Though our bones may seem static, our skeletal system is very much alive and constantly reshaping. In our bones, there are continuous opposing forces of bone deconstruction and bone reconstruction that contribute to this dynamic reshaping process. Two major cells attribute to this: osteoblasts (cells that build bone) and osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). As osteoblasts continually incorporate calcium to build bone matrix and osteoclasts break down bone, both cell types are regulated by only a handful of proteins: Gla protein, S protein, and Osteocalcin.20,25 The activity of all three of these proteins is dependent on Vitamin K2.3 Vitamin K2 modifies the proteins to cause osteoblast activation and osteoclast inhibition. This, in turn, implies calcium incorporation into the bone matrix to improve bone strength.25 When this balance of bone matrix construction and deconstruction is thrown off towards deconstruction, weakening of the bones (osteoporosis) occurs and many health complications can arise.

Normal bone density vs osteoporosisOsteoporosis is a disease in which weakening of the bones causes increased risk of fracture. Poor diet, aging, low body weight, low levels of sex hormones (menopause), smoking, and some medications can increase the risk for osteoporosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Osteoporosis affects over 5.3 million men and women over the age of 50 in the United States.26 Due to the disease’s prevalence, there has been extensive research done to try to find a cure. As a result, there have been many studies showing Vitamin K2 as an effective means to help patients re-strengthen their bones.

In one of these research studies, a large sample size of blood serum was collected in both Japanese and British women.17 They found that Vitmain K2 content of Japanese women were nearly four times higher than that of British women. Even more interesting was that the Vitamin K2 content of each population was inversely proportional to the number of hip fractures.17 This was a strong indication that Vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of weakened bones.

Another study was conducted over the course of 3 years in a double blind fashion.27 It was conducted with 325 postmenopausal women who either received placebo or a daily dosage of Vitamin K2. The researchers measured the bone mineral content and hip geometry for each patient. They concluded that Vitamin K2 helped maintain and strengthen bone mineral content and femoral neck width (bone thickness).