- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Vitamin K Prevents Hypertension
Role of Vitamin K
The resistance experienced by blood while flowing through the arteries is known as blood pressure. Greater this resistance, greater would be the blood pressure. Thus, the maintenance of normal blood pressure of 120/80mmHg requires clean blood vessels which would permit smooth flow of blood. Any elevation in blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease as well as for getting a stroke. Elevated blood pressure is also part of the clinical conditions coming under metabolic syndrome which is rather difficult to treat.
Atherosclerosis Promotes Hypertension
Blood vessels produced during development of the fetus do not remain as such and undergo changes. Most of these changes occur as a result of ageing. It is believed that ageing starts right from birth. Two kinds of changes can affect blood vessels. The first is arteriosclerosis which leads to the stiffening and hardening of the arteries. Thus, the elasticity and flexibility which are integral part of normal arteries would diminish. This tends to increase the blood pressure. Since ageing is one of the factors responsible for arteriosclerosis, it is clear that blood pressure would move upwards as people age. Atherosclerosis is another phenomenon which affects the health of blood vessels. This phenomenon involves deposition of lipids in the walls of the arteries. This accumulation of matter in the walls of the arteries leads to the reduction in the blood vessel diameter and thus, less area is available for blood flow. This also elevates blood pressure.
Vitamin K is a Coenzyme
Vitamin K is a fat soluble essential vitamin. It plays a key role as a vitamin promoting blood coagulation. The actual role played by this vitamin has been worked out. Vitamin K acts as a coenzyme for an enzyme which introduces carboxyl group into an amino acid called glutamic acid which now becomes carboxy glutamic acid. Some proteins in the blood coagulation sequence of reactions require the presence of carboxy glutamic acid residues. Osteocalcin which is produced in bone and which promotes bone formation also contains carboxy glutamic acid residues.
Vitamin K protects Against Calcification
Calcification of arteries is another factor which promotes coronary heart disease. It also reduces the area available for circulation. Thus, calcium deposits in the arteries promote the onset of hypertension. Vitamin K deficiency promotes calcium deposition in the arteries. Warfarin which antagonizes vitamin K increases calcification of the arteries. Vitamin K is concerned with the formation of a protein called matrix gla protein (MGP). This protein protects against arterial calcification. It is clear that vitamin K deficiency leads to reduced formation of MGP and therefore, the onset of hypertension is promoted.