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Vitamin K Deficiency Associated With Cardiovascular Mortality

Vascular calcification is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. Vitamin K is critical for converting inactive Matrix GLA Protein into its active form, which inhibits calcification of arteries. Now a new study has found an association between low vitamin K levels and an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.


Participants in the study included 4,275 people between the ages of 41 and 65 who took part in the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease (PREVEND) study. Of the total study population, 31% were vitamin K deficient. Vitamin K deficiency was more common (closer to 50%) in mature adults and people with comorbidities such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.


Over the 10-year follow-up period, 279 of the participants died, with 74 deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease. After examining the data, the researchers found a signficant association between blood markers of vitamin K concentrations and death from cardiovascular causes.


Researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands conducted the study. It was published on December 8, 2017, in the journal Nutrients.


Previous studies have linked vitamin K to bone and cardiovascular health, as well as a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Vitamin K comes in two main forms: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones). Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and makes up approximately 90% of the vitamin K consumption in a western diet.


Vitamin K2 is harder to attain from food sources and therefore makes up only 10% of consumption. It is most common in fermented foods such as cheese and natto but can also be found in meat. Both vitamin K1 and K2 are also available in supplement form.

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