Scientists from the University of Bergen found that one type of vitamin K (vitamin K2) may help reduce heart disease risk.
They showed that vitamin K2 intake is linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Coronary heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
About 18.2 million American adults have coronary artery disease, making it the most common type of heart disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Coronary artery disease is often caused by cholesterol, a waxy substance that builds up inside the lining of the coronary arteries forming plaque.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms. The main type is called phylloquinone or vitamin K1, found in green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, and spinach.
The other type, menaquinones or vitamin K2, are found in some animal foods and fermented foods.
Vitamin K helps to make various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones.
The role of vitamin K in the regulation of vascular calcification has been confirmed by many studies.
Vascular calcifications are mineral deposits on the walls of your arteries and veins.
These mineral deposits sometimes stick to fatty deposits, or plaques, that are already built up on the walls of a blood vessel. Vascular calcifications are common but cab be serious.
However, the association of dietary vitamins K1 and K2 with risk of coronary heart disease is still unclear.
In the current study, researchers followed nearly 3000 adults aged 46-49 years in the community-based Hordaland Health Study from 1997 – 1999 through 2009 to examine associations between intake of vitamin K and coronary heart disease.
These people’s diet was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire.
The team obtained unformation on coronary heart disease events from the nationwide Cardiovascular Disease in Norway (CVDNOR) Project.
They found during a follow-up time of 11 years, there were 112 cases of coronary heart disease.
There was no association between intake of vitamin K1 and coronary heart disease, while there was a lower risk of coronary heart disease associated with higher intake of vitamin K2.
Further analysis confirmed that vitamin K2 intake was linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Based on the findings, the team concluded that a higher intake of vitamin K2 was associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease, but there was no association between intake of vitamin K1 and coronary heart disease.
Vitamin K2 can be found in Natto (a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans), cheese, beef liver, chicken, butter, egg yolk and more.
The research is published in BMJ Open and was conducted by Teresa R Haugsgjerd et al.
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