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Link between arterial stiffening and dementia has been found

3 min read

New research has found that those people with arterial stiffening have an increased risk of dementia - this may lead to more research into vitamin K2 supplementation as a possible treatment.

Arterial stiffness occurs as a consequence of aging and arteriosclerosis

Arterial stiffness occurs as a consequence of aging and arteriosclerosis. Inflammation plays a major role in arteriosclerosis development, and consequently it is a major contributor in large arteries stiffening. Increased arterial stiffness is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the developed world. Cardiovascular disease is also one of the leading killers in the developing world and represents a major global health problem.

The study we reference here, which is out of the University of Pittsburgh, looked at 365 older adults diagnosed with dementia between 1998 and 2013. The study's participants were part of a 15 year longitudinal study called the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study (CHS-CS) which included a total of 924 individuals.

Vitamin K2 supplementation slows arterial stiffening

The researchers of the study concluded that participants with aortic stiffness were more likely to have risk of dementia. The report was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease last year. The reports itself does not suggest vitamin K2 supplementation specifically as a treatment option but does say that further research is needed on interventions to slow arterial stiffening to reduce the risk of dementia.

This ties in with previous scientific research that has found K2 supplementation may slow down the rate at which arterial stiffness develops - this includes one from 2015 that linked vitamin K2 supplementation to improved arterial function in women and another from 2017 linked vitamin K2 to vascular function benefits.

Vitamin K2 as MK-7 is the only compound to date shown to impact arterial calcification through its activation of matrix -GLA protein which is why it is garnering attention from the medical community as a potential therapy.

Other health benefits of Vitamin K

Vitamin K2, particularly menaquinone-7 (MK-7), has been the subject of much research because it stays active in your body longer so you are able to benefit from much lower levels and you have a much better chance of building up a consistent blood level. 

MK7 helps prevent inflammation in your body - NattoPharma is one a the number of companies that have pioneered the bacterial fermentation of vitamin K2, they conducted a study that evaluated the role of MK-7 in inflammation and found that it prevents it by inhibiting pro-inflammatory markers. They stated: 

"The novel finding in our study supplements our three year clinical study showing MK-7's ability to slow down cardiovascular aging and osteoporosis, and it should further serve as the catalyst to create the urgency of daily consumption of MK-7. W know that in western populations, most people do not obtain enough due to modern diet."

"Our food is increasingly deficient in vitamin K2 in particular, and up to 98% of the general healthy population may be vitamin K2 insufficient with long-term detrimental impact on bone and cardiovascular health."

Vitamin K2 works in a synergistic way with other nutrients including calcium and vitamin D. Its biological role is to help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth. It also plays a role in removing calcium from areas where it shouldn't be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.

Vitamin K2 deficiency leaves you vulnerable to a number of chronic diseases, including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Inappropriate calcification, from heel spurs to kidney stones
  • Brain disease
  • Cancer

Vitamin K2 is found naturally in fermented foods such as cheese and natto (a Japanese soybean dish). Or you could opt for a vitamin K supplement.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.