Vitamin K-Rich Diet May Reverse Arterial Stiffness

Rat study suggests that vitamin K can reverse arterial calcification

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of vitamin K can reverse arterial calcification in rats, according to a report published in the April 1 issue of Blood.

Leon J. Schurgers, Ph.D., of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues induced vascular calcification in rats by feeding them a diet containing vitamin K1 and warfarin (W&K). After six weeks, the rats received one of four diets: continued W&K, normal levels of K1, high levels of K1, or high levels of vitamin K2. After an additional six weeks, vascular calcium content, immunohistochemistry and arterial elasticity were measured.

Mean aortic calcium content increased in the first six weeks of W&K from 0.24 to 1.62 μg/mg dry tissue, with concomitant increase in arterial stiffness. After six weeks, calcium content continued to rise in the W&K group and in the group receiving normal levels of vitamin K1. But both high-level vitamin K groups had a 37 percent decrease in calcium levels over the calcification seen at six weeks. Animals in those groups also had decreased arterial apoptosis and arterial stiffness.

"Given that arterial calcifications are predictive of cardiovascular events, regression of arterial calcification may help to reduce the risk of death in patients with chronic kidney disease and coronary artery disease," the authors conclude. "Whether increased vitamin K intake could have such an effect in humans has to be investigated."

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