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The Effect of Vitamin K Supplementation on Circulating Osteocalcin (Bone Gla Protein) and Urinary Calcium Excretion

Marjo H. J. Knapen, BSc; Karly Hamulyák, MD; and Cees Vermeer, PhD
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant Support: Supported by the Dutch Prevention Fund grant 28-1150.

Requests for Reprints: Cees Vermeer, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, University of Limburg, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Current Author Addresses: Mrs. Knapen and Drs. Hamulyák and Vermeer Department of Biochemistry, University of Limburg, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


© 1989 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1989;111(12):1001-1005. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-111-12-1001
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Study Objective: To determine whether vitamin K administration affects urinary calcium excretion in postmenopausal women.

Design: Before- and after-trials with a 2-week treatment period.

Subjects: Healthy postmenopausal women (55 to 75 years old) were recruited from the convents in and around Maastricht. Controls (25 to 40 years old) were healthy premenopausal volunteers.

Intervention: Daily administration of 1 mg of vitamin K for 2 weeks.

Measurements: Serum immunoreactive osteocalcin; hydroxylapatite binding (HAB) capacity of serum immunoreactive osteocalcin; excretion of calcium, hydroxyproline, and creatinine in the urine during the last 2 h of a 16-h fasting period.

Results: In premenopausal women, no effect of vitamin K administration was seen. In the postmenopausal group, vitamin K induced increased serum immunoreactive osteocalcin concentration; normalization of the HAB capacity of serum immunoreactive osteocalcin (this marker was less than 50% that of the controls in the pretreatment samples); a decrease in urinary calcium excretion, notably in the "fast losers" of calcium; and a parallel decrease in urinary hydroxyproline excretion in the fast losers of calcium.

Conclusions: The serum immunoreactive osteocalcin level may vary with vitamin K status. This variance should be taken into consideration if osteocalcin is used as a marker for osteoblast activity. Vitamin K is one factor that may play a role in the loss of bone mass in postmenopausal osteoporosis.

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