Supplements of vitamin K 1 may slow hardening of the arteries in people already suffering from the condition.
In a U.S. randomized controlled trial, older men and women receiving a daily 500 micrograms vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) plus multivitamin supplement experienced six per cent less progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC), or hardening of the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, than people receiving only the multivitamin (1).
The researchers said that the benefits were independent of changes in levels of a protein called ‘matrix Gla protein (MGP)’, the most powerful inhibitor of soft tissue calcification presently known. MGP needs vitamin K to be active in that way. Vessel walls depend on MGP to defend themselves against calcification.
The protective role of vitamin K is still uncertain. Larger studies in other populations are needed to confirm these findings, and to assess the risks and benefits of vitamin K supplementation on cardiovascular diseases.