Some patients may reverse hardening of the arteries with vitamin K

K does a heart good.

Usually when I write about vitamin K it involves a study that shows how an adequate intake of the vitamin can help prevent fractures. But K is also a key nutrient for heart health.

In a new study from Tufts University, nearly 400 subjects with hardening of the arteries (also known as coronary artery calcification – CAC) were divided into two groups to receive either a daily multivitamin or a daily supplement of vitamin K1 plus a multivitamin for three years. Subjects in the K1-plus-multivitamin group showed a six percent retardation of their CAC progression compared to the multivitamin group.

These results might help explain the results of another study I told you about in the e-Alert “The Way of K” (9/12/06). In that research, a Harvard School of Public Health team found that subjects with the highest K intake (about 312 mcg per day) reduced their risk of fatal heart disease by nearly 20 percent.

Almost all of our dietary intake of vitamin K comes in the form of K1, which is mostly found in dark, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, olive oil, whole wheat, butter, and green tea. Vitamin K1 is converted into K2 in the intestine, but we get some amount of K2 directly from meat, liver, egg yolk, and fermented products such as yogurt and cheese.

Before supplementing with vitamin K, talk to your doctor about this important vitamin and its different forms. Also note that vitamin K may interfere with the efficacy of coumadin – a blood thinner.

“Study Strengthens Vitamin K1’s Heart Benefits” Stephen Daniells, NutraIngredients-USA, 5/26/09, nutraingredients-