British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Plasma phylloquinone (vitamin K1) concentration and its relationship to intake in a national sample of British elderly people

C. W. Thanea1 c1, C. J. Batesa1, M. J. Shearera2, N. Unadkata2, D. J. Harringtona2, A. A. Paula1, A. Prenticea1 and C. Bolton-Smitha1

a1 MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK

a2 Vitamin K Research & Diagnostic Units, Haemophilia Centre, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK


Plasma phylloquinone (vitamin K1) concentration was examined according to season, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors and phylloquinone intake in a nationally representative sample of British people aged 65 years and over from the 1994–5 National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Values for both plasma phylloquinone concentration and phylloquinone intake were available from 1076 participants (561 men, 515 women). Eight hundred and thirty-four were living in private households, 242 in residential or nursing homes. Weighted geometric mean plasma phylloquinone concentrations were 0·36 (95 % CI 0·06, 2·01) and 0·24 (95 % CI 0·06, 0·96) nmol/l in free-living and institution samples respectively. Plasma phylloquinone concentrations did not generally differ between men and women, although values in free-living people were significantly lower during autumn and winter (October to March). Plasma phylloquinone concentration was not significantly associated with age. Plasma phylloquinone concentrations were positively correlated with phylloquinone intake in free-living men and women (r 0·18 and 0·30 respectively, both P<0·001). Stepwise multiple regression analysis found that 11 % of the variation in plasma phylloquinone concentration was explained by phylloquinone intake, season and plasma triacylglycerol concentration. After adjustment for age and corresponding nutrient intakes, plasma phylloquinone concentration was significantly associated (each P<0·01) with plasma concentrations of triacylglycerol, cholesterol, retinol and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in free-living women but not men, and with plasma concentrations of carotenes, α- and γ-tocopherols and lutein in free-living men and women. The possibility of concurrent low fat-soluble vitamin status in elderly populations may be a cause for concern.

(Received June 02 2001)

(Revised December 14 2001)

(Accepted January 30 2002)


c1 *Corresponding author:Mr C. W. Thane, fax +44 1223 437515, email