Prevention of vasculopathy by vitamin K supplementation: Can we turn fiction into fact?

Vincent M. Brandenburg*, Leon J. Schurgers, Nadine Kaesler, Katrin Puesche, Rick H. van Gorp, Georges Leftheriotis, Sebastian Reinartz, Ralf Koos, Thilo Krueger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Web of Science)


With the discovery that vitamin K-dependent matrix Gla-protein (MGP) is a strong and modifiable factor in the prevention of arterial calcification, vitamin K was put forward as novel treatment option in cardiovascular disease. The vasculoprotective properties of vitamin K are in part based on the ability to improve gamma-glutamylcarboxylation of MGP, which is a prerequisite for MGP as a calcification inhibitor. Data from experimental animal models reveal that high intake of vitamin K can prevent and even reverse vascular calcifications. In addition, clinical data demonstrate that prescription of vitamin K antagonists for long-term oral anticoagulant therapy accelerates vascular calcification. However, controlled data from randomized prospective vitamin K interventional trials are lacking, thereby weakening a general recommendation for supplementation. The present article summarizes our current knowledge on the association between vitamin K and cardiovascular health. Additionally, we focus on an outlook on important ongoing prospective vitamin K intervention studies. These studies address the issues whether vitamin K substitution helps modifying relevant cardiovascular surrogates such as vascular calcification and whether non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants provide an alternative to support cardiovascular health benefits. So research about cardiovascular protection by vitamin K is an evolving field in which we expect a boost of novel and relevant evidence shortly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Vascular calcification
  • Vitamin K
  • Matrix-gla protein
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Anticoagulation

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