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Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Jan;69(1):74-9.

Vitamin K intake and hip fractures in women: a prospective study.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



Vitamin K mediates the gamma-carboxylation of glutamyl residues on several bone proteins, notably osteocalcin. High serum concentrations of undercarboxylated osteocalcin and low serum concentrations of vitamin K are associated with lower bone mineral density and increased risk of hip fracture. However, data are limited on the effects of dietary vitamin K.


We investigated the hypothesis that high intakes of vitamin K are associated with a lower risk of hip fracture in women.


We conducted a prospective analysis within the Nurses' Health Study cohort. Diet was assessed in 72327 women aged 38-63 y with a food-frequency questionnaire in 1984 (baseline). During the subsequent 10 y of follow-up, 270 hip fractures resulting from low or moderate trauma were reported.


Women in quintiles 2-5 of vitamin K intake had a significantly lower age-adjusted relative risk (RR: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.53, 0.93) of hip fracture than women in the lowest quintile (< 109 microg/d). Risk did not decrease between quintiles 2 and 5 and risk estimates were not altered when other risk factors for osteoporosis, including calcium and vitamin D intakes, were added to the models. Risk of hip fracture was also inversely associated with lettuce consumption (RR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.40, 0.78) for one or more servings per day compared with one or fewer servings per week), the food that contributed the most to dietary vitamin K intakes.


Low intakes of vitamin K may increase the risk of hip fracture in women. The data support the suggestion for a reassessment of the vitamin K requirements that are based on bone health and blood coagulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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