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J Anim Sci. 2011 Apr;89(4):1056-61. doi: 10.2527/jas.2009-2759. Epub 2010 Dec 17.

Plasma vitamin K concentration in horses supplemented with several vitamin K homologs.

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  • 1Division of Applied Biosciences, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


The effect of several vitamin K homologs on plasma vitamin K concentration was determined to assess their potential as a vitamin K supplement for adult horses. Sixteen Thoroughbred horses consisting of 8 mares and 8 geldings, aged 8.4 ± 3.6 yr and weighing 520.8 ± 36.1 kg, were allocated to 4 groups (n = 4). Each group was given phylloquinone, menaquinone-4, or menadione at 58 µmol/d, or no vitamin K supplement for 7 d. Plasma samples were collected before feeding, and 2, 4, and 8 h after feeding on d 7, and plasma concentrations of phylloquinone and menaquinone-4 were determined. Plasma phylloquinone concentration was greater in the phylloquinone group than in the other groups (P < 0.001). The phylloquinone concentration quadratically increased (P < 0.001) after feeding in the phylloquinone group but no changes in the plasma phylloquinone concentration were observed after feeding in the other groups. Plasma menaquinone-4 concentration was greater (P < 0.001) in the menadione group than the other groups, including the menaquinone-4 group. Menaquinone-4 concentration did not change (P = 0.192) after feeding in each group. Menaquinone-4 has been considered the most potent vitamin K homolog for bone metabolism; therefore, the present experiment indicates that menadione is a good source of vitamin K for bone health in horses because it is the only vitamin K homolog that increased the plasma concentrations of menaquinone-4.

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