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Vitamin K2 and Cardiovascular Disease

3rd April 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

Just an added note: visit this site to see what Dr Mercola says about vit. K. but please note that he is not the only place to purchase Vitamin K2. I get mine from Jarrow.

Vitamin K may reverse artery hardening, suggests study

By Stephen Daniells

12/11/2006 – A high-dose vitamin K supplement reduced calcium precipitates associated with hardening of the arteries by 37 per cent in rats, scientists from The Netherlands have reported.

If the results can be reproduced in humans, high-dose vitamin K could have potential clinical implications for reducing arterial calcification, which is an important independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

“High vitamin K intake not only prevents calcification, but even regresses arterial calcifications,” lead researcher Leon Schurgers from Maastricht University told

There are two main forms of vitamin K: phylloquinone, also known as phytonadione, (vitamin K1) which is found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach, and makes up about 90 per cent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet; and menaquinones (vitamins K2), which make up about 10 per cent of Western vitamin K consumption and can be synthesised in the gut by microflora.

Menaquinones (MK-n: with the n determined by the number of prenyl side chains) can also be found in the diet; MK-4 can be found in animal meat, MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9 are found in fermented food products like cheese, and natto is a rich source of MK-7.

Some sources have said that MK-4, also known as menatetrenone, is synthetic vitamin K2, which is not correct. However, MK-4 is distinct from other MKs because it not a major constituent of the spectrum of MKs produced by gut microflora, but can be derived from K1 in vivo.

A synthetic form of vitamin K, known as K3, does exist but is not recommended for human consumption.

The new study, published on-line ahead of print in the journal Blood, is said to be the first in rats to show that arterial calcification (calcium build-up that produces hardening) and the subsequent decreased elasticity of the blood vessels may be reversible by high vitamin K intake.

“The medical community used to believe that calcification passively occurred in the end stages of cardiovascular disease,” said Schurgers. “However, in the last 10 years we have learned that Vitamin K-dependent proteins are directly involved in the inhibition of vascular calcification, and that Vitamin K2 is necessary to activate these proteins. This study demonstrates a significant potential role for Vitamin K2 in cardiovascular health.”

In the new study, the researchers induced arterial hardening in rats by interfering with vitamin K-metabolism, by adding the vitamin K-antagonist warfarin to the diets. Vitamin K is reported to act on a protein called matrix Gla-Protein (MGP), said to be the strongest inhibitor of arterial calcification.

Initially, the rats were divided into two groups, a control group with vitamin K added to the diet, and a warfarin treated group to induce calcification. After six weeks of treatment with warfarin, the researchers report that the rats showed signs of significant arterial hardening.

The warfarin treated rats were then further divided into four groups and assigned to one of four intervention groups for a further six weeks: a standard diet plus warfarin, a standard diet plus vitamin K1 at normal dose (5 micrograms per gram of food, purchased from Sigma), a standard diet plus high-dose vitamin K1 (100 micrograms per gram of food), or the standard diet plus high-dose vitamin K2 (MK-4, 100 micrograms per gram of food, gifted from Eisai, Japan).

Schurgers and his co-workers report that during the second six week period, the calcifications in the warfarin-treated control group continued linearly, as did the calcification in the normal dose vitamin K1 group, indicating that dietary vitamin K1 intake had no effect.

However, in both high-dose groups (K1 and K2) no continued calcification occurred, but the existing hardening was found to be reversed by about 40 per cent after six weeks of supplementation.

Interestingly, vitamin K2 concentration in the tissues of both groups were similar, which showed the vitamin K1 was converted into vitamin K2.

“The effect of K1 and the conversion rate of K1 to K2 was due to the extremely high dose of K vitamins used in this model,” said Schurgers. “This would be probably less in a normal diet, even with supplemental K1. In contrast, the Rotterdam study showed a significant protective benefit with Natural Vitamin K2 at just 45mcg per day, whereas K1 had no correlation at all.”

The researchers also report that the reduced calcification was also accompanied by improved arterial elasticity in the high vitamin K groups to a similar level as in the control rats.

