Underrated Vitamin Unclogs Arteries?!
Arterial stiffness is just what it sounds like. It's a condition that occurs when your arteries become stiff and inflexible, which drives up your blood pressure and makes your heart work overtime. As you might imagine, this can increase the risk of heart attack, strokes, dementia, and ultimately... death.
You've probably been told to take statins and ACE inhibitors for a healthy heart and blood vessels... but it turns out there's an under-rated vitamin that can keep your arteries unclogged -- leaving them flexible and clear. But you'll never hear about it from your doctor.
Vitamin K is a critical component when it comes to preventing arterial stiffness. Now, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has uncovered why. You see, there's a protein called Matrix Gla that helps prevent your arteries from becoming calcified and blocked. Research finds that people with low levels of Matrix Gla have more arterial stiffness. On the other hand, folks with higher Matrix Gla levels have less arterial stiffness.
So, what does this have to do with vitamin K? Your body needs sufficient vitamin K in order to activate Matrix Gla. For this study, low levels of Matrix Gla essentially equals low vitamin K -- and low levels led to an increase in arterial stiffness. The science can be a bit complicated, but the thing to remember is that you need plenty of vitamin K to help keep your arteries nice and flexible. The researchers stated that 1.4-4.6 ug/L were optimal.
You can get vitamin K from foods like cooked spinach, kale, collard greens, and cabbage, broccoli, beef liver, blue cheese, and full-fat milk. But if you're worried about your levels, you can also take a vitamin K supplement. Just make sure to talk to your doctor first, especially if you're on blood thinners like coumadin.
To a brighter day,
Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D.