promising preliminary evidence that vitamin K2 (not vitamin K1), may improve a group of blood disorders known as myelodysplastic syndromes,1 which carry a significantly increased risk of progression to acute myeloid leukemia.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.