“In this study we provide evidence that warfarin-induced medial vascular calcification in rats is preventable or even reversible by high vitamin K intake, with a putative role for the vitamin K-dependent protein MGP,” wrote the researchers.

“Whether increased vitamin K intake could have such an effect in humans has to be investigated,” they concluded. “Obviously this is only possible in patients not receiving oral anticoagulant treatment.”

Source: Blood First Edition Paper
Published on-line ahead of print. doi: 10.1182/blood-2006-07-035345
“Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats”
Authors: L.J. Schurgers, H.M.H. Spronk, B.A.M. Soute, P.M. Schiffers, J.G.R. DeMey, and C. Vermeer

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8 Responses to “Vitamin K2 and Cardiovascular Disease”

  1. Damon Says:

    I will certainly be getting more K minerals after reading this article.

  2. Arrow Durfee Says:

    K is a vitamin not a mineral. It, I think, is essential for anyone over 50.

  3. Jennifer Hall Says:


    Both my parents take warfarin. Can they take K2(menaQ7) safely while on warfarin?
    If so, what dose should they build up to while still taking warfarin. I doubt that either
    of them will quit warfarin, because their doctors have told them that they have to
    take it because they have AF. My mother had Rhumatic Fever when she was a child, so now
    her mitral valve is diseased. She is recovering from a stroke (doing quite well-amazingly)
    Mum also has Giant Cell Arteritis in her left arm. She is 74yrs

    Meanwhile I am currently on 45mcg day K2(menaQ7) I am not on warfarin. No doctor will ever
    be able to convince me to take it. I tend to steer clear of doctors. I am a nurse.


  4. Mark Says:

    Your parents will do ok taking K2 only, make sure they are not taking K1. All the studies so far have shown that K2 will not interfere with patients on warfarin.

  5. Bill Says:

    Mark, I noticed from your reply to Jenny that “All the studies so far have shown that K2 will not interfere with patients on warfarin.” Could you point me in the direction of these articles so I can read them, thanks.

  6. Shauna Says:

    I’m 31 yrs old. My ionized calcium readings have been high (3 tests in the last year) and vitamin D level has been low normal. I have multiple symptoms (fatigue, irritability, joint pain, aches, pulse sensation in head, pounding heart, blurred vision, tight muscles, etc) and my GP now has me taking 50,000IU of VitD3 which hasn’t helped that much yet. I’ve had all kinds of tests and everyone seems to think that it’s all anxiety related. I am going to order Vitamin K2 but want to know if it’s OK to take it along with a multivitamin that contains K1?

  7. Arrow Durfee Says:

    It would be ok to take it with K1.

    I strongly suggest that you read the other articles in the cardiovascular section of this blog if you are having cardiovascular issues.

    But your symptoms to me sound more like a virus or pathogen which can present with a wide array of symptoms that make people think they have other issues. For this I would learn about MMS#1 and MMS#2 and you can find detailed info at this site by its originator. We have mms testimonials found on this blog in the top toolbar. A three week mms cleanse can do wonders for people who are harboring virus or parasites that are not easy to test for.

    Your D3 supplementation likely will not get rid of these symptoms, but nontheless your D3 levesl need to be up. Over 50 in my opinion with 70 to 100 very good.

    You may also want to look into iodine supplementation. There are lots of articles on this blog if you use the search tool you will find them. Low iodine can cause anxiety and heart palpatations.

  8. Shauna Says:

    Thanks for the reply Rett! My ENT did a lot of testing to see if I have an inner ear problem and while my hearing itself is good, one of the tests revealed that I had loss some function in one ear. He said this can happen as a result of a viral illness or infection. I had another doctor who too thought my symptoms may be the result of some kind of virus after looking at my blood test results but he said the results were not that bad and that it may (at that time) just been the result of a cold or something.

    I’m going to check out the website you gave me. I’ve seen so many doctors and have had so many different exams and tests. I’m hoping to find an answer and solution one day soon. By the way, it’s been over a year since these symptoms started. I do recall having the flu prior to the onset of my various symptoms. I never went to the doctor when I came down with it.