Arterial Calcification and Vitamin K2
Unfortunately, there has been a recent misunderstanding because of a study that showed that those supplementing with 1000 mg/day of calcium had an increase in cardiovascular deaths.
That in conjunction with doctors now testing for arterial calcification, has led to some confusion that calcium supplementation is bad for you.
“What was not explained is the body’s complex relationship with calcium and how it is required for many important functions, such as providing structure and hardness to bones and teeth, allowing muscles to contract and nerves to send signals, making blood vessels expand and contract, helping blood to clot, and supporting protein function and hormone regulation.7 But most important is that the body does not produce calcium on its own, making supplementation necessary.
Further, these startling studies did not take into account vitamin K2’s relationship with calcium, and how adequate intakes ensure that calcium is directed to where it needs to be (the bones), and inhibits it from being deposited in the arteries and blood vessels, where it can lead to increased cardiovascular risks.
Observing K2’s heart benefits
Adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates MGP, which inhibits calcium from depositing in the vessel walls. Hence, calcium is available for other multiple roles in the body, leaving the arteries healthy and flexible.8
However, vitamin K deficiency results in inadequate activation of MGP, which greatly impairs the calcium removal process and increases the risk of blood vessel calcification.9 As this process occurs in the vessel wall, it leads to the wall thickening via the formation of calcified plaques (typical atherosclerosis progression), which is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events.
Vitamin K2 is essential for bone and cardiovascular health: without vitamin K2, calcium is not properly directed to bones, allowing it to build up in blood vessel walls and soft tissues
The population-based Rotterdam study evaluated 4807 healthy men and women aged 55 and older, and the relationship between dietary intake of vitamin K and aortic calcification, heart disease and all-cause mortality.10 The study revealed that a high dietary intake of vitamin K2 (at least 32µg per day), reduced arterial calcification by 50%, cardiovascular risk by 50% and all-cause mortality by 25%.
These findings were supported by another population-based study with 16,000 healthy women (aged 49–70) from the Prospect-EPIC cohort population.11 After 8 years, the data showed that a high intake of natural vitamin K2, helps to protect against cardiovascular events; for every 10µg of vitamin K2 (in the forms of MK-7, MK-8 and MK-9) consumed, the risk of coronary heart disease was reduced by 9%.”
This 3 year study on postmenopausal women, found that taking 180mcg of MK-7 version of Vitamin K2 daily reduced stiffness in the arteries and improved elasticity in the blood vessels.
Lead researcher Cees Vermeer and his colleagues studied 244 postmenopausal women. Half were given Mk-7 and the other half were given a placebo. They used ultrasound technology to evaluate thickness and stiffness. Women who had the highest stiffness measures in the beginning were seen to have improved carotid artery elasticity as the study progressed.
As we age, our arteries begin to stiffen due to calcification. Vitamin K2 helps protect against soft tissue calcification. This study is one of the first to show a reversal of arterial stiffness using this long acting form of Vitamin K2.
* Thromb Haemost. 2015 May:113(5):1135-44
Super K – Protection Against Arterial Calcification, Bone Loss, Cancer, and Aging!
An abundance of human clinical data reveals that vitamin K found in Super K plays a critical role in maintaining healthy bone density by facilitating the transport of calcium from the bloodstream into the bone.6-10
Vitamin K is also required by calcium-regulating proteins in the arteries. Matrix Gla-protein (MGP) is a vitamin K-dependent protein, and it must be carboxylated to function properly. Poor vitamin K status leads to inactive uncarboxylated MGP (ucMGP), which accumulates at sites of arterial calcification.11,12
Since MGP is a potent local inhibitor of arterial calcification, MGP is important in relation to the health of the entire cardiovascular system. Without adequate vitamin K, calcium in the blood can bind to the arterial wall resulting in calcification.13,14 As people age, even a subclinical vitamin K deficiency can pose risks to the vascular system. Poor vitamin K status also results in increased circulating levels of undercarboxylated osteocalcin that is shown to be associated with increased bone loss in postmenopausal women.15,16
Humans get most of their vitamin K from green vegetables in the form of vitamin K1. The problem is that K1 is tightly bound to plant fiber and only a small fraction absorbs into the bloodstream.17-19
Human studies show that vitamin K2 is up to ten times more bioavailable than K1. Vitamin K2 remains biologically active in the body far longer than K1. For instance, K1 is rapidly cleared by the liver within eight hours, whereas measurable levels of K2 (MK-7) have been detected 72 hours after ingestion.10
The Rotterdam Heart Study, a large-scale, well-controlled clinical trial that tracked 4,800 participants for seven years, revealed that participants who ingested the greatest quantities of vitamin K2 in their diet experienced a better cardiovascular condition than people who ingested the least.21
High intakes of vitamin K2 also corresponded to less calcium deposition in the aorta, whereas participants who ingested less K2 were more likely to show moderate or severe calcification. Animal studies suggest vitamin K intake not only blocks the progress of further calcium accumulation, but also induces 37% regression of preformed arterial calcification.22,23
Ideal Forms of Vitamin K2 Found in Super K
In recent years, two forms of vitamin K2 have been extensively researched and the findings reveal vastly improved effects compared to K1.
The MK-4 form of vitamin K2 is the most rapidly absorbed and is now routinely used in Japan to maintain healthy bone density. MK-4, however, only remains active in the blood for a few hours.
The MK-7 form of K2, on the other hand, remains bioavailable to the human body over a sustained 24-hour period24 and to higher levels (seven- to eightfold) during prolonged intake.10 Both MK-4 and MK-7 have demonstrated remarkable health benefits when studied in human populations.
The Most Complete Vitamin K Formula – Super K
Vitamin K1 is the form found in plants and vegetables and should be part of most people’s daily supplement regimen. Even more important is inclusion of the MK-4 and MK-7 forms of vitamin K2.
Based on data substantiating the long-acting effects of MK-7, it is now possible to ingest fewer total micrograms of vitamin K but achieve far higher sustained blood levels of this critical nutrient.
The latest Super K with Advanced K2 Complex formula provides vitamin K1 and the MK-4 and MK-7 forms of vitamin K2 in just one daily softgel.
The virtue of this formula is that it provides the precise amount of the long-acting MK-7 form of vitamin K2 that recent human studies have shown provides optimal K2 levels over a 24-hour period. The MK-4 is included to provide the rapid increase in vitamin K blood levels that may account for its beneficial effects in certain studies.
Super K Supplement Facts
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|Super K Dosage and Use|
Take one softgel daily with a meal, or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner.
Super K Cautions
If you are taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medications, such as couamdin or warfarin or have a bleeding disorder, consult with your healthcare provider before taking Super K.
Super K Warnings
7. S.L. Edwards, ‘Maintaining Calcium Balance: Physiology and Implications,’ Nursing Times 101, 58–61 (2005).
8. L.J. Schurgers, et al., ‘Regression of Warfarin-Induced Medial Elastocalcinosis by High Intake of Vitamin K in Rats,’ Blood 109, 2823–2831 (2007).
9. E.C. Cranenburg, et al., ‘The Circulating Inactive Form of Matrix Gla Protein (ucMGP) as a Biomarker for Cardiovascular Calcification,’ J. Vasc. Res. 45, 427–436 (2008).