Vitamin K2 and Artery Calcification (Part 2): The Matrix Gla Protein

Here’s the thing. I felt like if I heard
one more time or read one more sentence about Weston Price or we need to to be
eating animals that have been raised on grass instead of corn, that my eyes were
gonna cross. So what’s all this buzz about K2?
Sometimes, it feels like there’s a lot more heat than light around this subject.
I recently read that book “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox” by the lady from
Canada who’s got a doctorate in nutrition. And here’s the thing. I felt
like if I heard one more time or read one more sentence about Weston Price or
we need to to be eating animals that have been raised on grass instead of
corn that my eyes were gonna cross. Let’s not throw the baby out with the
bathwater. When you start actually digging into the science behind some of
these issues, there’s some very interesting science there, and we’re
gonna cover just the beginning of an early side story around the science in
this video. It’s gonna start with a discussion about an article from a
standard American medicine cardiology journal, the Journal of the
American College of Cardiology, JACC. This article was in 2015 in June. I’ll show
you that in a minute. But here’s the title and it’s intriguing given the
topic we’re talking about. “Vascular Calcification, Arterial Damage, and
Decline in Renal Function May Be Triggered by the Inhibition of the
Vitamin K-Dependent Protein Matrix Gamma- carboxyglutamic acid (Gla/MGP) by vitamin
K antagonists.” Maybe we can simplify that just a minute. Basically the story is
this. We have known for a long time that people on K1 inhibitors (specifically
warfarin) tend to get a significant a lot of increase in calcification of their
arteries. Now what’s that got to do with K2? I’ll leave that for a little bit
later. But it does, and I’ll tell you this, it’s some of that connection has to do
with GLA the matrix protein. But let’s don’t get too far ahead of
ourselves again. Where was that article? Journal of the American College of
Cardiology, June 16, 2015. Here’s a couple of points about it.
“Matrix gla protein (MGP) inhibits the…” well let’s be patient with me as we go
through some jargon for a minute… “the osteoinductive function of bone
morphogenic protein. The function of MGP depends on gamma-carboxyglutamic
acid residues, which are modified in a vitamin K-dependent manner.” So let’s go
back, make that simple, and translate. Basically what they’re saying is MGP,
this protein, has a significant impact on deposition of calcium. It is also
impacted by an enzyme. That matrix gla
protein is impacted by vitamin K. In fact, it’s dependent on vitamin K. So guess
what? In addition to blocking things like warfarin… when they block vitamin K1, they
block the K1’s ability to change this gla protein. In other words, this
calcification depends on a protein called MGP (matrix gla protein). That
protein, in turn, is activated by vitamin K. Vitamin K, in turn, if it’s deactivated
by warfarin, then takes you back to where you’re starting to get a lot of
calcification. That’s the basic point. Warfarin inhibits the function of MGP which, in turn, antagonizes or stops the the inhibitory role of MGP in the
process of vascular calcification, therefore, resulting in arterial damage
and decline in renal function. If that still sounds a little bit confusing,
maybe this next couple of images will help. Here’s the matrix gla protein. It’s
non-carboxylated, so it’s not active. There’s a process called “gamma-
carboxylation” that activates this matrix gla protein. However, vitamin K
antagonists (like warfarin) stop that gamma-carboxylation. If warfarin stops
that gamma-carboxylation, then the matrix gla protein cannot be activated. If it’s
not activated, it can’t participate in helping pull calcium out of the arteries.
So that’s the connection and it has to do with basically inhibition
of an activator. That’s where a little bit confusing. To show this on
the cake and if you’re thinking about, “Well, wait a minute. This is all K1,
Brewer. We’re talking about K2. They’re very different.” I understand that but as
I said earlier, there is a connection in this metabolism, and it has to do with
the carboxylation. So if you look at warfarin metabolism, it comes in and
blocks vitamin K reductase and oxidation of vitamin K and therefore it blocks the development of gamma of the MGP development. Basically now, here’s
another way of looking at it and it starts to get back to the vitamin
K2 than the menaquinone. The matrix gla protein… remember that… and if you’re
thinking, “Brewer, those are very that’s an ugly image.” I understand that. Nope, no
apologies. That matrix gla protein you see means uncarbonated. So if you want to activate the matrix gla protein, you need to carboxylate it. The matrix
gla protein decreases calcium and therefore inhibits vascular
calcification. We’re going to study in other videos… we’re going to look at
osteocalcin which is a different enzyme. It does exactly the opposite of matrix
gla protein. When it is functioning, it increases calcification and actually
promotes bone minerals mineralization. So matrix gla protein pulls it out of the
vascular area, and osteocalcin puts it in the bone. Now this has probably been a
little bit much in terms of trying to get the connections. I will cover it… will
do several other videos in this area. I just wanted to show the sciences. Again,
it’s also pretty clear on these actual enzymes. This, for example, is the
actual amino acid series involved with the protein so that is the
protein itself, gla protein, matrix gla protein, in amino acid format.
So again, maybe this is a little bit confusing. I hope not. It’s just the first
in a series that I’m going to be doing on K2. Actually, it’s not the first. I’m
doing another series on K2. If you’ve made it through all this stuttering and
stammering, and you’re still there, I appreciate your interest. My name is Ford Brewer. I started off as
an ER doc. Then I became very frustrated with the fact that most
things that bring people into the ER were preventable like heart attack and
stroke. I went to John Hopkins to get training and ended up running the
program there in prevention. There I trained dozens of docs and again that
was three decades ago. Since then, I’ve trained thousands of docs and even more
importantly supervised those docs and even most importantly helped thousands
of patients prevent things like heart attack and stroke. Waiting for it for the
disease and hoping for a cure for this kind of devastation doesn’t work. Come to
Louisville on November 8 and 9. We have a boot camp type of environment for two
days where you learn all the things that you didn’t learn from your doc in terms
of heart attack stroke prevention things like cardiovascular inflammation, how to
detect it, how to measure things like insulin resistance (the number one cause
of inflammation), how to detect it, how to measure it, how to stop it, how to manage
it. You also get… you can get the labs there for that event if you’d like to
get a complete evaluation in addition you get an arterial scan called a CIMT.
To get the right one of those is fairly difficult so I’m looking forward to
seeing you there. Thanks.


  1. Doc whats the connection with decline in Renal Function…. I had a tumor removed from my Kidney . Could it be that that was calcification due to K2 was not available while taking a load of yoghurt every day ? Next to deteriorizing of my spinal discs ?

  2. Indeed this video was difficult to understand, and I have a biomedical background ( Biology and Chemistry). I look forward to the next lectures on the series. Thank you.

  3. make it simpler does k2 prevent calcification simp;e yes or no and how much do you take and for how l0ng per body weight and age need simpler info please

  4. I've been supplementing K2with D3 for the last 24 months. Currently taking Warfarin for the last 4 years. My understanding of K2 is that it removes calcification from your bloodstream and puts it where it needs to be in your bones and teeth. Dr. Berg(youtube channel explains this is in laymen's detail in several videos). So being Warfarin is a K1 antagonist, does K2 neutral this out ?

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