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Roles of Vitamins D and K, Nutrition, and Lifestyle in Low-Energy Bone Fractures in Children and Young Adults

Karpiński, Michał, Popko, Janusz, Maresz, Katarzyna, Badmaev, Vladimir, Stohs, Sidney J.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2017 v.36 no.5 pp. 399-412
bone density, bone fractures, calcium, carboxylation, children, clinical trials, exercise, healthy diet, lifestyle, menaquinones, mineral content, osteocalcin, vitamin D, young adults
The research on skeletal system health in children and young adults, while recognizing the important role of calcium and vitamin D, goes beyond these nutritional standards. This review focuses on the role of vitamin K in combination with vitamin D and other factors in bone health. The current understanding is that maintaining bone health and prevention of low-energy fractures in any pediatric population includes nutritional factors combined with an active lifestyle. Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K supplementation contribute independently and collectively to bone health. The beneficial role of vitamin K, particularly vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 (MK-7), in bone and cardiovascular health is reasonably well supported scientifically, with several preclinical, epidemiological, and clinical studies published over the last decade. Osteocalcin and matrix-Gla (glutamate-containing) protein (MGP) exemplify vitamin K–dependent proteins involved in building bone matrix and keeping calcium from accumulating in the arterial walls, respectively. An important part of the mechanism of vitamin K involves carboxylation and posttranslational activation of the family of vitamin K–dependent proteins, which prevent expression of pro-inflammatory factors and support improvement in bone mineral concentration, bone mineral density, and the quality of bone matrix. Understanding the combined approach to a healthy skeletal system in children and young adults, including the roles of vitamins D and K, calcium, healthy diet, and exercise, is particularly important in view of reports of subclinical insufficiency of vitamins D and K in otherwise healthy pediatric populations with low-energy bone fractures.