Study reveals vitamin that benefits cardiovascular health in post-menopausal women

Published: 31-Aug-2023

Gnosis by Lesaffre has announced the results of a soon-to-be-published post-hoc analysis on on vitamin k2 and how it can protect cardiovascular function for post-menopausal women

Gnosis by Lesaffre has announced there is further substantiation that vitamin K2 protects cardiovascular function for post-menopausal women.

Daily supplementation of vitamin K2, menaquinone-7 (MK-7; as MenaQ7) can improve elastic properties of vessels and promote healthy blood pressure in women with increased arterial stiffness, as shown in a soon-to-be-published post-hoc analysis.

Further, an abstract discussing these results and why they are critical for millions of women was presented on 27 August at the esteemed European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress by lead author and PhD student Femke de Vries.

The poster, entitled “Beneficial effects of one-year menaquinone-7 supplementation on vascular stiffness and blood pressure in post-menopausal women,” is a secondary analysis/post-hoc deep dive of Gnosis by Lesaffre’s one-year clinical study in healthy men and women consuming 180 mcg MenaQ7 daily found beneficial effects on elastic properties of the vascular system in post-menopausal women.

The results confirm that hormonal changes affect the vasculature and that post-menopausal women [exhibit] increased vascular stiffness reflected by functional vascular damage

- Authors of the study

Arterial stiffness is a measure of cardiovascular function in blood pressure, and it appears that improving K2 status, improves these two measures, elevating overall cardiovascular health in menopausal women. Estrogen and progesterone protect cardiovascular function in women, but after menopause when these hormones are dwindling rapidly, women are more prone to hypertension and vascular stiffness, as well as accelerated vascular aging, thereby increasing the risk of developing CVD. 

Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) serves as a cofactor for vitamin K-dependent protein carboxylation. The vitamin K-dependent matrix Gla protein (MGP) is synthesised in the vasculature and has been shown to inhibit vascular calcification and stiffness. 

In the post-hoc analysis of the double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical intervention trial, the authors sought to discern the effects of MK-7 supplementation on vascular stiffness in women who were pre-, peri-, and post-menopausal. The trial included 166 women (age 40-70 with low K2 status) who consumed 180 mcg MK-7 daily or placebo for one year. Pre-, peri-, and post-menopausal women were subdivided according to arterial stiffness. 

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The measurements regional carotid-femoral (cf-PWV) and carotid-radial (cr-PWV) pulse wave velocities, vessel wall characteristics [e.g., intima-media thickness, arterial diameter, and local carotid artery PWV (caPWV)], and arterial blood pressure were taken at baseline and after one year of vitamin K2 supplementation. Post-hoc analyses showed a significant reduction in circulating inactive MGP in plasma levels of MK-7-supplemented pre-, peri-,and post-menopausal women. 

At baseline, vascular parameters (intima-media thickness, carotid artery diameter, and caPWV) were significantly increased in post-menopausal women compared to pre- and peri-menopausal women. MK-7 supplementation significantly attenuated vascular stiffness in post-menopausal women; those post-menopausal women with a high stiffness index showed significantly improved vascular markers (decreased blood pressure at brachialis, decreased blood pressure at carotid artery, increased distensibility coefficient, and increased compliance coefficient) after MK-7 supplementation. 

The authors write: “Our results confirm that hormonal changes affect the vasculature and that post-menopausal women [exhibit] increased vascular stiffness reflected by functional vascular damage. Further, MK-7 supplementation significantly attenuates arterial stiffness in post-menopausal women, in which women with increased stiffness benefit most on blood pressure."

“This abstract strengthens the proof that K2 as MenaQ7 supports healthy cardiovascular function in ageing women and can serve as an inexpensive tool for protecting heart health,” said Professor Leon Schurgers, lead researcher on the post-hoc analysis and chair of the Gnosis Vitamin K2 Scientific Advisory Committee.

We have espoused the importance of Vitamin K2 for cardiovascular health with our substantial body of evidence

- Sophie Legrain-Raspaud, Gnosis Research & Application Director

“Gnosis is thrilled that this review of our one-year study has uncovered an important revelation,” added Sophie Legrain-Raspaud, Gnosis Research & Application Director. “We have espoused the importance of Vitamin K2 for cardiovascular health with our substantial body of evidence, but to have these findings presented at such an esteemed event as the European Society of Cardiology only punctuates the importance of this vital nutrient for the betterment of human health.”

The original one-year study confirmed that MGP is integral in the inhibition of calcification in the cardiovascular arteries, adding to the ground-breaking evidence from the 3-year intervention study that demonstrated that higher K2 intake may reduce arterial stiffening and that this effect becomes more marked in the third year.

The abstract has been published in the European Heart Journal and is available on ESC 365, the cardiology knowledge hub. The post-hoc analysis will be published in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.

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