Vitamin K2 Could Help Prevent Atherosclerosis

| February 10, 2016

Last week, I told you about a recent review, published in the journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, which has shown that patients taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are more likely to suffer from hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Talk about defeating the purpose… Here’s a drug, prescribed to millions of people across the world that is supposed to prevent heart disease but instead it increases the risk of developing this killer disease.

Atherosclerosis is a serious condition where arteries become clogged up by fatty substances, known as plaques. These fatty deposits cause arteries to narrow and harden over time, which eventually restricts blood flow and can damage organs and stop them functioning properly.

According to Dr. Frank Shallenberger, the founder and director of the Nevada Centre for Complementary Medicine, there is one vitamin that has the potential to slow down the process of arterial calcification: Vitamin K2.

Dr. Shallenberger explains that one of the ways our bodies prevent calcification is through the work of matrix Gla protein (MGP). MGP depends on vitamin K to work properly. So if you don’t get sufficient vitamin K, you can set off a chain reaction that leads to calcification and hardening of the arteries and eventual heart disease.

In fact, a substantial volume of studies have found that insufficient vitamin K2 accelerates arterial calcification and that restoring vitamin K2 levels in the body can reverse arterial calcification.

One word of caution: Studies have found that patients who take the blood thinning drug Warfarin (Coumadin®) develop arterial calcification more rapidly than those who don’t take the drug. That’s because this anticoagulant drug inhibits normal vitamin K function in the body — in effect causing vitamin K deficiency.

The real kicker for warfarin patients is that eating vegetables high in vitamin K and supplementing with vitamin K2 supplements will counteract the effect of the drug. But by having a vitamin K deficiency, it increases the likelihood of coronary artery calcification — it’s a frightening catch 22 situation.

So, where does this leave you if you are taking statin drugs and/or warfarin?

The best advice is to speak to your doctor to find out if you really need to take these drugs and to work closely with him or her before incorporating vitamin K2 as part of your supplement regimen.

Here's to keeping your heart strong and healthy

Francois Lubbe
Editor
for The Cholesterol Truth



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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Sources:

Gage BF, Birman-Deych E, Radford MJ, Nilasena DS, Binder EF. Risk of osteoporotic fracture in elderly patients taking warfarin: results from the National Registry of Atrial Fibrillation 2. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jan 23;166(2):241-6

Schurgers LJ, Aebert H, Vermeer C, Bultmann B, Janzen J. Oral anticoagulant treatment: friend or foe in cardiovascular disease? Blood. 2004 Nov 15;104(10):3231-2

Beulens JW, Bots ML, Atsma F, et al. High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Atherosclerosis. 2008 Jul 19

Schurgers LJ , Spronk HM , Soute BA, Schiffers PM, DeMey JG, Vermeer C . Regression of warfarin-induced medial elastocalcinosis by high intake of vitamin K in rats. Blood. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):2823-31

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