Effect of vitamin K on vascular health and physical function in older people with vascular disease–a randomised controlled trial

R. L. Fulton (Lead / Corresponding author), M. E. T. McMurdo, A. Hill, R. J. Abboud, G. P. Arnold, A. D. Struthers, F. Khan, C. Vermeer, M. H. J. Knapen, N. E. A. Drummen, M. D. Witham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aims: Vitamin K insufficiency is common and linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporotic fractures. The aim of this study was to examine whether daily supplementation with oral vitamin K could improve vascular health and physical function in older people with established vascular disease.

Methods and results: A double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Participants aged ≤ 70 years with a history of vascular disease were randomised to receive 6 months of daily oral 100mcg vitamin K2 (MK7 subtype) or matching placebo with outcomes measured at 0, 3 and 6 months. The primary outcome was between-group difference in endothelial function assessed using flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery at 6 months. Secondary outcomes included carotid-radial pulse wave velocity, augmentation index, blood pressure, carotid intima-media thickness, C-reactive protein, B-type natriuretic peptide, cholesterol and desphospho-uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein levels. Handgrip strength and the Short Physical Performance Battery assessed physical function, while postural sway was measured using a 3-dimensional force platform.

Results: 80 participants were randomised, mean age 77 (SD 5) years; 44/80 were male. Vitamin K levels rose in the intervention arm compared to placebo (+48 pg/ml vs -6 pg/ml, p=0.03) at 6 months. Desphospho-uncarboxylated Matrix Gla protein levels fell in the intervention group compared to placebo at 6 months (-130 [SD 117] pmol/L vs +13 [SD 180] pmol/L, p<0.001). No change was seen in endothelial function (between group difference -0.3% [95%CI -1.3 to 0.8], p=0.62). A modest, non-significant improvement in pulse wave velocity was seen in the vitamin K group (-0.8m/s [95%CI -1.8 to 0.3], p=0.15) while all other vascular and physical function outcomes unchanged.

Conclusions: Six months of vitamin K2 supplementation did not improve markers of vascular health or physical function in older patients with vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition Health & Aging
Issue number3
Early online date14 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Flow mediated dilatation
  • Older people
  • Physical function
  • Vascular health
  • Vitamin K

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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