Vitamin K was originally discovered as a blood coagulation factor. But observations regarding intakes in populations and health outcomes lead to a deeper understanding of the differences between vitamins K1 and K2. Studies of warfarin-treated rats and MGP -deficient mice led to understanding the central role of MGP in controlling calcification of arteries. A sensitive biomarker assay was then developed, based on a particular species of matrix γ–carboxylation protein OR matrix GLA protein (MGP). Warfarin therapy in people, especially those suffering from chronic kidney disease, was found to cause the highest level of this biomarker desphospho-uncarboxylated MGP (dp-ucMGP). Intervention studies with vitamin K2 brought down levels of dp-ucMGP and also led to relief of some disease endpoints. The process of varicose vein formation includes a role for vitamin K, implicating a lack of vitamin K in the development of varicoceles, which leads to benign prostate hyperplasia. It is likely that much good will be accomplished using vitamin K2 in interventions. Complex, multifaceted diseases will not be treated by single-nutrient solutions. The best interventions will be those which combine vitamin K2 treatment with a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, combined with a healthy lifestyle.
Part of the book: Vitamin K2