Scientists from Odense University Hospital found that the progressive narrowing of the aortic heart valve in a group of older men could not be slowed during a recent clinical trial using vitamin K2 supplements.
The finding dampens hopes of finding medical treatment for this common but serious condition.
The research is published in Circulation and was conducted by Dr. Axel Diederichsen et al.
The research built upon earlier studies suggesting vitamin K2 supplements could slow the progression of aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.
Aortic stenosis is the most common heart valve disease in high-income countries, according to the study, which estimates it affects about 2% to 5% of people older than 65.
Symptoms may include chest pain, a fluttering heartbeat, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, fatigue, swollen ankles or feet, and difficulty sleeping.
In the study, 365 men with aortic stenosis from four Danish hospitals were assigned to receive a placebo or 720 micrograms of vitamin K2 and 25 micrograms of vitamin D for two years.
All were 65 to 74 years old with aortic valve calcification scores of 300 AU or higher, a measure obtained with CT scans showing calcification had begun.
The team found vitamin K2 and vitamin D supplements did not slow the progression of calcium deposits on the aortic valves of older men once the process had begun.
They found no big differences in valve calcification progression between the two groups, leading them to conclude the supplements were ineffective in slowing disease progression.
However, there was some suggestion the group taking them experienced slower progression of calcification in their coronary arteries.
The team says this needs to be explored in future studies. Because the study only included men, the findings do not apply to women.
Research has suggested eating a diet high in vitamin K can benefit heart health. Vitamin K comes in two forms and is primarily found in leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach.
The team says most foods contain insufficient levels of vitamin K2 to make an impact on heart health – with one exception. Natto, a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans, is high in vitamin K2.
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If you care about supplements please read studies that vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, and vitamin K could lower your heart disease risk by a third.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about drug combo that could halve the risk of heart attack, stroke, and results showing this antioxidant drug may protect against stroke and heart attack.
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