Leuven, Belgium—Vitamin K2 could be vital to heart health maintenance, according to a new study published in Journal of the American Heart Association.
According to the study, stiffening and calcification of the large arteries are major forerunners of cardiovascular complications. Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) inhibits this calcification, but it requires vitamin K-dependent activation. The researchers hypothesized that markers signifying risk of CVD would correlate with a high level of inactive MGP.
The study was performed on 835 Flemish individuals. Researchers measured inactive MGP as well as central pulse pressure and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, two markers of heart health, and used them to calculate other markers of CVD risk. They found that the higher the levels of inactive MGP, the higher the aortic pulse wave velocity and backward wave amplitude, which have both been shown to predict poor cardiovascular health. Active MGP levels, which would indicate a greater intake of vitamin K, were correlated with lower aortic pulse wave velocity and backward wave amplitude.
While the study noted that the researchers did not measure levels of vitamin K and could not measure dietary intake of vitamin K, it did suggest that “the current findings highlight new avenues for preserving vascular integrity and preventing cardiovascular complications (e.g., by improving a person’s vitamin K status).”
NattoPharma, a supplier of Vitamin K2, released a statement noting the significance of the findings. The company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Hogne Vik, said in the statement: “This research again confirms a link to vitamin K status and risk of cardiovascular health. NattoPharma’s research has shown that vitamin K2 supplementation can halt and even regress progression of arterial stiffness. This paper recognizes that stiffening and calcification of the large arteries are forerunners of cardiovascular complication, and the mechanism to prevent this is the vitamin K-dependent activation of MGP.”