Benefits of Vitamin D and Vitamin K

The health benefits of vitamin D are so well known that it has become routine to test for insufficiency and deficiency and to supplement as needed.


However, vitamin D does not work alone to provide these benefits. It works in connection with many other important nutrients in the body. One of these partners is Vitamin K, especially in terms of bone and cardiovascular health. Before we go into the literature to see the synergy between the two, let’s go over the highlights of each vitamin.

Vitamin D

Over the past decade, study after study has shown the many benefits of this vitamin, which is actually a hormone.


Conditions for which a link to vitamin D has been found include musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoporosis, cancer, autoimmune disorders, metabolic disorders, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and infectious diseases.

The key areas in which vitamin D plays a physiological role are:


– Promotes the absorption of calcium

– Calcium homeostasis

– Bone mineralization

– Immune function

– Reduction of inflammation

– Neuromuscular function

– Modulation of cell growth

– Modulation of key genes for body processes

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is an often overlooked vitamin that does much more than aid blood clotting.

There are two main categories of compounds under the distinction of vitamin K: phylloquinone (K1) and menaquinones (K2). The main purpose of vitamin K is to act as a coenzyme for vitamin K-dependent carboxylase, which is involved in the synthesis of proteins important in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and other physiological processes.


Another important protein that is dependent on vitamin K is the Matrix Gla MGP protein, which is found in bone, cartilage, and smooth muscles. Osteocalcin, a protein in bones, also requires vitamin K.  


Although it is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is rapidly metabolized and excreted, so it has much lower levels of tissue and blood storage than other fat-soluble vitamins. Some vitamin K is synthesized by the gut microbiota, although the exact amount and use of it is unclear. The most important physiological functions of vitamin K include:


– Bone formation

– Blood clotting

– Prevention of arterial calcification

– Regulation of glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity  


The adequate intake of vitamin K according to the Food and Nutrition Board is 120 ug / day for adult men and 90 ug / day for adult women, with lower ranges for children and adolescents.    


Although vitamin K deficiency is not as common as other vitamin deficiencies, there are populations at higher risk. For example, those who have malabsorption disorders or who take certain blood-thinning medications such as warfarin that are vitamin K antagonists are at increased risk of insufficiency.

Newborns are also at high risk, which is why it has become common practice to give babies an injection of vitamin K shortly after birth. Additionally, the majority of the US population does not consume sufficient amounts of vitamin K, with only 43 percent of men and 62.5 percent of women consuming adequate amounts, according to NHANES 2011-2012 data.  

Synergy of vitamins D and K  

Researchers are beginning to discover an important synergy between vitamins D and K. Some in vitro studies indicate that vitamin D has a positive impact on certain vitamin K-dependent bone proteins by increasing their concentrations to induce bone formation.


Animal and human studies further support these findings by showing that taking vitamin D and vitamin K together have a greater impact than taking vitamin K alone. Including vitamins D and K with calcium also has a greater effect than taking calcium alone, especially in terms of bone health.  


An important hypothesis to consider is that if vitamin D and K have a synergistic relationship, specifically if vitamin D increases the protein concentrations of vitamin K-dependent proteins, then taking high levels of vitamin D supplementation without supporting vitamin K levels through diet or supplementation could lead to an excess of these proteins without enough vitamin K to function. This could lead to a dysfunction in proteins that play a key role in the inhibition of calcification and in the stimulation of bone mineralization.  


When taking high levels of calcium, the balance of vitamin D and K becomes even more important. If there is a balance between vitamin D and K, high levels of calcium intake may not be a problem. However, if there is an imbalance, then excess calcium could be deposited in vascular tissue rather than bone, leading to both osteoporosis and atherosclerosis.

Let’s see what the literature says about the ways that vitamin D and K work together to support health.



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Bone health

In a case-control study of 116 Norwegian adults, having low levels of vitamin D and K was associated with hip fractures. In the low vitamin K1 group, those with a low vitamin D level were three times more likely to have a hip fracture compared to those with a high vitamin D level.


A similar study with more participants found that after an 8.2-year follow-up, having low levels of both vitamin D and K led to a 50 percent higher risk of experiencing a hip fracture compared to those with the lowest serum levels. high of vitamins. The findings remained significant even after adjusting for confounding factors such as BMI, gender, age, smoking, and triglycerides. Having low vitamin K and high vitamin D also had a higher risk ratio of 1.17, although it was not significant. Having a low level of vitamin D but a high level of K had a risk ratio of 0.97 (not significant), while the group with high levels of vitamin K and high level of vitamin D was used as the reference.


