Lacking Vitamin K may be responsible for developing varicose veins

August 29, 2007

It is the job of matrix GLA protein (MGP) to keep the arteries in the heart and the rest of the body clean and clear. MGP whisks calcium away from blood vessel walls preventing clogging and hardening of these blood vessels and protecting our circulatory system. However, MGP requires Vitamin K to work and MGP cannot play its central role in maintaining the health of the entire cardiovascular system if the level of Vitamin K is low.

It turns out that a lack of MGP activity due to an inadequate supply of Vitamin K may play a significant role in the creation of varicose veins. In the study scientists from INSERM and the University of Nantes compared healthy veins from 36 male patients with a range in age from 30 to 83 and varicose veins from 50 male patients aged 40 to 81. Inactive MGP was a key player in having varicose veins and having enough Vitamin K may help prevent the creation of these bulging and potentially dangerous veins. In the study there was not enough Vitamin K in the tissue to protect the veins and MGP was not functioning/ Active MGP could prevent the depositing of minerals in the vein walls and proliferation of the blood vessels thereby stopping the development of varicose veins. The study is published online ahead of print in the Journal of Vascular Research.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.; MGP is the most potent inhibitor of vascular calcification known. In the Rotterdam Study which included almost 5000 people over a ten year period, increased intake of Vitamin K2 significantly reduced the risk of CHD (coronary heart disease) deaths by 50% compared to low intake. In animal studies, inactivating Vitamin K lead to major arterial calcification and adding Vitamin K2 quickly inhibited the induced calcification. In a follow-up study in the journal Blood, supplementing with Vitamin K2 actually decreased existing calcium plaques in the arteries of animals; in other words the oral Vitamin K2 was performing a natural bypass via oral chelation.