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Low Levels of Vitamin K1 Associated With Arterial Calcification

Arterial calcification is the hardening of the arteries that lead to and from our heart and can result in serious cardiovascular events. A recent study suggests that low levels of vitamin K1 may speed up the development of arterial calcification, thereby putting people at higher risk of having a heart attack.

The researchers for this study looked at data that included 296 people with extreme coronary artery calcium (CAC) progression and 561 healthy controls. After examining blood samples of all of the participants, they found that, in general, participants with low vitamin K1 levels were 34% more like to have CAC.

While that number was not statistically significant, they did find a significant association between low blood levels of vitamin K1 and CAC in patients who were taking anti-hypertension medicine. This suggests that low levels of vitamin K1 in hypertensives increases the progression of CAC.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published in the July 2013 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Vitamin K comes in two main forms: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones). Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and makes up about 90% of the vitamin K consumption in a western diet.

Vitamin K2 is harder to come by and therefore makes up only 10% of consumption. It is most common in fermented foods like cheese but can also be found in meat and soybeans. Both vitamin K1 and K2 are also available in supplement form.

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