Vitamin K2 supplementation associated with reduced arterial stiffness in women

Vitamin K2 supplementation associated with reduced arterial stiffness in women

Life Extension Update

Tuesday, March 10, 2015. The results of a clinical trial reported on February 19, 2015 in Thrombosis and Haemostasis reveal improvement in arterial stiffness among postmenopausal women who supplemented with 180 mcg per day of the form of vitamin K2 known as menaquinone-7 (MK-7) for three years.

"Observational studies showed lower prevalence of arterial calcification and coronary heart disease mortality in subjects with the highest intake of menaquinones (vitamin K2)" write Marjo H. J. Knapen and colleagues at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. "Remarkably, no effect was seen for phylloquinone (vitamin K1) intake in these studies."

"Based on a 3-fold higher efficacy of MK-7 than phylloquinone and the effectiveness of phylloquinone at 500 micrograms/day, supplementing with 180 mcg/day of MK-7 was expected to significantly affect cardiovascular health," they note.

At the trial's onset and at one, two and three years, local carotid stiffness was evaluated via measurement of intima-media thickness and other assessments, and regional aortic stiffness was assessed by measuring carotid-femoral and carotid-radial pulse wave velocity. While the placebo group experienced a slight increase in arterial stiffness at the trial's conclusion, treatment with MK-7 was associated with significant improvement, particularly among those with a high level of stiffness upon enrollment.

The investigation is the first intervention trial to evaluate the effect of MK-7 on cardiovascular endpoints. The authors note that research confirming these results is in progress.

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Increased vitamin K intake associated with lower risk of dying over 4.8 year median
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A study reported online on March 19, 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition links higher intake of vitamin K with a lower risk of dying from any cause over a median follow-up of 4.8 years.

The study included 7,216 participants in the PREDIMED study, which sought to evaluate the protective effect of a Mediterranean diet against the risk of cardiovascular disease in older men and women. Annual dietary questionnaire responses completed by the participants were analyzed for the intake of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2). Over a 4.8 year median, there were 323 deaths, including 81 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 130 cancer deaths.

Adjusted analysis uncovered a 36% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 46% lower risk of dying from cancer over follow-up among those whose vitamin K1 intake was among the top 25% of participants in comparison with the lowest 25%. For those who increased their intake of vitamin K1 over follow-up, the risk of death was 43% lower and for vitamin K2, the risk was 45% less than subjects whose intake was reduced or unchanged. Improvement of vitamin K1 and K2 intake was also associated with a 36% and 59% lower risk of dying from cancer during the follow-up period.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the specific association of both active forms of vitamin K (vitamins K-1 and K-2), and their changes during the follow-up, with cancer mortality, cardiovascular mortality, or all-cause mortality in a prospective longitudinal study of Mediterranean individuals at high cardiovascular disease risk and using repeated measurements of dietary intake," the authors announce. "The results of the present study show, for the first time, an inverse association between an increased intake of both dietary phylloquinone and menaquinone, and cancer mortality or all-cause mortality."

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Health Concern

Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease

Scientific studies have revealed that several nutrients effectively protect against endothelial dysfunction caused by the atherogenic factors identified above. Unlike mainstream medicine's approach to treating atherosclerosis, which involves addressing only very few proven cardiac risk factors, a comprehensive nutritional regimen can be designed to target all of the risk factors that contribute to atherosclerosis.

Vitamin K is steadily gaining attention for its ability to reduce vascular calcification and help prevent vascular disease (Jie KSG et al 1996). Evidence for the ability of vitamin K to prevent calcification can also be found in an animal study in which researchers administered the anticoagulant warfarin to rats. Warfarin is known to deplete vitamin K. At the end of the study, all the animals had extensive calcification, suggesting they had lost the protective effect of vitamin K (Howe AM 2000).

A large study of more than 4,800 subjects followed for 7-10 years in the Netherlands demonstrated that people in the highest one-third of vitamin K2 intake had a 57% reduction in risk of dying from vascular disease, compared to those with the lowest intake. Furthermore, their risk of having severe aortic calcification plummeted by 52%—a clear demonstration of the vitamin's protective effects (Geleijnse, 2004).

Another study by the same group showed that higher vitamin K2 intake was associated with a 20% decreased risk of coronary artery calcification (Beulens, 2009).

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