This text was beforehand printed June 20, 2020, and has been up to date with new data.
Nutrient deficiencies can take a heavy toll in your well being, and this contains growing your threat of extreme outcomes within the case of viral infections like COVID-19. Vitamin Okay, a fat-soluble vitamin most identified for its function in blood clotting and located in meals like spinach, eggs and sure cheeses, is among the many newest to be referred to as out for its potential protecting function in opposition to COVID-19, which can trigger blood clotting degradation of elastic fibers in your lungs.
Each thromboembolism, which happens when a blood clot obstructs a blood vessel, and coagulopathy, which is a situation during which your blood’s skill to type clots is impaired, are prevalent in extreme COVID-19 circumstances and are linked to decreased survival charges from the illness,1 which in any other case tends to trigger gentle or no signs within the majority of these affected.
“Coagulation is an intricate stability between clot selling and dissolving processes during which vitamin Okay performs a well known function,” Dutch researchers wrote in a Preprints examine,2 main them to counsel that vitamin Okay ranges could also be low in folks with extreme COVID-19.
Low Vitamin Okay Linked to Extreme COVID-19 and Poor Outcomes
To check their speculation, researchers studied 123 sufferers admitted to the Canisius Wilhelmina hospital in Nijmegen, a metropolis in The Netherlands, with COVID-19 together with 184 management sufferers. Each vitamin Okay ranges and elastin degradation have been measured, with vitamin Okay assessed by measuring desphospho-uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein (dp-ucMGP), which is inversely associated to vitamin Okay standing.
Elastin degradation was measured by way of desmosine, an amino acid present in tendons and a part of elastin. COVID-19 sufferers with unfavorable outcomes had considerably greater ranges of dp-ucMGP, indicating low vitamin Okay, in comparison with these with much less extreme illness. Dp-ucMGP was additionally considerably elevated in COVID-19 sufferers in comparison with these with out the illness, and dp-ucMGP and desmosine ranges have been considerably related.3 Based on the researchers:4
“Vitamin Okay standing was decreased in sufferers with COVID-19 and associated to poor prognosis. Additionally, low vitamin Okay standing appears to be related to accelerated elastin degradation. An intervention trial is now wanted to evaluate whether or not vitamin Okay administration improves end result in sufferers with COVID-19.”
Research writer Dr. Rob Janssen was in assist of vitamin Okay ranges to spice up vitamin Okay ranges, aside from folks taking anticlotting drugs.
Talking to The Guardian, he famous, “We do have an intervention which doesn’t have any unintended effects, even lower than a placebo. There’s one main exception: folks on anticlotting remedy. It’s fully secure in different folks. My recommendation could be to take these vitamin Okay dietary supplements. Even when it doesn’t assist in opposition to extreme Covid-19, it’s good on your blood vessels, bones and possibly additionally for the lungs.”5 You can too discover vitamin Okay in quite a lot of meals.
Two Sorts of Vitamin Okay and The place to Discover Them
There are two varieties of vitamin Okay: phylloquinone, or vitamin K1, and menaquinones, or vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is derived from inexperienced, leafy greens similar to spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage, and is finest identified for the function it performs in blood clotting. With out sufficient vitamin K1, your blood cannot clot correctly and also you’re vulnerable to bleeding to dying.
Nonetheless, in line with Leon Schurgers, a senior scientist at Maastricht College in The Netherlands who was concerned within the featured examine, and whom I interviewed in 2015, “… the absorption of vitamin K1 from meals is extraordinarily low. Solely 10% of the vitamin Okay, which is present in inexperienced leafy greens, is absorbed in your physique … And there is no variable or modification of the consumption that can considerably enhance the absorption.”
Vitamin K2, then again, is best identified for its function in bone and coronary heart well being, and is present in grass fed animal merchandise similar to meat eggs, liver and dairy, in addition to in fermented meals, together with sauerkraut, sure cheeses and the fermented soy meals natto.
Though the quantity of vitamin K2 in sure meals, similar to cheese, is decrease than the quantity of vitamin K1 discovered leafy, inexperienced greens, Schurgers famous, “all of the vitamin K2 is absorbed by the physique … Vitamin K2 within the meals merchandise is sort of fully absorbed.” Natto is especially well-known for its excessive focus of vitamin K2, particularly the longer-chained vitamin K2 referred to as menaquinone-7 (MK-7).
One examine trying into vitamin Okay bioavailability even discovered that circulating concentrations of vitamin K2 have been about 10 instances greater after the consumption of natto than they have been of vitamin K1 after consuming spinach.6
“I’ve labored with a Japanese scientist in London,” Janssen informed The Guardian, “and she or he mentioned it was outstanding that within the areas in Japan the place they eat lots of natto, there may be not a single individual to die of Covid-19; so that’s one thing to dive into, I’d say.”7
Other than natto, cheese is the meals with the very best menaquinone concentrations, however ranges differ relying on the kind of cheese. Dutch onerous cheeses similar to gouda and edam have comparatively excessive concentrations, as do French cheeses similar to Munster cheese.8 Many elements have an effect on the quantity of vitamin K2 in your meals nonetheless, together with how lengthy it is fermented and whether or not it is made with grass fed dairy or raised on pasture.
For instance, pasteurized dairy and merchandise from manufacturing facility farmed animals aren’t excessive in MK-4, a short-chain type of vitamin K2. Solely grass fed animals (not grain fed) will develop naturally excessive ranges.
