Vitamin K-2 and Vascular Calcification
Heart Disease and cardiovascular complications are the leading cause of death in the world.
The buildup of calcium in the arteries, large and small blood vessels, and the heart, also known as arterial calcification, contribute to the onset of many common cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, ischemia, and brain damage.
Many studies are underway on the effects of Vitamin K2 on cardiovascular disease to combat this category of disease.
A recent study published by Vascular Diseases and Therapeutics in July 2020 showed promising results with a positive correlation between Vitamin K2 (MK-7) intake and prevention of arterial calcification. Arterial calcification is extremely common and seen in most adults sixty years or older.
The condition reduces arterial elasticity, leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular failure in the body and the brain. The study was characterised by a group of insufficient vitamin K men and women who were given a nutritional supplement of Mena Q7 Vitamin K2 MK-7 once every day for a year. The study consisted of 243 subjects (40-70 years old) with treatment performed with either 180 µg/day of Vitamin K2 as MK-7 for one year or a placebo for one year.
carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity
Participants’ arterial stiffness was measured using the carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (cfPWV), and other vascular characteristics were measured using echo tracking of the common carotid artery.
Matrix Gla-Protein (MGP), a protein involved in preventing arterial calcification, was measured in the participants’ body. During vitamin K insufficiency, an inactive form of MGP (dp-ucMGP) is produced. In the total study group, MK-7 led to a significant decrease in dp-cuMGP and cfPW.
insufficient vitamin K levels
The effects of the study were most prevalent within women with insufficient vitamin K levels after one year of treatment. Their level of dp-ucMGP decreased from 639-450 pmol/L. Women also responded more favourably regarding cardiovascular characteristics with a decrease in carotid artery diameter, intima-media thickness, and distension, all factors related to measuring the risk and extent of cardiovascular disease. A lower diameter, IMT, and distention are all associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. The researchers in the study concluded that high vitamin K intake decreased age-related cardiovascular stiffening.
Populations with a diet rich in K2
Hogme Vik, Natto Pharma Chief Medical Officer, comments how these results mirror previous epidemiological studies, as populations with a diet rich in K2 have healthier hearts and more flexible arteries. In the French case, their diets are richer in foie gras and liver, which are seen as fatty and unhealthy. However, the high concentration of vitamin K-2 in these foods may overshadow the health risks professionals have seen previously.