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J Bone Miner Res. 2011 May;26(5):948-54. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.289.

Vitamin K status in spaceflight and ground-based models of spaceflight.

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  • 1Division of Space Life Sciences, Universities Space Research Association, Houston, TX, USA.


Bone loss is a well-documented change during and after long-duration spaceflight. Many types of countermeasures to bone loss have been proposed, including vitamin K supplementation. The objective of this series of studies was to measure change in vitamin K status in response to microgravity under a variety of spaceflight and spaceflight analog (model) conditions, including long-duration spaceflight studies (n = 15), three bed rest studies (n = 15, 49, and 24), and a 14-day saturation dive (n = 6). In crew members who flew 2-6 months on the International Space Station, in-flight and postflight plasma phylloquinone concentrations were unchanged from the preflight mean. Consistent with this finding, urinary γ-carboxyglutamic acid (GLA), a measure of vitamin K-dependent protein turnover, did not change in response to flight. Serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin (%ucOC), a measure of vitamin K function, was generally unchanged in response to flight. Spaceflight findings were corroborated by findings of no changes in phylloquinone, urinary GLA, or %ucOC during or after bed rest in three separate bed rest studies (21-90 days in duration) or after a 14-day saturation dive. The data presented here do not support either a need for vitamin K supplementation during spaceflight or the suggestion of using vitamin K as a bone loss countermeasure in spaceflight.

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