Kappa Bioscience uncovers vitamin K2’s unique role in immunity and COVID-19
23 Jul 2021 --- Vitamin K2 is poised to emerge “as one of the most important supplemental nutrients,” following the latest research on its role in immunity and COVID-19. This is according to studies backed by Kappa Bioscience, which found that deficiency in either vitamin D or vitamin K2 increased the risk of COVID-19 infection. The research also revealed more severe outcomes if COVID-19 patients are deficient in both nutrients.
“The independence these vitamins have from each other in COVID-19 infections – independent of all of the other variables, such as age, gender and comorbidities – suggests vitamin K2 plays a unique role in immune health and function especially within COVID-19 infections,” Dr. Andrew Myers, naturopathic physician, tells NutritionInsight. Myers plays an integral role in coordinating the Kappa Bioscience research conducted from the US.
He affirms the findings are “breakthrough science,” commenting on the Kappa Bioscience-funded work led by Dr. Grace McComsey. She is an infectious diseases specialist, vice president of research and associate chief scientific officer at University Hospitals in the US.
Myers and McComsey recently co-authored and published Simplifying the COVID puzzle: How two essential vitamins fortify the immune system.
“The many studies on vitamins D and K published during the pandemic represent new knowledge that has to be spread. Many of us know of the key roles played by vitamin D, but K2 benefits remain overlooked. I believe vitamin K2 is a 21st-century ingredient,” McComsey states.
Independent vitamins that go best together
For Myers, the current body of research suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation should always be accompanied by vitamin K2.
This is due to their synergistic benefits to help diminish the inflammatory response to COVID-19 and help the body to maintain its health and function.
He details that vitamin D activates immune cells at the beginning of an infection and helps to block a key inflammatory chemical mediator – nuclear factor (NF) kappa B.
Meanwhile, the primary modulator of inflammation is vitamin K2. “Vitamin K2 has been shown to inhibit NF kappa B as well as other interleukins that lead to the cytokine storm in COVID-19 infections.”
Vitamin K2 and D3 have demonstrated an important interplay when it comes to the body’s calcium metabolism.
“The synergistic impact of these two nutrients is undeniable. And with increasing dosages of vitamin D3, it is imperative that vitamin K2 is included to ensure that calcium is moved to the bone and not to the soft tissues like the arteries or lungs,” says Myers.
Keeping calcium deposits away from the lungs could be crucial in the case of COVID-19. This is one of the ways researchers believe vitamin K2 supplementation may reduce severe outcomes.
“Vitamin K2 protects the lungs from damage by helping to reduce calcium impregnating of elastin fibers. It also helps to reduce the risk of thromboembolism in the vascular network,” comments Myers.
More studies on the way
McComsey will present these recent findings of the latest Kappa-funded research at the NBJ (Nutrition Business Journal) Summit on July 29 in Carlsbad, California, US.
She notes that while research into acute COVID-19 is still important, future studies are guided by increasing interest in what happens after a COVID-19 infection.
“The research field is now changing,” she says. “I am now doing a study looking to see if vitamins K2 and D may help ‘long haulers,’ whose COVID-19 symptoms last for months.”
McComsey will be looking for associations primarily through inflammation that may address the lingering effects of COVID-19.
Only a matter of correcting a deficiency?
Several studies have established a link between COVID-19 outcomes and vitamin K status.
Last month, vitamin K levels were found to be predictive of COVID-19 mortality. However, the question of supplementation’s efficacy remained to be seen with further research.
Kappa Bioscience has now debuted the first clinical trial exploring the potential benefits of vitamin K2 supplementation for COVID-19 patients. The trial uses the company’s vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 (MK-7) K2Vital and is expected to give results this winter.
Investing in a “21st-century” supplement
Kappa Bioscience is making significant investments in scientific research on vitamin K2. The Norway-based company has established research agreements with more than half a dozen research groups worldwide.
The company is positive about future discoveries, with several scientific papers already published. “Vitamin K2 is well established in areas like bone or cardiovascular health, where a significant number of studies back it,” says company CEO Egil Greve.
“Research tells us its benefits do not stop there: K2 could have important implications for inflammation, immune health, mobility, neurology and healthy aging as well.”
By Missy Green
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