Postmenopausal women may be able to boost bone health by adding more vitamin K to their diet, along with a regular intake of calcium and vitamin D.
According to a study published in the Calcified Tissue International, calcium and vitamin D supplementation resulted in improvement in bone health, but the addition of vitamin K showed a marked improvement in bone density, which suggests that vitamin K is a necessary nutrient for promoting bone health.1
Study Demonstrate Vitamin K Bone-Enhancing Properties
In the study, postmenopausal women were divided into three intervention groups and a control group. For an entire year, all three intervention groups were given a bone health supplement consisting of 800 mg of calcium and 10 micrograms (400 IUs) of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis. Two of the three intervention groups were also given dairy products enriched with either vitamin K (phylloquinone) or vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7).
The results after 12 months showed an improvement in bone density in the group given calcium and Vitamin D as compared to the control group who were not given any supplements. However, the most significant benefits to bone health were seen in the two vitamin K supplemented groups. These groups were observed to have more favorable changes in bone metabolism and bone mass indices because of changes noted in the levels of osteocalcin, a vitamin-K dependent protein. Osteocalcin is vital for the utilization of calcium in bone tissue. Without the vitamin K component, osteocalcin remains inactive in the body. Scientists also observed that those given vitamin K1 or K2 supplements showed a particular increase in the bone mass density of the lumbar spine.
The overall results of this study conducted by the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Kallithea (Athens, Greece) demonstrated that postmenopausal women may be able to reduce the risk of osteoporosis by adding more vitamin K to their diet, in addition to calcium and vitamin D.2Additionally, a regular intake of vitamin K was observed to lower the risk of bone fractures in post-menopausal women who are at particular of developing osteoporosis.
More Support for Vitamin K from Science
This is not the first time a study has noted a positive relationship between Vitamin K supplementation and bone health. The findings of a Spanish study demonstrated that a high dietary intake [over 334 mcg for men; over 300 mcg for women] of Vitamin K was linked to superior bone properties.3 Scientists deduced Vitamin K activates the matrix of GLA proteins. Both osteocalcin and GLA proteins are known to circulate calcium from the arteries and bind it to the bone matrix. Both require vitamin K for its optimum function.
Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts studied cross-sectional associations between self-reported vitamin K dietary intake and the bone mass density of the hip and spine in 1112 men and 1479 women, aged 29 to 86 years. The study linked low dietary vitamin K intake with low BMD in women. These results were consistent with previous reports that associated low dietary intake of vitamin K with increased risk of hip fracture. There was no association between dietary vitamin K intake and BMD observed in men.4
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that are structurally similar. Vitamin K is necessary for the posttranslational modification of certain proteins. These proteins are necessary for coagulating blood and are required in metabolic pathways in bone and other tissue. Vitamin K is needed for the body to use calcium to build bone matrix. The body stores vitamin K in the liver and fat tissues. Although vitamin K deficiency is rare, adequate levels of this vitamin are therefore required for the clotting of blood and for healthy bones.5
Natural sources of vitamin K include beef liver, green tea and green leafy vegetables. Chlorophyll, a green pigment that gives plants its color, provides vitamin K. In addition to a healthy diet providing adequate Vitamin K, supplements of Vitamin K are also available in capsule, tablet or liquid form.
Osteoporosis and Women
While both men and women lose bone mass as they grow older, bone health is of particular concern to women. In the first 4 to 8 years after menopause, typically between the ages of 45 and 55, women lose bone density more rapidly due to a dramatic drop in estrogen levels. At age 65, both men and women lose bone tissue at the same rate and this gradual loss continues throughout life.6
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 37.5 million women in the United States entering or currently in menopause, who in the next few years, will reach post menopause stage. A regular intake of bone health supplements during these years will promote bone density and minimize the risk of fractures.7
Bone Health Supplements for Post-Menopausal Women: A Ripe Market
While calcium is the number one selling bone health ingredient, calcium supplements containing a combination of bone-supporting ingredients, earned $30.8 million in the natural channel for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 24, 2011, according to SPINS, a market research firm based in Schaumburg, Ill. Data from SPINS shows that the combination of Vitamin D with calcium is one of the biggest moneymakers.8
A survey conducted by the General Merchandise Distributors Council and Food Marketing Institute (an organization based in Arlington, VA serving the needs of food distribution and related business) observed that a key force behind the growth of the health and wellness industry is that baby boomers are armed with knowledge about health and possess the disposable income to spend on supplements that will enable them to live healthier and more active lifestyles. Within the baby boomers population are women who are either entering menopause or in the postmenopausal stage. According to the survey, these women are driving the expanding market of women’s health products and supplements.9
Adding Bone Health Supplements to Your Product Line is Easy
Bone health is of particular significance to post-menopausal women and supplement business owners should consider formulating bone health supplements that specifically target women in this age category. If these are not already in your product line, look for a nutraceutical manufacturer that can custom formulate a line of high quality products for you. Well-formulated products that are backed by science tend to attract consumers and build loyalty to your brand. Customizable manufacturing services such as label design, packaging, order fulfillment and drop shipping are not only cost-effective but can save you time and resources that you can utilize to expand your supplement business. For more information, talk to GMP-certified supplement manufacturers who can help you make the best choice.
1. Changes in Parameters of Bone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women Following a 12-Month Intervention Period Using Dairy Products Enriched with Calcium, Vitamin D, and Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) or Menaquinone-7 (Vitamin K2): The Postmenopausal Health Study II, springerlink.com/content/345p534503113036/
2. Changes in Parameters of Bone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women Following a 12-Month Intervention Period Using Dairy Products Enriched with Calcium, Vitamin D, and Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) or Menaquinone-7 (Vitamin K2): The Postmenopausal Health Study II. Pubmed 22392526, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22392526
3. Strengthening Bones for a Lifetime, February 16, 2012.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2012/02/strengthening-bones-for-a-lifetime.aspx?pg=2.
4. Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men, Am J ClinNutr. 2003 Feb;77(2):512-6. PMID: 12540415. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12540415
5. Vitamin K, University of Maryland Medical Center. umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-k-000343.htm#ixzz1tnxg15wa)
6. Osteoporosis Handout on Health, National Institutes of Health niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/osteoporosis/osteoporosis_hoh.asp).
7. (Women’s Reproductive Health, Menopause, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/womensrh/menopause.htm)
8. Strengthening Bones for a Lifetime, February 16, 2012.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/2012/02/strengthening-bones-for-a-lifetime.aspx?pg=2).
9. Twenty-first century health promotion: the public health revolution meets the wellness revolution, Health Promotion International, (2003) 18 (4): 275-278. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dag418. heapro.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/275.full)