British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Olive oil supplemented with menaquinone-7 significantly affects osteocalcin carboxylation

Francesca Brugèa1 c1, Tiziana Bacchettia1, Federica Principia1, Gian Paolo Littarrua1 and Luca Tianoa1

a1 Department of Biochemistry, Biology and Genetics, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Ranieri, 60100 Ancona, Italy


Menaquinone-7 (MK-7), a member of the vitamin K2 family, performs several functions, all related to its recognised effect on post-translational carboxylation of certain protein-bound glutamate residues. Due to its lipophilic structure MK-7 is soluble in olive oil, so the aim of the present study was to test whether extra-virgin (EV) olive oil enriched with MK-7 significantly increases MK-7 plasma levels and has an effect on osteocalcin and its carboxylation status. Healthy young volunteers (n 12) were administered 20 ml EV olive oil per d for 2 weeks, followed by 2 weeks of the same amount of olive oil enriched with 45 μg and then 90 μg MK-7, with an appropriate washout time in between. Blood was collected and plasma separated in each phase of the study. We found that integration of the diet with EV olive oil alone did not produce any significant variation of MK-7 plasma levels compared with baseline. Supplementation with MK-7-enriched olive oil resulted in a significant and dose-dependent increase in plasma levels. The high dose also significantly increased carboxylated osteocalcin (cOC) and decreased undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) plasma levels, resulting in a significant increase in the cOC:ucOC ratio. A significant correlation was also found between percentage variation of plasma cOCA:ucOC ratio and increase in plasma MK-7 levels. We conclude that regular consumption of MK-7-enriched olive oil may constitute a valid approach in order to preserve some key biochemical mechanisms controlling bone mineralisation.

(Received August 16 2010)

(Revised February 17 2011)

(Accepted February 24 2011)

(Online publication May 17 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Francesca Brugè, fax +390712204398, email


Abbreviations: cOC, carboxylated osteocalcin; CoQ10, coenzyme Q10; MK-7, menaquinone-7; ucOC, undercarboxylated osteocalcin