The Association of Low Vitamin K Status with Mortality in a Cohort of 138 Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19 (Linneberg A et al.)

There has been a hypothesis recently that vitamin K2 may play a role in countering the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, since low vitamin K2 status was associated with increased fatality risk in patients diagnosed with this disease. Results of a cohort study that aimed to test this hypothesis in hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared to controls have been published in Nutrients.1

The authors conducted their investigation by measuring plasma dephosphorylated-uncarboxylated Matrix Gla Protein (dp-ucMGP), which reflects the functional vitamin K status in peripheral tissue, in a cohort of 138 COVID-19 patients and 138 population controls. The outcome of this study showed that levels of dp-ucMGP differed significantly between patients who survived (mean 877; 95% CI: 778; 995) and those who died (mean 1445; 95% CI: 1148; 1820). Moreover, levels of dp-ucMGP (pmol/L) were noticeably higher in patients (mean 1022; 95% CI: 912; 1151) compared to controls (mean 509; 95% CI: 485; 540).

After completing the analysis, the researchers confirmed that deficiency of vitamin K predicts higher mortality among patients with COVID-19. “Supplementation with vitamin K represents an inexpensive and simple-to-use add-on to other treatments, and it would therefore be interesting to explore whether vitamin K supplementation in addition to other treatment can improve the outcome of COVID-19,” they concluded.

“Results of this study imply that insufficient vitamin K-dependent MGP activation may lead to higher elastic fibre degradation rates and a more severe pulmonary damage,” says Dr. Katarzyna Maresz, president of the International Science and Health Foundation.

Currently three clinical trials aiming to investigate effects of vitamin K2 in COVID-19 infection are underway. Two of them included vitamin D3 in the process:

  • The Dutch double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial (KOVIT) is conducted in Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital uses vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-7 (MK-7). For two weeks or until discharge, whichever occurs earlier, patients with COVID-19 will receive either three tablets of MK-7 each containing 333mcg or three tablets of placebo per day.2
  • Participants of a Canadian trial will receive the following supplements for a period of 21 days: vitamin D3 (50,000 IU cholecalciferol on day 1 of the intervention period), a combination of vitamin C and zinc (6 g ascorbic acid and 75 mg zinc acetate per day), or a combination of vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 (240mcg MK-7 and 1,000 units cholecalciferol per day).3
  • An Indian trial will study the safety and efficacy of vitamin D3 (60,000 I U cholecalciferol/weekly for 5 weeks), vitamin K2-MK-7 (100 mcg/day for 5 weeks) and magnesium (magnesium glycinate 250 mg/day for 5 weeks) in prevention of COVID-19 infection in health care professionals.4

“The results of these trials shall bring answers whether vitamins K2 and D3 can improve COVID-19 outcome and be a strategy for prophylaxis, too,” Dr. Maresz explains.

References:

  1. Linneberg A, Kampmann FB, Israelsen SB, Andersen LR, Jørgensen HL, Sandholt H, Jørgensen NR, Thysen SM, Benfield T. The Association of Low Vitamin K Status with Mortality in a Cohort of 138 Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19. 2021 Jun 9;13(6):1985. doi: 10.3390/nu13061985.
  2. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04770740?term=vitamin+k2&cond=COVID&draw=2&rank=1
  3. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04780061?term=vitamin+k2&cond=COVID&draw=2&rank=2
  4. http://www.ctri.nic.in/Clinicaltrials/pmaindet2.php?trialid=45075

 

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