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J Nutr. 2012 Jun;142(6):1060-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.154278. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Circulating phylloquinone concentrations of adults in the United States differ according to race and ethnicity.

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Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


Differences in micronutrient status are reported to contribute to racial and ethnic differences in chronic diseases. Diseases related to vitamin K are reported to differ by race and ethnicity, but it is unclear if circulating vitamin K concentrations similarly differ. We examined racial and ethnic differences in serum phylloquionone (K1) in the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) (mean ± SD age = 62 ± 10 y; 52% female; 262 white, 180 African American, 169 Hispanic, 93 Chinese American). Overall, 25% had serum K1 <0.1 nmol/L (the lower limit of detection). The prevalence of low serum K1 was 4% in Chinese Americans compared with 24% of whites, 29% of African Americans, and 33% of Hispanics. Compared with whites, Chinese Americans were significantly less likely to have serum K1 <0.1 nmol/L [OR (95% CI): 0.23 (0.09-0.23), adjusted for serum TG, K1 intake, age, sex, BMI, smoking, total cholesterol, site, season, and lipid-lowering medication use]. African Americans and Hispanics had similar odds to whites for having serum K1 <0.1 nmol/L [OR(95% CI): 1.30 (0.79-2.15) and 1.19 (0.66-2.15), respectively; fully adjusted]. In participants with detectable concentrations (n = 523), (natural log) serum K1 was higher in the Chinese Americans compared with whites, African Americans, and Hispanics (geometric mean ± SEM = 2.2 ± 0.1 nmol/L vs. 1.2 ± 0.1 nmol/L, 1.5 ± 0.1 nmol/L, and 1.1 ± 0.1 nmol/L, respectively, adjusted for serum TG, K1 intake, and additional covariates; all P < 0.001). These findings suggest circulating K1 differs by race and ethnicity in U.S. adults, especially among those of Chinese American descent, which merits consideration in the design and interpretation of future population-based and clinical studies of vitamin K and related diseases.

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