Vitamin K can reduce Cardiac Risk (Study Find) ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Key Highlights

  • Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease.
  • Calcium build-up is one of the main reasons for atherosclerosis.
  • Study finds vitamin K can reduce cardiac risk by preventing calcium build-up in the arteries.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally. [1]

An estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. [1]

And atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease. [2]

But nutrition researchers found good news for us. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

A new study has found that eating a vitamin K rich food can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis by up to 34%. 

Interesting right? ๐Ÿ˜„

Let’s dig deep into it. ๐Ÿง

Medical Research,
Researchers analyzed more than 50,000 people’s data.

Table of Contents

The Study Process

Scientists from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Edith Cowan University (ECU) have analyzed data from more than 50,000 people who participated in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health study over 23 years. [3] [4]

They investigated the effects of vitamin K rich foods on cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis. ๐Ÿง

The research is part of ECU’s Institute of Nutrition Research. It was a collaboration with researchers from the University of Western Australia, Royal Perth Hospital, Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital in Denmark and the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre.

Quick overview of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque is built up in the arteries that causes their narrowing or obstruction. 

It makes it difficult for the blood to flow normally. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Quick Overview of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms. 

Vitamin K1, which comes mainly from green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils.

Vitamin K2, which is found in meat, eggs, and fermented products like cheese.

Vitamin K Rich Foods,
Vitamin K can reduce Cardiac Risk

The Result of this Study

After analyzing the data, researchers found that the more vitamin K rich food individual participants eat, the more they reduced their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases related to atherosclerosis.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. [5]

The study showed that individuals who consume vitamin K1 rich foods were 21% less likely to be hospitalized for cardiovascular disease associated with atherosclerosis.

Where higher intake of vitamin K2 rich foods reduced the risk of hospital admission by 14%. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Researchers Note

ECU researcher and senior author of the study, Dr Nicola Bondonno said, the findings suggested that consuming more vitamin K may be important for protection against atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease.

“Current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate,” Dr Bondonno said.

“However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis,” Dr Bondonno added.

University of Western Australia researcher Dr Jamie Bellinge said that, โ€œCardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in Australia and there’s still a limited understanding of the importance of different vitamins found in food and their effect on heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease”.

“These findings shed light on the potentially important effect that vitamin K has on the killer disease and reinforces the importance of a healthy diet in preventing it,” Dr Bellinge concluded.

Damaged Arteries
Vitamin K deficiency may result vascular calcification.

How Vitamin K can reduce Cardiac Risk?

Vitamin K deficiency results in the synthesis of under-carboxylated, biologically inactive gla proteinsโ€”a risk factor for vascular calcification. [6]

Dr Bondonno said that, “although more research is needed to fully understand the process, we believe that vitamin K works by protecting against the calcium build-up in the major arteries of the body leading to vascular calcification”.

According to the researchers, Vitamin K helps reduce cardiac risk by protecting our arteries from calcium build-up. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

And calcium build-up or calcification in the major arteries is one of the leading causes of cardiac risk.

The Future Research

Dr Jamie Bellinge, the first author on the study, said that the role of vitamin K in cardiovascular health and particularly in vascular calcification is an area of research offering promising hope for the future.

Dr. Bondonno said that while databases on the vitamin K1 content in foods are very comprehensive, there is currently much less data on the vitamin K2 content of foods. Furthermore, there are 10 forms of vitamin K2 found in our diet and each of these may be absorbed and act differently within our bodies.

“The next phase of the research will involve developing and improving databases on the vitamin K2 content of foods. More research into the different dietary sources and effects of different types of vitamin K2 is a priority,” Dr Bondonno said.

Additionally, there is a need for an Australian database on the vitamin K content of Australian foods (e.g., vegemite and kangaroo).

To address this need, Dr Marc Sim, a collaborator on the study, has just finished developing an Australian database on the vitamin K content of foods which will be published soon. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Balanced Diet
Balanced diet is the key to good health.

My Opinion

Now, what does this finding mean to you?

Although more research is needed, you can start eating more vitamin K rich foods, if you are not. ๐Ÿฅ—

Vitamin K rich foods are: kale, spinach, broccoli, beef liver, chicken, green beans, kiwi, soybean oil, avocado, green peas etc.

The Final Word

Cardiovascular diseases are conditions that affect the structures or function of your heart.

One of the main reasons for this is vascular calcification. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

This study showed that vitamin K can reduce cardiac risk related to atherosclerosis.

So, eat a balanced diet, where each nutrient is present in sufficient amounts. ๐Ÿ˜‡

References

This article is written by a certified nutritionist and verified by scientific evidence. โ˜‘๏ธ

We rely on reputed and specialized media sites, academic research institutions, peer-reviewed studies, government agencies, and medical associations to source information. ๐Ÿ“ฐ

We avoid using tertiary references. Know more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. ๐Ÿง

Following are the references of this article. 

  1. World Health Organization (WHO): Cardiovascular diseases. Accessed 19 August 2021.
  2. BMC Medicine: Immunity, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Accessed 19 August 2021.
  3. The University of Western Australia (UWA): New study finds growing evidence of Vitamin K value for heart health. Accessed 19 August 2021.
  4. Edith Cowan University (ECU): Growing evidence of vitamin K benefits for heart health. Accessed 19 August 2021.
  5. The Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA): Vitamin K Intake and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Study. Accessed 19 August 2021.
  6. Current Nutrition Report: The Role of Vitamin K Status in Cardiovascular Health: Evidence from Observational and Clinical Studies. Accessed 19 August 2021.

A. R. Choudhury is a IGNOU certified nutritionist in India with a Bachelorโ€™s and Masterโ€™s degree in Biochemistry. He also has considerable research experience and additional certificates in nutrition. ๐Ÿ‘ย  Abdur started NutritionCrown in 2020 to organize nutrition information under one umbrella. โ˜‚๏ธย  He is passionate about empowering people to make well-informed food choices to support their health. Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals. ๐Ÿ’ช ๐Ÿฅ—