Study: Vitamin K Deficiency Linked to Osteoarthritis

Updated: April 26, 2022

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A study titled “Vitamin K Deficiency Linked to Knee Osteoarthritis” is adding further strength to the exciting research showing vitamin K does much more than strengthen your bones. The results indicate it also protects against knee osteoarthritis and knee cartilage lesions.

How it benefits bone health is well established: it’s been shown to improve bone density and reduce fracture rates – even for people with low bone density.
K is a necessary cofactor in carboxylation (meaning ‘chemical reaction’) of several proteins that are involved in bone formation and maintenance.

It is well known to improve your cardiovascular health, as it cleans calcium deposits from your arteries and deposits it where it’s needed – in your bones. K not only blocks new arterial calcium buildup but can also reduce existing levels of calcification – by 37 percent.

On top of that it possesses powerful anti-oxidant anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and insulin-sensitizing actions.

New K Research

The 1,180 people who were included in the 2010 U.S. 30 month osteoarthritis study averaged 62 years of age and 62% were women.

Those who developed osteoarthritis of both knees were nearly three times more likely to have a vitamin K deficiency!

As well, those who were vitamin K–deficient had a nearly threefold increased risk of developing new cartilage lesions on their knee, a precursor to osteoarthritis.

Vitamin K- Best sources

All types of vitamin K are fat-soluble and are all part of chemical category called naphthoquinones. There are three types of vitamin K: one is phylloquinones (vitamin K1) from plants. K1 is mandatory for the functioning of many proteins involved in blood clotting.

Menaquinones (vitamin K2) is the second type, responsible for calcium metabolism within the body, cardiovascular health and it is believed also the remarkable results with osteoarthritis.
Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a synthetic form. Toxicity has occurred in infants injected with synthetic vitamin K3.

Vitamin K2, unlike vitamin K1, does not concentrate in the liver. Your body stores limited amounts of K in the liver. That’s why it’s critical to have enough bio-available K2 in your body.

K2 was thought to only be synthesized by intestinal bacteria – until 2006 when it was identified by the FDA in animal food sources, after studies revealed its benefit to the human body.

K2 can be found in these amounts here:

Natto 3.5 ounces 1,000 mg
Whole egg mayonnaise 197 mcg
Miso 10-30 mcg
Lamb or duck 1 cup 6 mcg
Beef liver 1 cup 5 mcg
Dark meat turkey 1 cup 5 mcg
Chicken liver 1 cup 3 mcg

Recommended Daily Intakes:

The jury is still out on how much K2 is optimum. The RDI sets it at 65 mcg per day, but Dr.Oz for example recommends 120 mcg per day for men, 90 mcg for women. Others such as Dr. Mercola are even more bullish, advising to get 150 mcg every day.

But if you are on anticoagulants, pregnant or nursing, have experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, or are prone to blood clotting you must speak with your doctor about supplementing with K2.

And as you can see from the food chart above, it’s quite challenging to get optimum amounts of K2 – unless you like natto. However, most people don’t, and unanimously say the taste is close to well used tennis sneakers.

Investing in a high quality supplement with K2 is a simple and affordable strategy that science is telling us will protect not only your bones (and heart), but the joints that hold them in place too!


Although the focus of the study was very specifically knee osteoarthritis, it is unlikely that powerful vitamin K2 reduces osteoarthritis only in your knees. Earlier studies have shown that low vitamin K intake and blood levels are also linked with osteoarthritis of the hand.
K2 may very well be an unsung hero that can prevent all types of aches and pains osteoarthritis inflicts – in every joint in your body.

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  1. Susan MacLachlan

    December 22, 2016 , 5:00 am

    I don’t understand about the whole egg mayonaise. Is that a suggestion that the egg white has more of the k2 in it? Or if the k2 is in the egg at all.. Why not recommend egg nog ( with raw eggs) or scrambled eggs or boiled etc, ( cooked).

  2. Monica

    December 22, 2016 , 8:15 am

    Hi Susan,

    Yes, the egg yolk of the egg has the highest amount of K2 in it. Great point about other eggs, which are recommended. Pasture raised eggs in particular, are the ideal source of vitamin K2 because they eat grass rich in vitamin K1 and can convert it to K2.

    – Monica @ AlgaeCal

  3. Arun

    January 19, 2019 , 3:35 pm

    I had a stroke in 2005.and I take bp medicine every day.can I take k2-mk7 if yes how much

  4. Jenna AlgaeCal

    January 21, 2019 , 3:31 pm

    Hi Arun,

    You should you be able to take vitamin K2 with no issues, as the only medications that can’t be taken with vitamin K2 are certain prescription blood thinners. In saying that, it’s a great idea to double check this with your doctor before starting!

    If you have any questions feel free to email [email protected] or give our Bone Health Consultants a call at 1-800-820-0184 🙂

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,