The absorption and plasma disappearance of vitamin K were investigated by uniformly labelling phylloquinone in kale with carbon-13, and by feeding the kale to study subjects. Seven healthy volunteers ingested a single 400 g serving of kale with 30 g vegetable oil. The kale provided 156 nmol of phylloquinone. Serial plasma samples were collected and analysed for the appearance of 13C-phylloquinone by HPLC–MS. Six of the subjects showed significant amounts of labelled phylloquinone in plasma, though one subject's plasma was not consistently enriched above the detection limit, and this subject's baseline plasma phylloquinone level was the lowest in the group. After ingestion of the labelled kale, plasma 13C-phylloquinone concentration increased rapidly to a peak between 6 and 10 h, and then rapidly decreased. Average peak plasma concentration for the six subjects with detectable 13C-phylloquinone was 2·1 nmol/l. Plasma concentration–time data were analysed by compartmental modelling. Modelling results demonstrated a mean (n 6) bioavailability of phylloquinone from kale to be 4·7 %. Plasma and tissue half-times for phylloquinone were found to be 8·8 and 215 h, respectively.