Vitamin K2: a new player in the fight against atherosclerosis

Vitamin K2: a new player in the fight against atherosclerosis

A little-known vitamin in our country can help prevent calcium from building up in the blood vessels. The important role of vitamin K2 in the fight against atherosclerosis is confirmed by more and more medical research.

An outstanding medical discovery is that a vitamin, specifically vitamin K2, prevents the deposition of calcium in blood vessels, and more and more evidence shows that it can even reverse atherosclerosis. It has recently been recognized that vitamin K2 deficiency can also be responsible for the development of atherosclerosis.
Several studies have examined the relationship between vitamin K2 intake and heart disease. To name just a few, in the European Prospect-EPIC study of 16,057 people, it was found that coronary heart disease was less common among people who consumed higher amounts of vitamin K2. In the Rotterdam study of 4,807 people in the Netherlands, higher K2 intake significantly reduced the risk of some heart diseases and death. And in the Spanish PREDIMED study, those who increased their vitamin K2 intake had a lower risk of death from any cause.

How does vitamin K2 prevent the calcification of blood vessels?

During atherosclerosis, a porridge-like substance first appears in healthy, flexible arteries, which hardens due to calcium deposits, the so-called creating calcareous plaques. These plaques reduce the elasticity of the blood vessels and prevent the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the organs. In our body, the task of a protein called MGP is to prevent the deposition of calcium in the blood vessels. This protein binds the excess calcium in the blood so that it does not deposit in the walls of blood vessels. But this protein can only perform its extremely important task in an active state, for which it needs vitamin K2 (this vitamin activates the protein). If there is not enough vitamin K2 in our body, only a part of the MGP proteins are activated. Thus, less than optimal protein will be functional, and over time atherosclerosis, aortic and heart valve calcification, etc. may develop. Because of this function, vitamin K2 is absolutely essential for heart health.
“In its inactive form, the MGP protein is associated with various forms of cardiovascular disease, including increased arterial stiffness, calcification of blood vessels and valves, insulin resistance, and heart failure, which ultimately increase cardiovascular mortality. Vitamin K2 supplementation has been strongly associated with improved cardiovascular outcomes by modulating vascular calcification and arterial stiffness. Clinical studies suggest that survival of heart patients is improved with vitamin K2 supplementation. In summary, it can be said that vitamin K2 supplementation is a promising additional option in the treatment of cardiovascular problems." — continues the cardiologist professor.

What is vitamin K2 found in?

Vitamin K2 is found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, and in foods of animal origin, such as milk, eggs, and cheese. Due to industrial animal husbandry, the vitamin K2 content of these foods is significantly lower today than in the age of our great-grandparents, so we often consume less of it than we need.

Vitamin D does half the work without vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 and vitamin D, known for their many positive effects, were intended by nature to be "a couple", as in many cases they complement each other's effects. This is true for the cardiovascular system. Vitamin D promotes the formation of MGP proteins that support blood vessel health, but they only come into play when vitamin K2 is activated.

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