Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women: double-blind, randomised clinical trial (Knapen MHJ, et al.)

In recent years, there has been a strong focus on the role of arterial stiffness in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Observational data suggest a link between menaquinone (MK, vitamin K2) intake and cardiovascular (CV) health. However, MK intervention trials with vascular endpoints had been lacking.

To that end, researchers at the R&D Group VitaK of the Maastricht University Holding in the Netherlands monitored 244 healthy post-menopausal women for three years using pulse wave velocity and ultrasound techniques. The participants, aged 55-65 years, were randomly assigned to take 180 mcg of vitamin K2 as MK-7 (as MenaQ7) daily for three years, or placebo capsules.

After three years of treatment, the Stiffness Index ß in the MK-7 group had decreased significantly after compared to the slight increase in the placebo group (-0.67 ± 2.78 vs +0.15 ± 2.51, respectively, p=0.018). Results confirmed that vitamin K2 as MK-7 not only inhibited age-related stiffening of the artery walls, but also made a statistically significant improvement of vascular elasticity.

“This is the first study showing that long-term use of vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 beneficially affects cardiovascular health,” says Vermeer. “Previous population-based studies have shown an association between vitamin K2 intake and cardiovascular risk, but this is the first intervention trial focused on Vitamin K2 supplementation with cardiovascular endpoints.

“Our data demonstrated that a nutritional dose of vitamin K2 in fact improves cardiovascular outcomes,” Vermeer continues.

Katarzyna Maresz, PhD, president of the International Science and Health Foundation, expressed that this study, published online ahead of print in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, is a game-changer when it comes to evidence supporting vitamin K2’s benefits, particularly in the field of cardiovascular health.

“This is the first published study that shows that a ‘nutritional’ dose of vitamin K can actually improve cardiovascular properties, which correlates with improved status of vitamin K (i.e., a decreased level of dpucMGP) in the body.”

Dr. Maresz explains that the previous studies (ref Braam 2004; Shea 2009) showed that K1 can slow the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC), or that the elastic properties of arteries remained unchanged. “The results of the Knapen et al. study are consistent with the Rotterdam studies, which showed that dietary vitamin K2 (long-chain) is more beneficial for prevention of heart disease than vitamin K1,” she says. “This is the first study that shows that MK-7 supplements improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women, especially in women having a high arterial stiffness.”

Reference: Knapen MHJ, Braam LAJL, Drummen NE, Bekers O, Hoeks APG, Vermeer C. Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women: double-blind randomised clinical trial. Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2015 May: 0340-6245, Epub 2015 Feb 19.

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