Low vitamin K2 status may be associated with increased mortality from COVID-19 illness, according to a recent preprint that is awaiting peer review.
Following promising initial data published by Rob Janssen, MD and researcher at Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), that showed a correlation between serum vitamin K2 status and the severity of COVID-19 illness, a new team of researchers is investigating this hypothesis further. The team from Bispebjerg Hospital (Denmark), led by Professor Allan Linneberg, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Clinical Research and Prevention is investigating whether low vitamin K status (measured as dephosphorylated-undercarboxylated matrix Gla protein – dp-ucMGP) may predict mortality in COVID-19 patients.
The preliminary results, published as a preprint1, showed that among 138 COVID-19 patients and 140 control patients, those with COVID-19 has higher levels of dp-ucMGP compared to control. Of the hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 43 died within 90 days of admission, and mortality was significantly associated with high age, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and increased levels of dp-ucMGP. A Kaplan-Meier plot of cumulated risk of death stratified by dp-ucMGP levels was created and found that mortality among COVID-19 patients appears to be strongly dependent on vitamin K2 status.
“In a state of severe vitamin K deficiency, the intrahepatic vitamin K-dependent activation of prothrombotic proteins is prioritized on the expense of peripheral activation of vitamin K-dependent proteins, such as the antithrombotic protein S, and calcification-inhibitory MGP. In addition, this may increase calcification and subsequent degradation of elastic fibres in lung tissue, leading to more severe lung damage in COVID-19 patients,” explained Linneberg, in a press release. “Our study shows that low vitamin K status predicts mortality in patients with COVID-19. Randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials are now needed to document potential beneficial effects of vitamin K2 supplementation on the course of COVID-19.”
As a preprint, the study has yet to be peer reviewed, and while further study is required to determine the efficacy of vitamin K2 to reduce the risk of COVID-19 mortality, supplementation represents an inexpensive and simple means for potentially protecting oneself.