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Atherosclerosis. 2015 May;240(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.02.040. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Prevention of vasculopathy by vitamin K supplementation: can we turn fiction into fact?

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Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Germany. Electronic address:
Department of Biochemistry, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Department of Nephrology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Germany.
Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Germany.
Department of Physiology and Vascular Investigation, Medical School and University Hospital of Angers, Angers, France.
Department of Radiology, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Germany.


With the discovery that vitamin K-dependent matrix Gla-protein (MGP) is a strong and modifiable factor in the prevention of arterial calcification, vitamin K was put forward as novel treatment option in cardiovascular disease. The vasculoprotective properties of vitamin K are in part based on the ability to improve gamma-glutamylcarboxylation of MGP, which is a prerequisite for MGP as a calcification inhibitor. Data from experimental animal models reveal that high intake of vitamin K can prevent and even reverse vascular calcifications. In addition, clinical data demonstrate that prescription of vitamin K antagonists for long-term oral anticoagulant therapy accelerates vascular calcification. However, controlled data from randomized prospective vitamin K interventional trials are lacking, thereby weakening a general recommendation for supplementation. The present article summarizes our current knowledge on the association between vitamin K and cardiovascular health. Additionally, we focus on an outlook on important ongoing prospective vitamin K intervention studies. These studies address the issues whether vitamin K substitution helps modifying relevant cardiovascular surrogates such as vascular calcification and whether non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants provide an alternative to support cardiovascular health benefits. So research about cardiovascular protection by vitamin K is an evolving field in which we expect a boost of novel and relevant evidence shortly.


Anticoagulation; Arteriosclerosis; Matrix-gla protein; Vascular calcification; Vitamin K

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