Vitamin K2 Linked to Reduced Risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease, Study Suggests


A particularly strong association between vitamin K2 and peripheral arterial disease was found in patients with diabetes or hypertension.

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Vitamin K2-but not vitamin K1-is associated with a reduced risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in a new long-term study published in Atherosclerosis.

Researchers found that vitamin K2, or menaquinone, presented an especially strong association with reduced PAD risk in patients with hypertension or diabetes. Meanwhile, vitamin K1, or phylloquinone, was not found to be associated with PAD risk.

NattoPharma (Oslo, Norway), supplier of Mena Q7 vitamin K2 as MK-7, recently shared results of the study, noting that it builds on previous research indicating certain cardiovascular health benefits of vitamin K2 do not also extend to vitamin K1.

“This is important because there is a misconception that daily recommended intake (RDI) of the vitamin K1 is sufficient to protect the arteries from developing arterial diseases,” says Hogne Vik, chief medical officer, NattoPharma. “This is not the case, since vitamin K1 is only documented and recognized to meet our needs for coagulation. It is, however, vitamin K2, the menaquinones, that are responsible for the cardiovascular benefits, and not vitamin K1.”

The prospective cohort study included a sample of 36,629 men and women whom researchers followed up with over a period of 12.1 years (with a standard deviation of 2.1 years). Baseline participant intake of vitamins K1 and K2 was estimated using a validated food-frequency questionnaire, with researchers using a multivariate Cox regression to estimate adjusted hazard ratio for PAD occurrence, which was obtained through linkage to national registries.

Out of the more than 36,000 participants, researchers document 489 incident cases of PAD. They found that vitamin K2 intake was associated with a reduced PAD risk with a hazard ratio of 0.71, 95% confidence interval; 0.53–0.95 for the highest quartile versus the lowest quartile. A stronger association was observed in participants with hypertension or diabetes, although researchers noted that confidence intervals were wide in the diabetes stratum.

Based on the findings, researchers concluded that “a high intake of menaquinones was significantly associated with a reduced risk of PAD, at least in hypertensive participants.” They added that vitamin K2 intake may also be associated with a reduced risk of PAD in diabetes patients, although no statistically significant results were found in this study.

“We are excited and thankful to see additional studies confirming this mechanism and encourage the nutritional community to embrace vitamin K2 for its unique and specific benefits,” NattoPharma’s Vik adds.


Read more:

Vitamin K Deficiency Linked with Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

Study Finds Vitamin K2 MK-7 Efficacy “Essentially Equivalent” in Yogurt and Supplements

“Mixed Results” of Omega-3s for Cardiovascular Health in New Government Report


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Vissers LE et al., “The relationship between vitamin K and peripheral arterial disease,” Atherosclerosis, vol. 252 (July 2016): 15–20

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