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- 10/22/2021

New Kappa Bioscience-funded study uncovers deficiencies in vitamins K and D to be independently associated with COVID-19 disease severity

AgroFOOD Industry Hi Tech


Oslo, 21 October 2021 – A new study, supported by Kappa Bioscience but conducted independently, shows vitamins K and D could play independent roles in the COVID-19 pathogenesis.


Previously reported publications disclosed a significant correlation between serum vitamin K status and COVID-19 severity. [1] [2] Many studies globally have also shown vitamin D deficiency to be associated with higher risk for severe COVID-19.


The paper, published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, is the first to examine both vitamins’ influence on the course of COVID-19. [3] The observational study included 150 subjects (100 Covid-19 patients and 50 controls), and measured their vitamin D and vitamin K levels.


Vitamin K status was lower in infected patients than in healthy controls, with similar vitamin D levels in each group. Yet, participants who were vitamin D deficient had the worse vitamin K status, and experienced the most severe COVID-19 outcomes (Figure 1). The authors conclude that this independent association of vitamin K and vitamin D deficiencies with worse COVID-19 disease severity suggests a potential synergistic interplay between the two vitamins in COVID-19.


The synergistic benefits of the two vitamins have been flagged by Kappa Bioscience before as the ‘Perfect Pair’. The collaboration of vitamin D and K2 is already established for bone and cardiovascular health.


“Put simply, vitamin D enables the production of some key proteins, which play a role in calcium metabolism. But they are produced in an inactive state, and vitamin K2 is the catalyst that activates them,” explains Trygve Bergeland, Vice President Science at Kappa Bioscience. “These proteins mobilize calcium, carrying it away from our arteries and soft tissues, and incorporating it into our bones, where it is needed.”



Figure 1: Median dp-ucMGP by vitamin D(25(OH) classification and World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 outcomes



He continues: “In COVID-19, it was shown that patients with low vitamin K status had increased elastic fiber degradation and vascular calcifications.1 On its own, vitamin K also regulates blood clotting, which seems crucial to prevent thromboembolism, as often observed in more severe COVID-19. This paper suggests a potential anti-inflammatory role of vitamin K, which warrants further research.”


“Interestingly, both vitamin D and K may display complementary effects on the cytokine storm, thrombosis, and lung damage during COVID-19. Specifically, they display similar inhibitory effects on inhibition of NF-kB and cytokine release, and vitamin D and K appear to work synergistically to help protect against calcification and damage in the lungs,” describes Dr. Grace McComsey, MD, FIDSA, Vice President of Research and Associate Chief Scientific Officer at University Hospitals (USA), and corresponding author of the study.


“Optimizing vitamin K and D prior to acute COVID-19 infection may help to regulate overwhelming calcification, inflammation, and coagulopathy, which may subsequently lead to improved clinical outcomes. As the long-chain menaquinones, such as K2 MK-7, have an extrahepatic distribution, they possess the capacity to optimize the vitamin K status in tissues that are deficient, however, large preventive clinical trials are needed.”


Dr. Grace McComsey is also the co-author of a book published recently. Simplifying the COVID puzzle: How two essential vitamins fortify the immune system (Ballast Editions),[4] explaining the roles of vitamins D and K2 in layman terms.


“The many studies on vitamins D and K2 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,” Dr. McComsey states. 


Dr. McComsey will also continue investigating the ‘Perfect Pair’ benefits: “I am now planning a study looking to see if vitamins K2 and D status affect development of ‘long hauler’ whose COVID-19 symptoms persist for many months after the infection.” This may lead to an interventional study to see if this interesting pair of vitamins can prevent or even treat “long hauler” syndrome.

Kappa Bioscience, global leader for pure, all-trans vitamin K2 MK-7 ingredients, who participated in the study’s funding but had no access to raw data or detailed study results, announced earlier this year the initiation of the first-ever clinical trial using their K2VITAL® ingredient in COVID-19 patients. The interventional trial aims to discover whether supplementation with vitamin K2 MK-7 could reduce pulmonary damage and coagulopathy in patients with severe COVID-19. Results are expected later this year. [5]






Notes to Editors:


K2VITAL® is pure vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 (MK-7). Vitamin K2 is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that directs calcium to the right places in the body. K2VITAL® K2 MK-7, the superior form of K2, activates the osteocalcin proteins that incorporate calcium to bones, and the matrix Gla proteins (MGP) that bind calcium to prevent deposits in arteries and smooth muscle walls. Even a balanced diet does not provide us with enough vitamin K2. K2VITAL® is offered in a range of formulations, including microencapsulated K2VITAL® DELTA for excellent K2 stability in mineral formulations.


Kappa Bioscience is dedicated to developing superior quality health solutions around vitamin K2 to improve the quality of life for all of us. Kappa’s thought leadership in the health & wellbeing market is driven by the quest-for-truth, rooted in science & commercial expertise and Norwegian heritage, demonstrated by the patented flower-based organic synthesis & microencapsulated K2VITAL® DELTA.


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Mathilde Pinon

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Kappa Bioscience



[1] Dofferhoff, A. S., Piscaer, I., Schurgers, L. J., Visser, M. P., van den Ouweland, J. M., de Jong, P. A., … & Janssen, R. (2020). Reduced Vitamin K Status as a Potentially Modifiable Risk Factor of Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019. Clinical Infectious Diseases.

[2] Linneberg, A., Kampmann, F. B., Israelsen, S. B., Andersen, L. R., Jørgensen, H. L., Sandholt, H., … & Benfield, T. (2021). The Association of Low Vitamin K Status with Mortality in a Cohort of 138 Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19. Nutrients13(6), 1985.

[3] Desai, A. P., Dirajlal-Fargo, S., Durieux, J. C., Tribout, H., Labbato, D., & McComsey, G. A. (2021). Vitamin K & D Deficiencies Are Independently Associated With Covid-19 Disease Severity. In Open Forum Infectious Diseases. Jul 29;8(10):ofab408.

doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofab408. eCollection 2021 Oct.