New Study Provides Early Link Between Vitamin K2, Bone Health, and Potential for Gastric Cancer Patients

A new study, published by the Japanese Society of Nutrition and Food Science in its Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, highlights the potential benefits of vitamin K2 supplementation in the treatment of gastrectomy, a disease of gastric cancer patients that results in malnutrition and bone diseases.

Gastric surgery is mostly needed for the treatment of gastric cancer. Gastrectomy (GX) in patients results in malnutrition and bone diseases, including not only osteoporosis, but also osteomalacia or a mixed pattern of osteoporosis/osteomalacia with secondary hyperparathyroidism. Since GX induces impairment of calcium and vitamin D metabolism, calcium, and vitamin D supplementation may play an important role in maintaining bone health. However, vitamin K insufficiency as well as vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency owing to malnutrition are speculated to be partly associated with the increased risk of facture in GX patients, the researchers explained.

For the study, “Vitamin K2 Improves Femoral Bone Strength Without Altering Bone Mineral Density in Gastrectomized Rats,” osteopenia was induced in rats via Gastrectomy (GX). Researchers examined the skeletal effects of vitamin K2 in 30 male GX rats that were randomized by the stratified weight method into three groups: sham operation (control) group; GX group; and GX + oral vitamin K2 (menatetrenone, 30 mg/kg, 5 d/wk) group. Treatment was initiated at one week after surgery. After six weeks of treatment, the bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD), and mechanical strength of the femoral diaphysis and distal metaphysis were determined by peripheral quantitative computed tomography and mechanical strength tests, respectively. GX induced decreases in the BMC, BMD, and ultimate force of the femoral diaphysis and distal metaphysis.

While vitamin K2 did not significantly influence the BMC or BMD of the femoral diaphysis or distal metaphysis in GX rats, it attenuated the decrease in the ultimate force and increased the stiffness of the femoral diaphysis. The study showed that administration of vitamin K2 to GX rats improved bone strength of the femoral diaphysis without altering the BMC or BMD, suggesting effects of vitamin K2 on the cortical bone quality.

The study’s authors write: “These findings suggest effects of vitamin K2 on the quality and strength of cortical bone. It will be of interest to determine whether vitamin K2 can prevent fractures in GX patients by conducting clinical trials.”

Reference: Iwamoto J, Sato Y, Matsumoto H. Vitamin K2 Improves Femoral Bone Strength without Altering Bone Mineral Density in Gastrectomized Rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol, 60, 71-77, 2014.

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