Dutch researchers are recommending that people supplement with vitamin K to protect against Covid-19 after discovering a link between deficiency and the worst coronavirus outcomes.
The researchers made the discovery after studying data on patients who were admitted to the Canisius Wilhelmina hospital in the Dutch city of Nijmegen.
They say that vitamin K could combat two dangerous feature of Covid-19 – blood clotting, and degradation of elastic fibres in the lungs. Vitamin K, ingested through food or in supplement form and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, is vital in the production of proteins that regulate clotting and can protect against lung disease.
The Dutch research, undertaken in partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, one of Europe’s largest heart and vascular research institutes, studied 134 patients hospitalised for Covid-19 between 12 March and 11 April, alongside a control group of 184 age-matched patients who did not have the disease.
The researchers now want to secure funding for a clinical trial in which very sick Covid-19 patients were randomised to receive either a placebo or a vitamin K supplement as sufficient dose to activate the protective protein.
Dr Rob Janssen, a scientist working on the project, said: “We are in a terrible, horrible situation in the world. We do have an intervention which does not have any side effects, even less than a placebo. There is one major exception: people on anti-clotting medication. It is completely safe in other people.
“My advice would be to take those vitamin K supplements. Even if it does not help against severe Covid-19, it is good for your blood vessels, bones and probably also for the lungs.”