Study Links Low Vitamin K Levels to Severity in COVID-19 Outcomes


Vitamin K is generally accepted as an inhibitor of vascular calcification, and deficiencies are linked to 'high-risk' comorbidities.

In a study published in, researchers examined the link between outcomes in COVID-19 patients and their vitamin K status. Patients with vitamin K deficiencies had less favorable outcomes compared to patients with better vitamin K status and other healthy controls, based on the results of comparing 123 patients with 184 healthy controls.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Netherlands-based Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital, Maastricht University Medical Center, and the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM).
Vitamin K status was determined by the amount of inactive vitamin K-dependent protein, MGP. Research has shown that vitamin K2 activates vitamin K-dependent proteins, which are beneficial to cardiovascular and bone health.
“This study presents an amazing finding,” Prof. Leon Schurgers, Professor of Biochemistry of Vascular Calcification and Vice Chair of Biochemistry at the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, and co-author of the study, said. “While we do not suggest that vitamin K2 is a treatment for COVID-19, this study illustrates that a poor vitamin K status- deduced from low dp-ucMGP levels- is linked to poor prognosis. Thus, hypothesizing that improving vitamin K2 status is linked to better health outcomes including cardiovascular, and perhaps even lung health.”
While COVID-19 is predominantly known for the presentation of severe acute respiratory syndrome, it also may progress beyond the lungs. Incidences of coagulopathy, a condition in which the blood’s ability to coagulate is impaired, and thromboembolism, the obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot that has become dislodged from another site in circulation, have been observed in COVID-19 cases. Another factor researchers took into account was a previous finding that in COPD patients, the body uses vitamin K stores at an accelerated rate, which was highlighted as a potential reason for vitamin K deficiency in patients with severe COVID-19.
Vitamin K status was evaluated in 123 patients, and measurements showed that du-ucMGP levels were lower in COVID-19 patients compared to controls (signifying low levels of vitamin K), and that dp-ucMGP levels were lower in patients with unfavorable outcomes compared to those whose disease was less severe, suggesting a potential link between vitamin K deficiency and disease severity. An important variable, researchers acknowledged, was the link between vitamin K deficiencies and comorbidities such as heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are known to place COVID-19 patients at a greater risk of developing severe or fatal cases of the disease.
MGP is generally accepted as an inhibitor of vascular calcification, and, according to this study, there are scientific leads suggesting that MGP plays a role in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis.
Researchers concluded that this study warrants an investigation into what effects, if any, administering vitamin K to current COVID-19 patients might have on disease progression and outcomes.
“It might be tempting to speculate that vitamin K administration has an improving effect on vitamin K status in severe COVID-19 patients; however, this has never been studied in this patient group,” they wrote. “Additionally, whether improving vitamin K status would correlate with better prognosis in SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals has to be tested. Preliminary evidence was provided suggesting a potential mechanistic link between reduced vitamin K status and accelerated tissue degradation. An intervention trial is now needed to assess whether vitamin K administration improves outcome in patients with COVID-19.”