Vitamin K Status and Lower Extremity Function in Older Adults: The Health Aging and Body Composition Study

M. Kyla Shea, Richard F. Loeser, Fang Chi Hsu, Sarah L. Booth, Michael Nevitt, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Elsa S. Strotmeyer, Cees Vermeer, Stephen B. Kritchevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: While low vitamin K status has been associated with several chronic diseases that can lead to lower extremity disability, it is not known if low vitamin K status is associated with worse lower extremity function. Methods: Vitamin K status was measured according to plasma phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and dephosphorylated-uncarboxylated MGP (dp-ucMGP) in 1,089 community-dwelling older adults (mean ± SD age =74±3 years; 67% female). Lower extremity function was assessed using the short physical performance battery (SPPB), gait speed, and isokinetic leg strength. Linear regression and mixed models were used to determine the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between vitamin K status and functional outcome measures. Results: Cross-sectionally, higher plasma phylloquinone was associated with better SPPB scores and 20-m gait speed (p ≤. 05). After 4-5 years, those with ≥1.0nM plasma phylloquinone (the concentration achieved when recommended intakes are met) had better SPPB scores (p =. 03) and 20-m gait speed (p <. 05). Lower plasma dp-ucMGP (reflective of better vitamin K status) was associated with better SPPB scores and leg strength cross-sectionally (p ≤. 04), but not longitudinally. Neither measure of vitamin K status was associated with walking endurance or with the rate of decline in function. Conclusion: Older adults with higher vitamin K status had better physical performance scores at baseline, but data are less consistent longitudinally. Since lower extremity disability is a common consequence of multiple chronic diseases for which a role of vitamin K has been suggested, future studies are needed to determine if vitamin K supplementation could improve function in those with vitamin K insufficiency and clarify underlying mechanism(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1348-1355
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Nutrition
  • Physical function
  • Physical performance
  • Vitamin K

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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