Oslo, Norway—A new study supported by Kappa Bioscience has confirmed that vitamin K status is lower in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, compared to a healthy population control group. The research also showed low vitamin K status to be predictive of higher mortality.

The research was sparked by initial promising data published inClinical Infectious Diseases,according to a press release. Following that publication, a team from the Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark, led by Professor Allan Linneberg, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, contacted Kappa Bioscience to explore possibilities for a collaboration, leading to unrestricted grants for vitamin K-related research.

Professor Linneberg and his team repeated previously performed research to investigate the hypothesis that vitamin K status could be a common characteristic of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. For this study,published in Nutrients,they analyzed vitamin K2 status in 138 COVID-19 patients, and compared it to a control group of 138 people from the general population, matched for similar age distribution. The COVID-19 patients had significantly lower vitamin K2 status than the control group.

Furthermore, 43 of the hospitalized patients died within 90 days of admission; comparing them with the patients who survived, low vitamin K2 status was associated with a higher mortality risk. “Although this association was partly explained by increasing co-morbidity with decreasing vitamin K status, these findings suggest that vitamin K could play a role in the disease mechanisms in COVID-19,” the authors wrote.

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Professor Linneberg suggested in the press release the hypothesis that, in times of vitamin K deficiency, certain proteins don’t get activated—leading to calcification and then degradation of elastic fibers in lung tissue, leading to more severe lung damage in COVID-19 patients.

Professor Linneberg added that randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are now needed to document potential beneficial effects of vitamin K2 supplementation on the course of COVID-19.