Oslo, Norway, and Edison, NJ—High levels of dephosphorylated uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein (dp-ucMGP) are associated with a history of cardiovascular disease, according to a new Danish population study published inClinical Biochemistry.

A press release on the topic explains that dp-ucMGP in the plasma is a biomarker of functional vitamin K status—vitamin K activates MGP, and therefore a high level of inactive MGP reflects a low level of vitamin K. The study in question was conducted to assess the association between plasma dp-ucMGP, CVD risk factors, and history of CVD in a general population.

The study involved 229 males and 262 females, aged 19-71 years. Plasma dp-ucMGP was measured in all 491 participants. The findings: An increase in dp-ucMGP was associated with obesity, history of cardiovascular disease, and above-median estimated pulse wave velocity, even when adjusted for age, sex, and lifestyle factors. Increased blood pressure corresponded to an increase in dp-ucMGP, even when adjusted for age and sex.
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The researchers concluded: “Plasma dp-ucMGP levels were positively associated with obesity, BP, ePWV, and history of cardiovascular disease. These findings support that dp-ucMGP is a biomarker of cardiovascular risk, and that vitamin K status could play a role in vascular calcification. The strong association with obesity deserves further attention.”

The press release quotes the researchers further as saying: “Different studies have found an association between dietary vitamin K intake and CVDs. Particularly menaquinone (K2) is associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.”

Dr. Hogne Vik, NattoPharma Chief Medical Officer, said in the press release: “It still remains a common misunderstanding that vitamin K, in general, impacts arterial calcification, when in fact it is Vitamin K2 that is available beyond the liver to support bone and cardiovascular health. Our studies with MenaQ7 have shown that K status was more efficiently improved in adults as well as children with supplementation of Vitamin K2 as MK-7. Both of NattoPharma’s cardiovascular intervention trials showed improved vascular health with just 180mcg—our 3-year study cardiovascular study in healthy postmenopausal women showed improved arterial flexibility, and now our 1-year study in men and women showed a significant decrease in dp-ucMGP.”