Vit K insufficiency linked to cognitive dysfunction

Published: 3-May-2022

Japanese researchers enrolled a total of 800 adults with a mean age of 75.9 and conducted a geriatric health examination, including a mini-mental state examination

Gnosis by Lesaffre has highlighted recent research published in Frontiers in Nutrition, reportedly demonstrating an association between vitamin K insufficiency and cognitive function.

In the study, “Association of Vitamin K Insufficiency with Cognitive Dysfunction in Community-Dwelling Older Adults”1, Japanese researchers enrolled a total of 800 adults with a mean age of 75.9 and conducted a geriatric health examination, including a mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and a blood test. Examining the concentration of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) in serum, which is a biomarker for vitamin K insufficiency, researchers reportedly demonstrated an association between ucOC concentration and cognitive function.

The results showed a significant association of impaired cognitive function and concentration of ucOC in the highest tertile of ucOC. When the analysis was repeated with each domain of MMSE score, the highest tertile of ucOC was associated with impaired orientation, calculation, and language.

The findings of the study are said to align with previous research showing lower vitamin K intake is associated with cognitive impairment. The researchers said: “As far as we know, this is the first report on the significant association of single ucOC measurement and cognitive impairment. Our analysis also suggests that vitamin K insufficiency could be associated with selected categories of cognitive function. Since the single measurement of ucOC in serum is a simple and widely available method for vitamin K evaluation, it could be useful as a biomarker of neurodegenerative diseases affecting the cognitive functions.”

The results are also supported by another recently published paper from Spain2 which assessed two years of changes in dietary K intake with cognitive function measured through neuropsychological performance tests. The researchers concluded: “An increase of the intake of dietary vitamin K was associated with better cognitive function scores, independently of recognised risk factors for cognitive decline, in an older adult Mediterranean population with high cardiovascular risk.”

While the Japanese study examined vitamin K, there are several studies which have shown that MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 as MK-7 improved K status as measured by ucOC, Gnosis says, done in healthy adult and child populations.3,4

“We have worked with world-renowned researchers – as NattoPharma and that work continues at Gnosis by Lesaffre – to confirm the safe and effective health benefits of MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 as MK-7. Elucidating the important mechanism of activating K-dependent proteins, including osteocalcin and Matrix Gla protein (MGP), was a foundational piece of that work,” said Dr Hogne Vik, CMO, Gnosis by Lesaffre5. “Based on our research and the critical work that continues, we can hypothesise that K2 supplementation could prove beneficial in the brain development of children and support healthy brain function in adults.”

Dr Vik also said that while Vitamin K2 as MK-4 has been noted as the main form of vitamin K in the brain, “in-vivo research supports that supplementation with K2 as MK-7 increases MK-4 content in the brain tissue.”


1. Azuma K et al. Association of Vitamin K Insufficiency With Cognitive Dysfunction in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Front. Nutr. (2022) 8:811831. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.811831

2. Camacho-Barcia L et al. Vitamin K dietary intake is associated with cognitive function in an older adult mediterranean population. Age Ageing. 2022 Feb 2;51(2):afab246. Doi: 10.1093/ageing/afab246.

3. Knapen MHJ et al. Three-year low-dose menaquinone-7 supplementation helps decrease bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int. 2013 Sep;24(9):2499-507. doi: 10.1007/s00198-013-2325-6. Epub 2013 Mar 23. PMID: 23525894.

4. Theuwissen E et al. Vitamin K status in healthy volunteers. Food Funct. 2014 Feb;5(2):229-34. doi: 10.1039/c3fo60464k. PMID: 24296867.

5. Popescu A and German M. “Vitamin K2 Holds Promise for Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment.” Nutrients. 2021,13,2206.

You may also like