Are you concerned about your cholesterol levels? Do you have an increased family risk for atherosclerosis or coronary heart disease? If so, this vitamin may be just what you need. But it's not what you may think.
This vitamin is an essential nutrient. It is necessary for wound healing, normal blood clotting, calcium transport, and healthy bones. But it also stops the formation of the cholesterol atherosclerotic plaques that cause circulatory diseases, strokes, and heart attacks.
You may have figured out by now that the nutrient is vitamin K. To evaluate the effect of vitamin K supplements on cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis, researchers enlisted the help of a group of rabbits that genetically have very high cholesterol levels. When these rabbits are fed a diet high in cholesterol, they rapidly develop atherosclerotic plaques. The researcher wanted to know if giving the rabbits vitamin K2 in addition to a high cholesterol diet would be able to slow down the formation of the plaques. So, for 10 weeks they did just that to half the rabbits. The other half had the same diet, but no vitamin K. Here's what happened.
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The blood levels of cholesterol in the vitamin K2 treated rabbits were lower. And the vitamin was safe. Even an extremely high dose of 100 mg per kg of weight per day for 10 weeks did not cause any side effects. And at the lower dose of 1 mg per kg of weight per day, the researchers found that the vitamin "suppressed the progression of atherosclerotic plaques, intima-thickening and pulmonary atherosclerosis, the increase of ester-cholesterol deposition in the aorta, and both the elevation in plasma factor X level and increase in Hepaplastin test values in the rabbits." In other words, not only was plaque formation itself suppressed, but every substance they tested known to be associated with plaque formation was suppressed as well. But what if you aren't covered with fur and don't live in a hole? Will vitamin K2 work in people as well?
A study published just last year showed that even at the ridiculously low dose of under 1 mg per day, vitamin K2 similarly slowed down the progression of atherosclerosis in a group of patients with chronic kidney disease. Other studies have shown that Vitamin K2 also decreases the calcification of the arteries that is seen in coronary artery disease.
So, if you have coronary artery disease. Or even if you just have a family history, it makes sense to take some vitamin K2 just to be sure. I recommend Advanced Bionutritionals new K2+D3. Take anywhere from one to three capsules a day depending on your condition.
There is one precaution: The blood thinning drug warfarin (Coumadin) works by interfering with vitamin K. So, if you're on this drug, you can't take vitamin K in any form.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Kawashima H, Nakajima Y, et al. Effects of vitamin K2 (menatetrenone) on atherosclerosis and blood coagulation in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1997 Oct;75(2):135-43.
Kurnatowska I, Grzelak P, et al. Effect of vitamin K2 on progression of atherosclerosis and vascular calcification in nondialyzed patients with chronic kidney disease stages 3-5. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2015;125(9):631-40. Epub 2015 Jul 15.