Vitamin K inhibits vascular stiffness in kidney transplant recipients

Vitamin K supplementation is beneficial for kidney transplant recipients with vitamin K deficiency, because it inhibits the progression of vascular stiffness in these patients. These conclusions are drawn from a recent study performed by Coby Eelderink, Daan Kremer and Charlotte te Velde-Keyzer of the nephrology department of the UMCG. The results of their research were published in the leading scientific journal American Journal of Transplantation.

Thanks to improvements in surgical techniques, anesthesia, and anti-rejection medication surrounding kidney transplantation, short-term outcomes after kidney transplantation are very good. Patients generally recover well after transplantation, and their transplanted kidney often lasts for years to decades. Therefore, there is an increasing focus on quality of life and long-term outcomes after kidney transplantation. Unfortunately, these patients often suffer from cardiovascular disease after their kidney transplantation, due to increased vascular calcification and high vascular stiffness. So far, there is no treatment that can inhibit this vascular calcification and vascular stiffness after kidney transplantation.

Vitamin K deficiency in kidney transplant recipients
In recent years, based on previous research, vitamin K deficiency has been suggested as a possible cause of vascular calcification and vascular stiffness. Vitamin K is ingested mainly through our diet, and is found, for example, in green vegetables, meat and fermented soybeans. Vitamin K deficiency is common in kidney transplant recipients - much more common than in the general population. That vitamin K plays an important role in preventing vascular calcification and vascular stiffness has already been suggested in animal and human studies, but there was no evidence yet that giving vitamin K supplements is useful after kidney transplantation.

Vitamin K inhibits vascular stiffness
New research by Coby Eelderink, Daan Kremer, Charlotte te Velde-Keyzer and others from the UMCG shows that taking vitamin K supplements in kidney transplant recipients with vitamin K deficiency can indeed inhibit the progression vascular stiffness. No effects were observed regarding calcification processes in the body; patients may need to take vitamin K for longer to observe such effects. These hopeful results provide new perspectives on improving the cardiovascular health of kidney transplant recipients.

This research was made possible based on previous measurements within the TransplantLines cohort and was supported by the Kidney Foundation and Vitals Food Supplements BV.

Article: Effect of vitamin K supplementation on serum calcification propensity and arterial stiffness in vitamin K-deficient kidney transplant recipients: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial