Vitamin K May Help Clear Arteries

MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Animals given high levels of vitamin K showed a 37 percent reduction in calcium buildup in their arteries, a new study finds.

Arterial calcification is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, researchers noted.

The Dutch study, by researchers at Maastricht University, is the first in animals to show that arterial calcification and resulting decreased arterial elasticity can be reversed by consuming high levels of vitamin K. The findings support the results of a Rotterdam population-based study published in 2004.

This research into the benefits of high vitamin K intake may prove especially important for people taking blood thinning medications, such as warfarin, which are known to cause rapid calcification in the arteries. Many patients taking blood thinners aren't aware of this risk, the researchers said.

Vitamin K is found in many kinds of foods, including soybean, olive and canola oils, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin K is also available in supplements.

The study was funded by Maastricht University and is published in the April 1 issue of the journal Blood.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: GBA Public Relations, news release, April 1, 2007

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