By TAP Integrative

Vitamin D and vitamin K interact to influence calcium deposition in the bone as well as in the soft tissue and vasculature. The γ-carboxylase system is central to the mechanism that explains the effects of vitamin D and vitamin K on vascular health. Vitamin D stimulates the γ-carboxylase cycle, vitamin K acts as a cofactor in the γ-carboxylase cycle, and the end result is to activate osteocalcin and MGP (matrix Gla protein). Osteocalcin and MGP then act to prevent calcium deposition in soft tissues and in the vasculature.  Under-carboxylated MGP, measured as a high dp-ucMGP concentration, is a marker of low vitamin K status.

To evaluate the combined effect of low vitamin D and low vitamin K status on blood pressure and incident hypertension, Ballegooijen and colleagues conducted a prospective study that was published in Hypertension (2017).

Data for the study came from a subcohort of 402 adults, aged 55 to 65 years, participating in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Baseline blood samples were analyzed for 25(OH)D concentrations and dp-ucMGP concentrations. Of the 402 participants, 19% had combined low vitamin D (25(OH)D < 50nmol/L) and low vitamin K (dp-ucMGP ≥ 323pmol/L) status. Subjects in the low vitamin D and K group had significantly higher systolic blood pressure (mean difference between groups = 4.8mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (mean difference between groups = 3.1mmHg) than the reference group at baseline. Over a median follow-up of 6.4 years, 62% of all subjects developed hypertension. Although a trend was observed between incident hypertension and combined low vitamin D and K status, the association did not reach statistical significance.

The authors of this study conclude that the combination of low vitamin D status and low vitamin K status is associated with increased blood pressure and a trend toward a greater risk for hypertension.


van Ballegooijen AJ, Cepelis A, Visser M, Brouwer IA, van Schoor NM, Beulens JW. Joint Association of Low Vitamin D and Vitamin K Status With Blood Pressure and Hypertension. Hypertension. 2017

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