Valve disease and vitamin D

There are two common forms of heart valve disease: aortic valve stenosis (stiffness) and insufficiency (leakiness), and mitral anular calcification.

Both valve issues are regarded as evidence of senescence, or aging--the older you are, the more likely you will have one or both. Both conditions involve progressive calcium deposition and, to some degree, cholesterol deposition. They might be regarded as phenomena of "wear and tear" just like hip arthritis.

There are no known therapies to stall or stop the development of mitral anular calcification. However, several attempts have been made over the years to identify treatments that can slow or stop the progression of aortic valve disease, which is becoming increasingly common and is addressed by surgical valve replacement when severe. The most recent trials have examined whether high-dose Lipitor (80 mg) has any effect (it did not) and high dose Crestor (40 mg), which slowed but did not stop the deterioration of stiff valves.

It's been my suspicion that vitamins D and K2 may play a crucial factor in valve health. After all, vitamin D is the master controller of calcium deposition. Preliminary data also suggest that people who are intentionally made vitamin K deficient with the drug, Coumadin, develop twice the calcium deposition on aortic valves that non-Coumadin takers develop.

I saw a patient Friday, Marianne. In addition to a moderate heart scan score of 379 at age 71, Marianne had a leaky (insufficient) aortic valve. By an echocardiogram 18 months ago, the valve was moderately leaky. I put Marianne on vitamin D, 4000 units, to raise her blood level to 50 ng/ml.

Last week, I asked Marianne to have another echocardiogram. This time, no leakiness whatsoever--none. I have never seen this happen before. Although Marianne is only one example and we don't want to extrapolate too far from the experience of one person, it's hard not to attribute this phenomenal response to vitamin D supplementation.

I wonder what would have happened if we had added vitamin K2, as well?

Anyway, just another potential wonderful effect of vitamin D restoration.

Comments (1) -

  • Anonymous

    11/17/2010 6:12:19 AM |

    My 87 year old father has been told his mitral valve is "a rock". He is not ready to give up. He has always been very healthy. Do you think there is any downside to have him start a D and K2 supplement?