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Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss

But high doses may protect against fractures, cancer, study suggests

THURSDAY, Oct. 16, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- High doses of vitamin K1 may not prevent a decline in age-related bone mineral density, but it may protect against fracture and cancer in postmenopausal women with osteopenia, a new report shows.

In the University of Toronto study, published in this week's issue of PLOS Medicine, 440 postmenopausal women with osteopenia (a mild condition that precedes osteoporosis) received either 5 milligrams of vitamin K1 or a placebo daily for two years.

Lower back and hip measurements of bone mineral density at two and four years showed similar decreases in both the vitamin K1 and the placebo groups; however, over four years, fewer women in the vitamin K1 group had fractures (nine versus 20 women in the placebo group), and fewer women had cancer (three versus 12).

As the study did not focus on fractures or cancers and contained a small sampling group, the researchers said the findings are not definitive. They suggested larger studies to study the effect of vitamin K1 on fractures and on cancer, and recommended high-dose vitamin K1 supplementation not be given for osteoporosis prevention.

More information

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders has more about nutrients for bone health.

SOURCE: Public Library of Science, news release, Oct. 13, 2008
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