In another study that lasted two years, subjects in the combination therapy group had a 45.2 percent increase in BMD, compared to 9.4 percent in the K2-only group and 23.3 percent in the vitamin D3-only group. Additionally, of those who responded in the combination therapy group, 67.8 percent experienced an increase in BMD of two percent or more. There was also a significant change in BMD after only six months of therapy in the group taking both K2 and D3. During the study, subjects took K-2 menaquinone-3 (Glakay 45 mg per day), vitamin D3 (10a hydroxycholecalcifrerol Onealfa 1 ug per day), or both. There was also a control group that only had diet therapy.  


In a randomized, blinded, 2-arm, placebo-controlled trial that lasted 14 weeks, making lifestyle changes combined with taking a nutraceutical supplement containing RIAA, berberine, vitamin D3, and vitamin K1 led to better markers for health bone in healthy postmenopausal women. The researchers instructed all participants to switch to a modified, low-glycemic-load diet in a Mediterranean pattern with no limits on caloric intake, as well as to adopt an exercise regimen that consisted of 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity. The study began with a 2-week introduction during which all participants took a placebo twice a day. In week 3, Participants were randomly assigned to continue the placebo or to take a tablet consisting of 200 mg of iso-alpha hop acids rho, 100 mg of berberine sulfate trihydrate, 500 IU of vitamin D3, and 500 IU of vitamin K1. They continued with the lifestyle changes and no one was given a calcium supplement.  


A sufficient amount of vitamin D and K can also help improve osteoarthritis in the knee. The researchers reviewed the data in two knee osteoarthritis cohorts to see the relationship between vitamins D and K and knee function. In the Health ABC Knee OA substudy, the group with sufficient levels of circulating K1 (at or above 1.0 mol / L) and vitamin D (at or above 50 nmol / L of 25 (OH) D) improved physical performance battery scores and had faster gait speed during baseline and follow-up compared to groups that had sufficient levels of only one of the vitamins or low levels of both. Another study, the OAI, confirmed this finding. In this studio,  

Additional health benefits.

A study that looked at co-supplementation of vitamin D, K, and calcium found benefits for women with PCOS. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, one group took 200 IU of vitamin D, 500 mg of calcium, and an additional 90 ug of vitamin K or placebo twice daily for an eight-week period. The researchers checked the biomarkers for inflammation, oxidative stress, and hormone levels at the beginning and end of the study. They found a significant reduction in serum free testosterone (-2.1 compared to 0.1 pg / ml) and DHEAS (-0.8 compared to -.1 ug / ml). There was also a significant difference in MDA concentrations and total antioxidant capacity (TAC), with those who took the supplements exhibiting an increase of 75. 7 mol / L in TAC compared to the placebo group, which had an 80 mol / L decrease in TAC. There was also a trend for a greater decrease in luteinizing hormone in those who took the supplements. There were no significant changes in markers for FSH, 17-OH-progesterone, prolactin, glutathione, or inflammation.


In many of these studies, having sufficient levels of vitamins D and K had the greatest positive impact on health. In some, vitamin K levels played a larger role in outcome than vitamin D, demonstrating the importance of not only supplementing with vitamin D, but also ensuring that you consume sufficient levels of vitamin K or supplement accordingly.

Tips for supplementing these Vitamins.

Although vitamin D is very important, too much of it can become toxic. At high levels, vitamin D has been found to cause tissue and vascular system calcification, polyuria, and cardiac arrhythmia.


The tolerable upper limit (TUL) for vitamin D is 100 ug / day for adults, which is equivalent to 4,000 IU. Children and babies have a lower TUL. There is no defined TUL for vitamin K, according to the Food and Nutrition Committee, but that does not mean that adverse events cannot occur if you consume excessive levels in supplement form.  


When taking a vitamin K and D supplement, it is important to know what form of the vitamin the supplement contains.

It is common to find phytonadione, a synthetic vitamin K1, in supplement form instead of the natural phylloquinone. It is best to try to supplement with phylloquinone when possible.


You can also find supplements that have K2. For vitamin D, you have a choice of D2 or D3.  

Vitamin K has the potential to interact with certain medications, especially vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin. It is important to talk to your doctor about supplementing with vitamin K, especially if you are taking any type of blood thinner.  


This is why medical advice and buying from regulated sites such as well-known online pharmacy is important .