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Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Apr;97(4):978-81.

Vitamin K2 (menatetrenone) for bone loss in patients with cirrhosis of the liver.

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Osaka City University Medical School, Osaka, Japan.



Bone loss frequently appears in the natural history of liver disease. The effects of therapy for osteoporosis associated with cirrhosis of the liver are still controversial. We evaluated the effects of vitamin K2 on osteopenia in women with cirrhosis.


The subjects were 50 women with cirrhosis who had underlying hepatitis viral infections. Half of the patients were randomly assigned to receive vitamin K2 (menatetrenone). The bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar vertebrae was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at entry and at 1-yr intervals for 2 yr.


The percentages of change from the initial BMD at 1 and 2 yr after initiation of the study were, respectively, +0.1 +/- 2.6% and -0.5 +/- 3.5% for the vitamin K2-treated group and -2.2 +/- 2.4% and -4.6 +/- 3.9% for the control group. The changes in BMD at each timepoint differed significantly between the control and treated groups (p = 0.008 for 1 yr and p = 0.002 for 2 yr). In the vitamin K2-treated group, the ratio of osteocalcin to undercarboxylated osteocalcin in those patients with increases in BMD after 1 yr of treatment was significantly lower than that in patients showing decreases in BMD (p = 0.017). No adverse effects of vitamin K2 were noted.


Vitamin K2 can prevent bone loss and may therefore be useful in the management of bone disease in women with cirrhosis of the liver.

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