Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, usually affecting the knee joint, leading to pain and functional limitations of the individual. The incidence of knee osteoarthritis is higher in the elderly. Pharmacological and non-therapeutic treatment options are limited due to numerous side effects or low efficacy without being effective in preventing or slowing progression of the disease.
Interestingly, Vitamin K got the attention, since it plays an important role in regulating bone and cartilage mineralization. In particular, vitamin K is a necessary cofactor for the gamma-carboxylation of Gla proteins, a process that imparts functionality to these proteins. Changes observed in osteoarthritis, such as inappropriate cartilage metallisation, hypertrophic chondrocytes, apoptotic chondrocytes and endochondral osteoporosis, may occur in the absence of the functional form of the Gla bone and cartilage protein.
The present study examined the relationship between vitamin K deficiency and development of new-onset radiographic knee osteoarthritis and was published in the American Journal of Medicine.
Patients were selected from the study of polycentric osteoarthritis (MOST) and knee radiographs and magnetic resonance imaging were performed at baseline and 30 months later, as well as the measurement of phylloquinone (vitamin K) at baseline. The relationship of vitamin K deficiency to knee radiographic knee osteoarthritis and cartilage damage based on MRI was then examined.
It was found that at baseline 9.2% of the patients had vitamin K deficiency. 14.5% of those without radiographic osteoarthritis at baseline experienced occasional radiographic osteoarthritis in follow up after 30 months. The incidence of radiographic knee osteoarthritis was 21.2% in the knees of people with vitamin K deficiency versus 13.9% of patients with sufficient vitamin K levels.
In further analysis, we found that vitamin K deficiency was associated with a higher risk of occurrence of knee osteoarthritis events in one or both of the knees compared to the absence of knee osteoarthritis.
In this first diachronic study evaluating the relationship of vitamin K to knee osteoarthritis, vitamin K deficiency was associated with the development of both the new onset of radiographic knee osteoarthritis and new knee cartilage alterations without osteoarthritis as well as cartilage damage . These results supplement and extend the findings of previous studies based on X-rays showing a role for vitamin K in the development of osteoarthritis.
These findings are very important in clinical application, since vitamin K supplementation may be a simple and inexpensive treatment for knee osteoarthritis, a condition that is so widespread and it leads to a significant reduction in functionality and is devoid of effective treatment.
Misra Devyani et al. 2013. Vitamin K deficiency is associated with incident knee osteoarthritis. The American journal of medicine, 126(3), 243-248.
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