K2: a Potential Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis Patients? (Lasemi et al.)
Although vitamin K participation in the brain pathology has not been fully explained, it is well known that oxidative stress has a critical role in neurodegenerative diseases. Further, Vitamin K2 was found to have beneficial effects on the nervous system – it seems to protect neurons and oligodendrocytes from oxidative injury and, in drosophila, it was shown to protect against mitochondrial damage, a pathology associated with Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, vitamin K2 can reduce inflammation and the consequences of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Because of the potential role of Vitamin K2 in MS and the possibility that it may be associated with its clinical features, Austrian researchers decided to assess Vitamin K2 serum levels in MS patients in comparison to healthy controls and correlate these levels with clinical appearance, medication, and disability status in a new paper published in Wiener klinische Wochenschrift (The Central European Journal of Medicine).
A cross-sectional study was performed in the area of Tehran, Iran. Overall, 45 MS patients (31 females and 39 of the relapsing-remitting type) and 29 healthy controls (19 females) were included in the analysis.
The vitamin K2 serum levels were more than three-fold higher in healthy controls as compared to MS patients (p< 0.001): healthy controls had a median level of 866ng/ml compared to a median level of 196ng/ml in MS cases.
Female patients had significantly lower Vitamin K2 levels than males and a decrease with age by approximately 10% per decade was found. The Vitamin K2 levels were lower with increasing numbers of attacks per year and were higher in patients with optic nerve lesions.
The researchers concluded that the substantially lower levels of Vitamin K2 in MS patients could be due to depletion, lower production in the gut, diminished absorption or, less likely, reduced intake of precursor vitamin K1. The role of Vitamin K2 in MS development and progress deserves further study.
While this deserves further study, Dr. Katarzyna Maresz, president of the International Science and Health Foundation, is excited about the potential K2 can offer MS patients.
“MS can be a debilitating disease, but this research offers promise to those sufferers,” she says. ”Supplementation with Vitamin K2 very well might be beneficial for MS patient due do its role as antidemyelinating and anti-inflammatory agent.”
Lasemi R et al. “Vitamin K2 in multiple sclerosis patients.” Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2018 Mar 2. doi: 10.1007/s00508-018-1328-x. [Epub ahead of print]