In a new study from Edith Cowan University, researchers found that people who eat a diet rich in vitamin K have up to a 34% lower risk of diseases in the heart or blood vessels.
These findings shed light on the potentially important effect that vitamin K has on the killer disease and reinforces the importance of a healthy diet in preventing it.
There are two types of vitamin K found in foods we eat: vitamin K1 comes primarily from green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils while vitamin K2 is found in meat, eggs and fermented foods such as cheese.
In the study, the team examined data from more than 50,000 people taking part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health study over a 23-year period.
They found that people with the highest intakes of vitamin K1 were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalized with heart disease related to atherosclerosis. For vitamin K2, the risk of being hospitalized was 14% lower.
This lower risk was seen for all types of heart disease related to atherosclerosis, particularly for peripheral artery disease at 34%.
ECU researcher and senior author on the study said the findings suggest that consuming more vitamin K may be important for protection against atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease.
The team says current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate.
However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
They believe that vitamin K works by protecting against the calcium build-up in the major arteries of the body leading to vascular calcification.
The role of vitamin K in cardiovascular health and particularly in vascular calcification is an area of research offering promising hope for the future.
If you care about nutrition and heart health, please read studies about this popular vitamin supplement could hide heart attacks at high doses and findings of popular high blood pressure drug linked to heart failure.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about this type of drug may do double duty on heart disease and cancer and results showing that for people with high blood pressure, this method may cut heart attack, stroke risk by 50%.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One author of the study is Dr Nicola Bondonno.
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