Vitamin K and COVID-19


In a previous newsletter I examined the role vitamin D plays in prevention of COVID-19, now a cofactor of vitamin D has shown up as another potential aid in the fight against this virus: vitamin K2.

In this new study, researchers analyzed 134 patients with COVID-19 admitted to Dutch hospitals between March 12 and April 11. They were compared to a control group of 184 patients, all roughly the same age (68 plus or minus 12 years), who did not have the virus.

The primary objective was to determine if there was a link between vitamin K deficiency and symptoms of COVID-19, which were life-threatening.

Vitamin K is required for the body to produce proteins responsible for regulating the clotting of blood, although it has many more functions than just that. (See this blog, or this blog, for more information on the many benefits of vitamin K.)

COVID-19 causes blood clotting which leads to degeneration of elastin fibers in the lungs. According to the study, “Coagulation is an intricate balance between clot promoting and dissolving processes in which vitamin K plays a well-known role. We hypothesized that vitamin K status is reduced in patients with severe COVID-19”.

What they discovered was that those patients with COVID-19 who had the most severe symptoms, were deficient in vitamin K.

To quote directly from the study: “Vitamin K status was reduced in patients with COVID-19 and related to poor prognosis. Also, low vitamin K status seems to be associated with accelerated elastin degradation.”

These Dutch researchers are now seeking funding for a proper clinical trial, “in order to determine if vitamin K administration improves outcome in patients with COVID-19.” Furthermore, they seek to determine if boosting the body’s supply of vitamin K could help to combat the disease.

Unlike most such preliminary studies, these scientists are urging people to either change their diet to include more vitamin K-rich foods, or to supplement with the vitamin.

According to one of the researchers, Dr. Rob Janssen, even if vitamin K does not prove to benefit patients with COVID-19, it is still of value in protecting our blood vessels, bones, and lungs, and has no side effects. (Except for those on anti-clotting or blood-thinning drugs, who are advised to avoid vitamin K.)

In discussing the study, Dr. Janssen explained the difference between vitamin K1 (found in fruits and vegetables), and vitamin K2 (found in most Dutch and French cheeses, due to the type of bacteria used), which he points out is better absorbed and utilized by the body than is vitamin K1.

He also mentions that the highest source of vitamin K2 is “natto”, a Japanese food made from fermented soy beans. Dr. Janssen goes on to say that, “not a single person has died in a particular region in Japan where the people eat a lot of the dish”.

(Study: Reduced Vitamin K Status as A Potentially Modifiable Prognostic Risk Factor in COVID-19)

Technical Data

For those with a scientific bent, here is a comment from Dr. Janssen, explaining why he believes vitamin K is so protective against coronavirus:

We think that the most likely reasons for the extreme extrahepatic vitamin K deficiency that we found in severe Covid-19 patients are:

1. enhanced vitamin K utilization in the lungs to activate MGP for the protection of partially degraded elastic fibers

2. poor vitamin K consumption

3. calcified and/or partially degraded pulmonary elastic fibers at baseline, which have increased vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2-induced proteolytic activity, which will upregulate MGP synthesis and need for vitamin K to activate this additional MGP.

K2 Supplement

Here I would like to mention NutriStart’s Quick K2, an easily absorbed, liquid vitamin K2 product, which can be added to food or simply taken under the tongue. The advantage of taking liquid vitamin K2 directly into the mouth is its ability to help prevent cavities, and maintain tooth structure. Not a surprise, given that the salivary glands are the second highest storehouse of vitamin K in the body, after the pancreas.


People have been taking naps for thousands of years, and naps have been proven to provide many health benefits, including leading to improvement in cardiovascular health, mental acuity, and quality of sleep.

A recent study looked at the impact of a midday nap on blood pressure among patients with (pharmaceutical controlled) hypertension.

According to study co-author cardiologist Manolis Kallistratos, MD, “Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes. For example, salt and alcohol reduction can bring blood pressure levels down by 3 to 5 mmHg. These findings are important because a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mmHg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10%”.

Dr. Kallistratos and colleagues examined 212 patients with well-controlled hypertension, assessing mid-day sleep time (average: 49 minutes), lifestyle habits (such as alcohol, coffee, and salt consumption), physical activity, and blood pressure levels.

The researchers discover that “24-hour systolic blood pressure readings were 5.3 mmHg lower among nappers vs non-nappers, and nappers exhibited better readings during the day compared with non-nappers.” Researchers also found a relationship between time spent asleep and blood pressure, with each hour of napping linked to a 3-mmHg drop in blood pressure.

Mid-day sleep significantly decreases average and day [systolic blood pressure/diastolic blood pressure] in hypertensives,” concluded the authors. “Its effect is as potent as other well-established lifestyle changes.”

“Even though both groups were receiving the same number of medications and blood pressure was well controlled, there was still a significant decrease in blood pressure among those who slept during midday,” Dr. Kallistratos said. (Study)

Other Benefits of Napping

In a review of napping studies, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, napping was shown to enhance various aspects of waking performance, including alertness, logical reasoning, reaction time, and vigilance. It also decreases fatigue, sleepiness, and sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep). (Source)

And, according to the National Sleep Foundation, regular, short naps can help lower tension, which decreases risk of heart disease.

They go on to suggest that one should “stick to a regular napping schedule during optimal hours, which are between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. This timeframe is optimal, since that’s usually after lunchtime, when your blood sugar and energy starts to dip”.

And, one must pay attention to how long the nap is. A nap length of about 20 minutes works best to enhance attention and motor skills. Whereas, napping for 60 to 90 minutes will lead to dreaming (REM sleep), “which helps make new connections in the brain and can aid in solving creative problems”.

Since napping for much over 20 minutes can leave one groggy afterwards, one may wish to use an alarm if they need to wake more alert.

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