Vitamin Okay Could Cut back COVID-19 Comorbidities
A report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19, launched in February 2020, discovered a better crude fatality ratio (CFR) amongst folks with COVID-19 and extra well being circumstances. Whereas those that have been in any other case wholesome had a CFR of 1.4%, these with comorbid circumstances had a lot greater charges, as follows:9
- Heart problems — 13.2%
- Diabetes — 9.2%
- Hypertension — 8.4%
One other examine trying into the impression of co-existing well being circumstances like hypertension, coronary heart illness and diabetes on COVID-19 outcomes discovered they’re linked to “poorer scientific outcomes,” similar to admission to an intensive care unit, a necessity for invasive air flow or dying.10 What this implies is that reducing your threat of underlying circumstances like diabetes, coronary heart illness and hypertension may enhance your outcomes you probably have COVID-19.
Vitamin Okay may play a protecting function right here, because it’s linked to each diabetes and coronary heart well being. Each vitamin K1 and K2 intakes could also be related to a decreased threat of Sort 2 diabetes.11
Vitamin Okay could affect insulin sensitivity by carboxylating osteocalcin, which can perform as a hormone in regulating insulin sensitivity. It may additionally play a task in lowering insulin resistance and threat of Sort 2 diabetes by way of results on calcium metabolism.12 What’s extra, a overview printed within the Journal of Diet and Metabolism famous:13
“Elevated vitamin K1 consumption in a cohort examine … was proven to lower threat of growing diabetes by 51%. A latest overview means that vitamin Okay supplementation could also be used as a novel adjuvant remedy to enhance glycemic management and high quality of life.”
Vitamin Okay Boosts Coronary heart Well being, Vital for COVID-19
As talked about, folks with coronary heart illness have poorer outcomes in the event that they develop COVID-19, and vitamin Okay’s function in coronary heart well being can also be well-noted, notably for vitamin K2. One of many the reason why vitamin K2 is so necessary for coronary heart well being has to do with a fancy biochemistry involving the enzymes matrix gla-protein (MGP, present in your vascular system14), and osteocalcin, present in your bone.
“Gla” stands for glutamic acid, which binds to calcium within the cells of your arterial wall and removes it from the liner of your blood vessels. As soon as eliminated out of your blood vessel lining, vitamin K2 then facilitates the mixing of that calcium into your bone matrix by handing it over to osteocalcin, which in flip helps “cement” the calcium in place inside your bone.
Vitamin K2 prompts these two proteins, so with out it, this switch means of calcium out of your arteries to your bone can’t happen, which raises your threat of arterial calcification. Actually, in a single examine, those that had the very best quantity of vitamin K2 have been 52% much less more likely to expertise extreme calcification of their arteries and 57% much less more likely to die from coronary heart illness over a seven- to 10-year interval.15
Low ranges of vitamin D and vitamin Okay have additionally been linked to hypertension,16 one other situation that will increase your threat of poor outcomes from COVID-19. Whereas many individuals — younger and previous alike — are dealing with Sort 2 diabetes and hypertension, these circumstances might be rotated, and in so doing you may considerably cut back your threat of turning into critically ailing from COVID-19. Guaranteeing you are getting sufficient vitamin Okay is one a part of this equation.
Vitamin Okay Works in Tandem With Vitamin D
Understand that vitamin K2 additionally works in tandem with vitamin D and magnesium. So, it is necessary to do not forget that vitamin K2 must be thought of together with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, as these 4 all have a synergistic relationship that impacts your well being.
Vitamin D can also be noteworthy by way of COVID-19, as an evaluation of medical data revealed a direct correlation between ranges of vitamin D and the severity of sickness in folks contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.17
To enhance your immune perform and decrease your threat of viral infections, you may need to elevate your vitamin D to a degree between 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and 80 ng/mL. In Europe, the measurements you are on the lookout for are 150 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and 200 nmol/L. This, along with addressing your vitamin Okay consumption, is a pure technique that will considerably decrease your threat of extreme sickness from COVID-19.
Are You Getting Sufficient Vitamin Okay?
It may be troublesome to inform when you’re getting sufficient vitamin Okay, as there is no simple solution to display or take a look at for vitamin K2 sufficiency. Vitamin K2 can’t at current be measured immediately, so it is measured by way of an oblique evaluation of undercarboxylated osteocalcin. This take a look at remains to be not commercially accessible, nonetheless.
As a basic rule, you probably have osteoporosis, coronary heart illness or diabetes, you are possible poor in vitamin K2. Additional, it is believed that the overwhelming majority of persons are in truth poor and would profit from extra K2, which you’ll be able to obtain by consuming extra of the next meals:
- Sure fermented meals similar to natto, or greens fermented utilizing a starter tradition of vitamin K2-producing micro organism
- Sure cheeses similar to Brie, Munster and Gouda, that are notably excessive in K2
- Grass fed natural animal merchandise similar to egg yolks, liver, butter and dairy
For those who’re taking statin medication, that are identified to deplete vitamin K2,18 you may be poor. For those who’re involved in supplementation, as a basic guideline, I like to recommend getting round 150 mcg of vitamin K2 per day.
Others advocate barely greater quantities — upward of 180 to 200 mcg. Thankfully, you needn’t fear about overdosing on K2, because it seems to be fully unhazardous. For those who go for a vitamin K2 complement, be sure that it is MK-7. The exception is when you’re on vitamin Okay antagonists, i.e., medication that cut back blood clotting by lowering the motion of vitamin Okay. In that case, it is best to keep away from MK-7 dietary supplements.
Additionally remember that extreme consumption of dietary or supplemental vitamin K1 can overcome the anticoagulant results of blood thinning drugs. Additional, when taking vitamin Okay, accomplish that together with a fats. Since vitamin Okay is fat-soluble, it will not be correctly absorbed in any other case, and you should definitely additionally stability it with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.