Vitamin K1 (also known as Phylloquinone and Phytonadione) is found in green
leafy vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce and spinach; K1 makes up about 90% of
the vitamin K in our diet. Most forms of Vitamin K2 are formed by healthy
bacteria in our intestines. Different versions of Vitamin K2 are referred to as
Menaquinone with various numbers after it; they make up about 10% of our Vitamin
K intake. The bacteria do not make Menaquinone-4 but a small amount is found in
meat. Menaquinone-7 is from fermented foods such as Natto.
Calcification of the arteries is a major part of arterial disease and hardening
of the arteries. Hardening of the arteries is a key part of cardiovascular
disease and coronary heart disease; the cause of over 50% of all deaths in the
USA. The level of calcification of blood vessels predicts future stroke and
heart attack risk.
In this study researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands fed 10
week old rats a higher dosage of the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) to cause
a build up of calcium in their blood vessels for a six-week period. Vitamin K
intake was at normal dietary levels at this point. Warfarin at high doses can
contribute to calcification by inactivating Vitamin K dependent matrix GLA
protein. Matrix GLA protein helps keep calcium out of the arteries and brings it
to the bone where it belongs. The animals were then supplemented with either
high dose K1 or K2 as Menaquinone-4 for an additional six-weeks.
If warfarin was stopped, calcification continued to occur over the next
six-weeks at normal Vitamin K levels. However, with the removal of warfarin and
the start of the high dose Vitamin K therapy the further accumulation of
calcification in the arteries was stopped. In fact it was better than this;
adding high dose Vitamin K reversed existing arterial calcifications by 37%
within six-weeks. The higher levels of Vitamin K were needed to reactivate
matrix GLA protein (a normal level of Vitamin K intake was not protective
because it could not restart the matrix GLAS protein). The study appears in the
April 1st, 2007 issue of the journal Blood.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.
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