Vitamin K supplementation may be helpful for cardiovascular health

Most people know vitamin K is an important nutrient because they’ve been told by their health professional that it’s critical for blood clotting. But researchers are now proposing vitamin K supplementing for a non-emergency measure: to promote cardiovascular health and lower the risk of heart disease.

There is a strong link between poor vitamin K status and cardiovascular mortality, say researchers involved in the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease study (PREVEND).

The researchers warned that around a third of the population may be deficient.

The PREVEND study demonstrated that functional vitamin K insufficiency was present in almost one in three of studied subjects, and even higher–around 50%–in specific riskier groups.

These groups include the elderly and subjects with other conditions such as high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.

The main objective of the PREVEND research was to identify the prevalence of vitamin K deficiency in a general population cohort, and to identify association between insufficiency of the vitamin with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

As the study is observational, poor vitamin K status cannot be concluded to cause cardiovascular mortality; however, recent intervention trials using vitamin K have shown effectiveness in reversing kidney, heart and arterial calcification.

Moreover, the recognition of such a high occurrence of vitamin K insufficiency in a general population cohort is important, suggest the researchers.

In conclusion, the researchers proposed that supplementation might be an important strategy to improve cardiovascular health–especially in light of the easy access to vitamin K supplements:

“Importantly, a low vitamin K status is not only a clinically relevant risk factor for adverse health outcomes, but may also be a modifiable risk factor. Given the availability of vitamin K supplements, vitamin K insufficiency seems an attractive target for preventive intervention.”

Source: Nutrients, Volume 9, Issue 12.