Can vitamin K help against osteoarthritis?

Can vitamin K help against osteoarthritis?
Can vitamin K help against osteoarthritis?

Cindy Boer conducts research into the gene that contains the code for the so-called MGP protein. ‘MGP has an important task in our joints. The protein MGP essentially captures calcium. This prevents calcium from precipitating and causing calcification. But MGP can only do this well if it is activated by vitamin K.’

More risk

Previous studies show that low blood levels of vitamin K are linked to a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. ‘What we also know from previous studies: 20 to 25 percent of people are carriers of a genetic variant of the MGP gene, which means that it can do its job less well and as a result of which less of the protein is active in the cartilage cells. If this group in question also has insufficient vitamin K levels, they are at even greater risk.’

Cindy Boer is investigating whether vitamin K can help against osteoarthritis.

‘It is still too early to say that it works. I therefore advise against purchasing high doses of vitamins via online stores, for example.’

These findings do not necessarily mean that osteoarthritis is caused by a vitamin K deficiency, Boer qualifies. ‘And we cannot yet say that you can stop or reverse the disease with some extra vitamin K. We now have to study that carefully.’

Proof of concept

In her study she will investigate whether additional vitamin K administration can lead to more active MGP protein in the osteoarthritis joint. “We want to do this through a so-called proof of concept study,” she says. ‘We first look at the effects at the cell level, i.e. on the cartilage cells, instead of at clinical effects such as pain reduction.’

Waiting list

Patients cannot currently register for the study. ‘We want to give people on the waiting list for joint replacement knee surgery vitamin K or placebo pills every day five weeks before the operation date. We will then collect cartilage cells from the removed osteoarthritis joint during the procedure.’

Cindy Boer and her colleagues use this material to investigate whether the extra vitamin K has resulted in more active MGP and what exactly the effect has been on the cartilage cells. ‘The results of this study may show whether we can actually test vitamin K as a possible treatment for osteoarthritis in a large-scale clinical trial.’

Extra high

Cindy Boer’s research uses an extra high dose of vitamin K. Such a dose cannot be taken by eating healthy food or a regular vitamin supplement. ‘It is still too early to say that it works against osteoarthritis, that will have to be proven by the research that is now starting. I therefore advise against purchasing and taking high doses of vitamins via online stores, for example.’

The article is in Dutch

Tags: vitamin osteoarthritis


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