Study shows relationship between vitamin K deficiency and arterial stiffness

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The study shows that vitamin K deficiency is associated with greater arterial stiffness, supporting supplementation with vitamin K. 

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association examined how inactive desphospho‐uncarboxylated Matrix Gla protein (dp‐ucMGP) impacted cardiovascular risk, specifically the calcification of arteries. Matrix Gla protein is an inhibitor of arterial calcification that requires vitamin K-dependent activation, therefore researchers hypothesized that low vitamin K status defined by high levels of dp‐ucMGP would mean greater arterial stiffness.

In the study, 835 subjects were evaluated for plasma dp‐ucMGP, and arterial stiffness with measurements of central pulse pressure and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV). Results showed that all hemodynamic indexes increased across tertiles of dp‐ucMGP distribution, meaning that there was a decreasing trend of PWV at low dp‐ucMGP levels and an increasing trend at high dp‐ucMGP levels. Of the study’s clinical implications, the researchers explain that the study demonstrates that high levels of dp‐ucMGP are a proxy for vitamin K deficiency, and that levels ranging from 1.4 to 4.6 μg/L are likely optimal in terms of risk of mortality and macrovascular cardiovascular complications.


  1. Wei F et al. “Central hemodynamics in relation to circulating desphospho-uncarboxylated matrix gla protein: a population study.” The Journal of the American Heart Association, vol. 8 (2019)