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Vitamin K2: An update
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Another study has been released that confirms a connection between intake of vitamin K2 and coronary disease. This study takes the discussion one step further by using coronary calcium scoring obtained with heart scans, an experience that we had lacked previously.

You may recall from our initial Vitamin K2 discussion, Vitamin K2: An emerging story, that basic observations in both animal models and humans have provided a plausible basis for a role for vitamin K2 in vascular calcification.

Deficiency of K2 in both mice and humans is associated with coronary calcification; low vitamin K2 levels are associated with increased activity of Gla matrix protein, an enzyme that causes calcium deposition in artery walls. People who take warfarin (Coumadin®), a potent blocker of vitamin K2, experience more arterial and heart valve calcification.

The 2004 Rotterdam Heart Study was the experience that really brought this concept closer to our interests. This well-conducted study of 4800 Dutch demonstrated an association of vitamin K2 intake with 57% reduction in cardiovascular events and lesser degrees of aortic calcification (another surrogate for atherosclerosis). Benefit appeared to be associated with a daily K2 intake of 32.7 micrograms per day (Geleijnse JM et al 2004). An important corollary of this study is that it suggests that a vitamin K2-mediated reduction in coronary calcification is accompanied by reduced likelihood of heart attack and other events.

Another study has been conducted by the same group of researchers in the Netherlands who engineered the Rotterdam Study. In this most recent experience, 564 women (average age 67, average BMI 26.7) completed a 77-item food frequency questionnaire that quantified intake of vitamins K1 and K2.

Among the participants, average intake of vitamin K1 was 217 micrograms per day, while vitamin K2 intakes averaged 31.6 micrograms per day for the entire study population. (This is consistent with prior studies showing that K1 intake is about 10-fold greater than K2.) The majority (82%) of K1 came from vegetables. Vitamin K2 came from cheese (54%), milk products (22%), and meat (15%), all of which are dietary sources of the MK-4 form of K2 along with lesser quantities of MK-8 and MK-9.

All participants underwent a heart scan (16-slice MDCT). 62% of women had positive heart scan scores (>zero). Daily intake of K1 and K2 were divided into four groups from lowest daily intake to highest daily intake.

Study results and dosing considerations for your personal program

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